Future Of Work

What Does 2017 Hold for SaaS Tools?

Industry Overview: SaaS Trends for 2017
Jenna Van Schoor
Written by Jenna Van Schoor

As we head into a new year, and continue to grow as a startup, we’re thinking about how SaaS tools will evolve in 2017.

With the growth of cloud computing services, the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry is expanding, which means that now, like never before, there are so many different kinds of tools that customers can use to manage their business.

It’s all a bit overwhelming isn’t it? And that’s where we come in.

At This is Productivity, we’re passionate about work, and this means we know the value of SaaS tools and the value they provide to customers. However, the tools are only really valuable if customers are able to use the tool properly and don’t get so frustrated with learning how to use it that they abandon it completely, because they can’t figure out the best way to integrate it (in other words, churn).

So while everyone has already had a few weeks to get back into the swing of things, here are some of the things we’re thinking about as we round up the first month of 2017:

SaaS Tools in 2017 Trend #1: An ongoing focus on automation

While the SaaS industry has been able to develop so many different online tools and applications to help us work more efficiently, the problem (and we know this well) is that these tools aren’t always easy to integrate into a team.

Our core service is working with teams to help them learn how to best use SaaS tools, but this involves extra time investment, which understandably means that the focus will be to avoid this and automate processes instead, so there’s less involvement and time spent in setting up and executing mundane tasks.

Automation is nothing new, but the way in which products are currently being developed is going to change the way we approach SaaS tools in the future. Less engagement, more intelligence.

Hint: We’re working on an exciting product development in this space- we’ll keep you posted!

SaaS Tools in 2017 Trend #2: More Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Every year, up and coming tools are acquired by bigger companies in the SaaS and online space, and we don’t expect this year to be any different.

In one of our most recent team meetings, our Partnership Manager Daphne Lopes spoke to us about the acquisition of Trello by Atalassian, which makes us wonder which tool will be bought up next, and what this will mean for the SaaS industry.

One prediction, as our CEO Claire Burge also talked about in this meeting, is that these mergers and acquisitions are happening because workflow tools are no longer popular with investors, unless they plan to become a multi-platform product (which will work across a range of SaaS tools).

SaaS Tools in 2017 Trend #3: Data, data and more data

If we stop to think about how much data is created every second of every day, it becomes clear that so much of it is not being analysed to its full potential.

While we theoretically have the resources to make sense of data, the sheer amount that is created and stored on a daily basis is just not possible to keep up with, unless we develop quicker and more efficient ways to process it. Or rather, train Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do that for us.

With this ever increasing amount of data, the knock-on effect is that there is just so much more information to work with when developing deep learning AI functionality. This presents a massive opportunity for SaaS companies in general, to develop tools that can specifically meet this requirement, or to develop ways of better analysing data internally.

A spin-off of this will also be changes in regulatory frameworks to manage the use of the data that’s being created in the first place.

SaaS Tools in 2017 Trend #4: The investment bar is being raised even higher

As a startup in the early stages of growth, we’re developing relationships with investors to secure the next phase- an exciting and demanding process that is propelling us forward.

At this stage of growth it’s interesting to take into consideration investment trends from VC firms around the world.

One interesting point to note is a 2017 prediction by the Point Nine Capital team: while $100M Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) might have made a startup an attractive investment option in the past, this year SaaS tools will need to prove closer to $300M ARR to get the kind of funding they’re looking for.

Saas Tools in 2017 Trend #5: 2017 will include a mix of SaaS and on-premise infrastructure

When using SaaS products, consumers have been able to blissfully access data while SaaS and technology companies manage all of the hardware and storage intricacies in the background. While we all appreciate the ease that comes with data stored in the public cloud, with concerns around data security, it’s predicted that overall SaaS infrastructure will still be a hybrid between the public and private cloud in 2017.

In other words, it’s predicted that all three (private, public and hybrid) will continue exist in 2017, as on-premise enterprise packages provide more data security and full-cloud access continues to provide the most up to date software.

What trends do think will shape the SaaS industry for the rest of this year? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

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About the author

Jenna Van Schoor

Jenna Van Schoor

Jenna is Chaos and Rocketfuel's researcher and writer on everything related to the future of work.

Passionate about travel and new ways of thinking, she believes there is so much to be discovered when it comes to new technologies, perspectives and design.

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