SaaS Predictions for 2021 – What The Experts Say

  • TechRound has collected 2021 SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) predictions from industry experts.
  • Stuart Goulden highlights that “the pandemic has been the making of SaaS”.
  • 2021 will be a year where there will be an “increase in SaaS businesses for children and the future of work for parents”, according to Charlotte Melia.
  • According to Kenny Alegbe 2021 will be the year where “automation and machine learning playing a really important role in reducing costs and unlocking new opportunities”.

 

As the digital transformation in companies continues to grow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more individuals are relying on digital technology than ever before. This is because companies all over the world have had to respond to the changes in business conditions very quickly. Many businesses, small and large, turned to cloud-based SaaS as part of their business strategy in handling the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Although the pandemic had an effect on all industries, the SaaS market and industry has grown massively and has been seen to be taking over the cloud computing market. It is important to understand how and note the predictions in this industry for the coming year. We spoke to 7 different industry experts to gather their predictions for the future of SaaS.

 

Our Panel of Experts:

  • Charlotte Melia – Co-Founder and CEO at Vesta, by Dazzle & Fizz
  • Bill Admans – Senior Vice President of Operations at OWNZONES
  • Stuart Goulden – Founder and CEO of Like No Other
  • Marc Linster – CTO at EDB
  • Daniel Twigg – Marketing Manager at Cyclr Systems
  • Kenny Alegbe – Founder and CEO of HomeHero
  • Cenk Sidar – CEO and Co Founder of GlobalWonks

 

 

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Charlotte Melia – Co-Founder and CEO at Vesta, by Dazzle & Fizz

 

Charlotte Melia

 

“The pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the mental and physical health of both adults and children. Pre-pandemic 1 in 9 children in the UK were reported to suffer with a mental health condition. By July 2020, this had increased to a shocking 1 in 6. School closures, remote working and home-schooling has also led to immense pressure on working parents, with parents estimated to be losing up to 30 working hours per week during the pandemic (Vesta; 2021).

Restrictions have also led to a reduction in physical activity. The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey reported that only 44.9% of UK children are now getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This is down 2% since the onset of the pandemic.

With all of this in mind, I predict that 2021 will see an increase in SaaS businesses for children and the future of work for parents. This is supported by the Harvard Business Review, who recently stated that employers will be supporting workers’ lives as a whole, not just their work lives in 2021 and beyond.

Furthermore, EdTech has seen a massive 76% increase in the past year, largely due to disruptions in education. The Disadvantage Gap in the UK, which at pre-pandemic levels was estimated to take a further 500 years to close, has now stopped closing altogether. It is crucial that technology is deployed to access under-privileged, vulnerable and neurodiverse children in order to help combat this gross social-injustice and SaaS is well equipped to lead the charge.”

 

Bill Admans – Senior Vice President of Operations at OWNZONES

 

Bill Admans

 

“The global pandemic is continuing to accelerate digital transformation in 2021. A recent Cisco report says 75% of all cloud workloads and computing instances will come from SaaS operations in 2021. In the media and entertainment segment, video streaming will account for 10% of traffic.

However, the media files and compute workload used to create content will account for 85% of traffic from data centers as content owners move creative workflows and libraries to the cloud. Petabytes of data are created for each movie or tv show, and thousands of projects are in production worldwide over the coming year.

COVID-19 is creating opportunities for OWNZONES as content owners and studios look for creative ways to make and manage media and drive revenue. We view OWNZONES Connect, our digital supply chain SaaS platform, as the hub connecting workflow and business process systems across their entire enterprise.

Mobile 5G technology will impact media and entertainment in 2021. 5G makes it easier for audiences to consume media and promises to connect content creators working remotely with SaaS-based applications hosted at the edge of the cloud.

The big challenge for creatives working remotely during the pandemic has been latency and limited bandwidth for moving huge files over traditionally wired networks. Mobile Edge Computing is bringing applications to communications providers allowing creatives to use SaaS applications running in their local zones, using 5G.

Previously, traffic had to rely on wired networks across multiple providers to reach data centers on the other side of the country or the world. Media files created on location were offloaded to drives or tape and shipped across to facilities for processing because of the lack of connectivity.

5G technology changes everything by making SaaS applications and powerful compute instances available on location and making media immediately available for the next step in the content creation process.

OWNZONES is investing in the research and development of creating SaaS-based applications for content creation utilising 5G mobile technology. We see an exciting future where creatives can use cloud computing’s vast power to make the next generation of entertainment experiences for audiences.”

 

 

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Stuart Goulden – Founder and CEO of Like No Other

 

Stuart Goulden

 

“The pandemic has been the making of SaaS. More of us are working, shopping, socialising and everything else in between at home. The big SaaS companies will get bigger, which will create more opportunities for unbundling, as their features fail to support edge cases. This, in turn, will give rise to automation services such as Zapier and IFTTT to patch them all togetherand eliminate repetitive tasks.

AI, too, will step up, as businesses look to speed up processes and response times, act on real-time insights, and optimise every last dollar out of potential leads. SaaS is increasingly using AI to augment human capabilities, allowing us all to bring the best versions of ourselves to work.

At Surges.co, I’m particularly interested in what’s happening at the other end of the scale, with independent SaaS makers. The no- and low-code movement isbringing new ideas to life in a matter of days, not months. Let alone saving tens of thousands in development costs. This new breed of micro-SaaS are typically super-serving a small segments of customers by offering a much-requested add-on that helps to get more out of the tools users already love.

Popular tools can have entire ecosystems of plugins, helping customers to take payments, segment their customer base and send emails, run advanced analytics and automate their sales workflows, much, much more.

Last, but not least, I’m seeing more and more privacy-focused SaaS products. Standing up to big tech, they pride themselves onnot tracking customers round the web or trading your personal data for profit. With more customers become switched on to their personal data and how it’s used, expect 2021 to be their breakout year.”

 

Marc Linster – CTO at EDB

 

Marc Linster

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic spurred many businesses to rethink their operations, with speed being a critical factor. We saw this happening with the low code/no-code movement as well. Speed became essential, and low code allows developers and non-developers to achieve that speed while also providing an easier interface to achieve higher levels of abstraction.

This trend will continue beyond the pandemic, creating shifts in the organization where capabilities, and responsibilities, for data analytics and working with data move from specialty IT functions into the business. Simple data manipulation tools, like Excel, have become foundational tools for the knowledge worker.

In 2021 we’ll see this same shift to low code/no-code tools among smart SaaS providers, who understand that the reason people move to the cloud is because they don’t need detailed knowledge about things like infrastructure or configuration.

Just as developers figured out that they could use the cloud to bypass sys admins and create databases themselves, knowledge workers no longer need to go through developers to analyze data. For SaaS providers it will be all about rolling out tools that make data access easier without coding. Any SaaS company that doesn’t do this will fall behind.”

 

 

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Daniel Twigg – Marketing Manager at Cyclr Systems

 

Daniel Twigg

 

The rise of automation to be a job creation category

“While on the surface this may seem counterintuitive, new roles will be driven by the rise in low code and no code technology: both offering automation solutions available to the everyday business user. These users can be defined as domain specialists, without a programming background who can use tools, and not code, to integrate and extend business applications.

Increases in vertically-focused micro-SaaS solutions

Narrowly-focused vertical SaaS companies can develop solutions that are purpose built for specific or niche sectors, aiming to deliver more business value and better outcomes to a narrower targeted user base.

The advancement of other technology such as artificial intelligence, API integrations, blockchain and mobile SaaS products helping vertical SaaS businesses grow and dominate their niche markets. Which leads to the increase in need for…

Connectivity

As the volume of SaaSes grows, so does the need for connectivity. For these new vertical focused SaaS applications to succeed they need to play well with their customers’ existing business software stack. Thus the need for integrations.

While integrations have notoriously been the bane of many a developer’s existence, there are new tools available to SaaS companies to speed up and reinforce their connectivity options. One such solution is embedded iPaaS  which provides white-labelled, low-code tools to enable companies to accelerate their integration plans, while freeing their developers to concentrate on developing their SaaS’s core functionality.

Also, by creating and providing these integrations inside their application they get the benefit of increased vendor lock-in, as they are providing additional value added services vital for their customers’ data health and management.”

 

Kenny Alegbe – Founder and CEO of HomeHero

 

Kenny Alegbe

 

“In the last 10 years, digital aportion and the introduction of Software as a Service across most industries has seen customer expectations change dramatically. 2021 is the year that we’ll really start to see a meaningful and useful application of machine learning models in the SaaS space, which is really exciting. I think this will permeate across into the B2B space too.

In a post Covid world, where businesses are feeling economic pressures, there will be a shift towards digital adoption, and subsequent automation, in general. We’ll see automation and machine learning playing a really important role in reducing costs and unlocking new opportunities.

We’ll see AI and machine learning moving from something that is hypothetical and aspirational to practical and invaluable within SaaS. That will result in tech providing a more meaningful and tangible value for complex businesses serving their end customer.

I think we’ll also see a shift in the way businesses communicate through their software systems this year. This means businesses need to open themselves up to be available across all platforms, channels and devices.

There will be a demand for closer digital integrations. Gone are the days when companies saw their tech software as a walled garden, there’s a need for openness now. It’s a time for collaboration and integration. Covid has accelerated the rate at which businesses are relying on their tech processes over their human, real world, processes.

This is specifically relevant in the real estate space which hasn’t previously adopted technology at the same pace as other industries, like transport – which has seen an unrecognisable transformation in recent years.

What we’re doing here at HomeHerois building technology that will support real estate in being able to communicate through an omni-channel approach. We’re working to automate important processes, increasing efficiency for property managers, landlords and ultimately residents. To provide a completely innovative and personalised resident experience.”

 

 

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Cenk Sidar – CEO and Co Founder of GlobalWonks

 

Cenk Sidar

 

“SaaS platforms will swell as a business tool in 2021, not only because of their tech sophistication and user scalability potential, but because our broader social and economic conditions demand it. Two main trends point the way.

Firstly, business strategies across sectors must today digitize or risk cessation. Secondly, businesses need to keep pace with rising customer demands from new and emerging market segments while keeping costs down.

We have seen how populist politics across the world, the coronavirus pandemic, and inequality in developed markets has placed significant pressures on the pace of innovation across sectors – from retail and agriculture to healthcare and cybersecurity – in a short period.

To remain competitive, businesses must get smarter on products (and markets) adjacent to their own suite of offerings, and key SaaS mechanisms, such as white labeling, provide an elegant solution.

White label SaaS, especially in knowledge economy or service-heavy sectors, can assist in repositioning existing products for new consumers and growth markets, help maintain low logistical and capital costs of expansion, and save time. In short, SaaS white labeling offers fully developed and deployed platforms to businesses who seek to embed the software into their own offerings and under their brand.

In this way, white label SaaS can be of particular value to the most at-risk enterprises under the current climate – startups, SMEs, and limited distribution product lines.

For such businesses, enhanced functionality through SaaS white labeling brings higher revenue scope without necessarily raising the cost of acquiring customers and an overall agility to create time and space for further innovation. Innovation must be the goal for 2021 in today’s world and SaaS solutions will help get us there.”

 

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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