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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming an increasingly viable choice for organizations in search of accessibility, functionality, and versatility in a cutthroat business environment.
It’s possible for companies to run SaaS software solutions and online data analysis without the need to rely on installing and running applications on their own computer systems and data centers. As such, these incredible innovations are rising in popularity every year.
SaaS now dominates the cloud computing market. Gartner predicts that the service-based cloud application industry will be worth $143.7 billion by 2022 - a level of growth that will shape SaaS trends in 2022.
SaaS is a software distribution model that offers a lot of agility and cost-effectiveness for companies, making it an incredibly reliable option for numerous business models and industries. It’s also popular among businesses due to its simplicity, user accessibility, security, and widespread connectivity. In turn, software-as-a-service platforms streamline business models, resulting in maximum efficiency across the board. Today, most companies are in the process of implementing various business intelligence strategies, turning to SaaS BI tools to assist them in their efforts.
Last year was a breakthrough year for the SaaS world in many ways. With a new year on the horizon, in this article, we’ll explore 10 essential SaaS trends that will stand out in 2022 - developments that are pushing the SaaS industry envelope even further.
But, before we do that, we will discuss the general characteristics revolving around the industry that will help put additional light on the 2022 SaaS trends.
Soon, we’ll be digging deeper into game-changing software-as-a-service concepts. But before looking at our top SaaS industry trends for 2022, let’s dispel some common myths surrounding the industry.
Dispelling 3 Common SaaS Myths
To offer you a full and panoramic understanding of the impact software-as-a-service is having on the professional world, and get the best context of the latest SaaS trends, here, we will dispel the three most common SaaS myths – consider them busted:
- SaaS tools offer just one application: On the contrary, SaaS tools range in form and function as much as any other type of software available today, so you can build a SaaS dashboard tool or use a SaaS-based email marketing solution, for example.
- SaaS is less robust and less secure than on-premises applications: Despite some SaaS-based teething problems or technical issues reported by the likes of Google, these occurrences are incredibly rare with software-as-a-service applications – and there hasn’t been one major compromise of a SaaS operation documented to date.
- IT professionals are anti-SaaS: Again, this is a complete myth, and like any disruptive development worth its salt, some IT professionals are reluctant to embrace SaaS as a concept. There are a large number of industry experts who recognize SaaS for ridding them of the day-to-day humdrum of traditional software while helping them better manage their own IT operations. This quote from Apple’s prolific founder, Steve Jobs, sums up the common view of SaaS from a technical professional’s perspective: “I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster…carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.”
SaaS: The Key Characteristics
Before we explore our essential software-as-a-service trends for 2022, it’s important to consider what defines SaaS as not only technological development but as a working business model.
- Flexible payment options: Businesses don’t have to go through the expense of purchasing software and hardware. Instead, they have the option of utilizing various pricing structures. Flexibility in payment models, where they only pay for the resource usage they need, for instance, is attractive for many organizations in today’s competitive world.
- Scalability: Cloud-based SaaS enables businesses to expand with ease due to its inherent scalability. Companies can be selective about the types of features and options they want.
- Updates: SaaS providers handle the necessary software updates and develop new features over time, so businesses don’t have to invest ample amounts of time in this particular area of operation.
- Accessibility: With SaaS, businesses have the mobility of accessing applications from any digital device and location, making it especially convenient for mobile platforms. Additionally, it boasts ease-of-use and is user-friendly.
- Adaptability: Due to the seemingly limitless level of scalability, accessibility, and insight SaaS innovations offer, businesses that use such tools or platforms will become far more adaptable to constant change or unforeseen organizational roadblocks.
- Increased collaboration: SaaS developments enhance a business’s ability to promote collaboration across teams and departments due to the facilitation of file sharing, in addition to distinct ease of reading and understanding across systems.
- Security: Most SaaS models are known for their enterprise-level security, which is a more holistic approach to security than many centralized, on-premise solutions. In Cloud SaaS, pre-existing disaster recovery protocols are in place to manage potential system failures. This means that your business’s data is available and secure regardless of a data breach or system failure.
As businesses continue to rely on innovative data discovery tools and technologies to increase both their productivity and their efficiency, and as new software-as-a-service trends continue to emerge, this young, groundbreaking industry can only go from strength to strength.
Even if figures diverge somewhat, the many forecasts conducted on SaaS industry trends 2022 demonstrate an obvious reality: the SaaS market is going to get bigger and bigger. Indeed, according to Bloomberg, public cloud platforms, business services, and applications (SaaS) will all grow at a 9% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2020 and 2023, and worth $60.36 billion. A Betterbuys report reveals that the specific expenditure in the U.S. SaaS Industry is forecasted to reach $55 billion by 2026. And according to Gartner, the global public cloud service market is projected to grow significantly in 2022 and beyond.
Without further ado, let's dive into the most important trends of the SaaS industry for the coming year!
The 10 Top SaaS Trends in 2022
Now that we’ve explored the key characteristics of software-as-a-service innovations, it’s time to take a deep dive into the top SaaS trends in 2022.
From the introduction of artificial intelligence to enhanced mobile optimization and beyond, these SaaS trends 2022 will shape the sector in the dawning of the new year.
1) Artificial Intelligence
The first of our most impactful trends in SaaS is of the autonomous, self-learning variety.
Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is deep-rooted in the veins of our society. AI made the top 3 of our list of business intelligence trends for 2022 – and in the coming year, it’s expected to make some serious waves. Artificial Intelligence technology is fast becoming a standard SaaS industry fixture. Autonomous innovations empower businesses across industries with the ability to drive greater product, service, or content personalization while gaining a deeper, data-driven understanding of the needs of their audience. The perfect storm of more return for less input means that with AI, businesses can become more efficient and more intelligent with fewer resources.
AI technology saw some significant developments in 2021, and now, it's set to become a real game-changer, with a projected market value of $733.7 billion by 2027.
Within business scenarios, artificial intelligence (as well as machine learning, in many cases) provides an advanced degree of responsiveness and interaction between businesses, customers, and technology, driving AI-based SaaS trends 2022 to a new level.
There are numerous features developed by modern software providers based on artificial intelligence, such as data alerts. With an AI algorithm using the most advanced neural network for anomaly detection, and a machine-learning algorithm for pattern recognition, these data alerts learn from trends and patterns and let you know as soon as something important happens.
That way, when a pre-set goal is met, or when something unexpected happens, you will be notified, enabling you to keep continuous control over your business. Since it is often easy to lose track of what really matters when so many KPIs have to be monitored, an online reporting tool will safely keep an eye on your data and anticipate any fluctuation and change – and alert you when it veers off course.
Artificial intelligence is likely to disrupt the SaaS landscape in a variety of ways, improving the key characteristics of the SaaS model across the board. When SaaS is combined with AI capabilities, it enables businesses to obtain better value from their data, automate and personalize services, improve security, and supplement human capacity.
How will AI help to build a shining SaaS future?
- Personalization: Software is easier to use with technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), which automatically processes human speech patterns and voice control. This can be deployed across customer service functionality to improve customization and better address client needs.
- Speed: Artificial intelligence-enabled SaaS speeds up internal processes and operations, allowing businesses to obtain fast answers to questions, make quick forecasts, and speed up their overall level of responsiveness.
- Security: Due to artificial intelligence-enabled automation, and the ability of machine learning to recognize patterns, SaaS security is enhanced by the quick identification and remedy of potential threats with built-in self-recovery.
- Data intelligence: The sophistication of modern SaaS-based AI platforms means that it’s possible to investigate emerging consumer intents, interests, and behaviors while consolidating invaluable data from various sources and cleaning as well as segmenting it in a way that offers optimum business value.
- Integrations: In 2022, we’re likely to see AI technologies integrate with a broader range of software types. As a result, it’s possible to create highly value-driven infrastructures that offer business-boosting value across almost every internal function or department imaginable.
2) Machine Learning
Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, is utilized in SaaS to automate responsiveness in customer service reports and applications, such as AI-powered chat operations with live chatbots. It will also automate the onboarding process of SaaS. As ML is built on an autonomous operational model, new innovations will facilitate software and platforms that empower businesses to automate significant chunks of internal operations other than customer service or experience alone.
A fresh injection of ML innovation will empower SaaS-style offerings to become self-improving, offering a level of intelligence and operational efficiency that will drive a host of industries forward.
Machine learning is one of the fastest-growing segments of software and, as such, it’s a hot SaaS 2022 topic. As ML becomes an integral part of the AI-based software-as-a-service model, an increasing number of platforms will emerge that will help businesses across sectors:
- Train their software to learn from every task or interaction, gaining a greater level of intelligence and efficiency in the process.
- Dig deeper into contextual data and insights - the kind that can help you gain a real edge on the competition.
- Improve internal collaboration and operations through more sophisticated communication models.
- Enhance consumer communications and service output by continually adjusting language, tone of voice, and practical functions in line with the ever-changing needs and demands of clients, partners, or customers.
On a highly-commercial level, Netflix’s personalized content suggestions and Waymo’s self-driving cars that calculate increasing potential risk factors or journey hold-ups over time are examples of ML in SaaS-type models. As we enter 2022, these innovations will prove to be the tip of the automation iceberg.
3) Centralized Analytics
The third of our essential SaaS industry trends is data-driven. As digital transformation across industries accelerates, businesses across sectors look to data to streamline their organization while gaining a deeper insight into their customers or users. Investment in analytics-driven software-as-a-service innovations is expected to soar.
In fact, industry experts believe that investment and value in analytics-centric SaaS models will rise by 23.3% by 2022. In 2022, and beyond, analytics will become a central component of almost every service-based software platform, making business intelligence and data-driven decisions all the more powerful for anyone looking to get ahead of the competition.
This centralized analytics will enable users to look into their data from a single point of truth, discovering hidden insights by utilizing modern solutions such as performance dashboards, where every member of the team has access to the most vital business information.
Moreover, the centralized nature of SaaS models will enable users to access data from any device, at any time. Modern online business intelligence makes this happen with the help of advanced software capabilities and the online environment where each member of the team has access to their analytics.
4) Vertical SaaS
Our fourth forecast for SaaS trends in 2022 is Vertical SaaS. Whereas Horizontal SaaS focuses on clients across any sector and industry, Vertical SaaS is completely customizable, targeting clients within specific industries and supply chains.
Some examples are healthcare analytics software, retail analytics, or modern logistics analytics. Companies who are looking to benefit from specialization are finding Vertical SaaS to be a cost-effective, industry-specific option that allows them to refine the customization of certain features.
Why are Vertical SaaS trends going to have such an impact in 2022?
Vertical SaaS providers also have the ability to adapt features according to client demand and industry, and effectively address customer needs within their niche. This results in more flexibility and upselling opportunities, and lower customer acquisition costs.
These developing Vertical SaaS trends also provide the following benefits:
- Customer intelligence: Enables businesses to obtain industry-specific customer data and intelligence, which plays a critical role in gaining customer-focused insights.
- Pre-defined metrics and KPIs: Vertical SaaS is already integrated with pre-defined metrics, KPIs, and analytics that businesses can utilize to assess and address daily and long-term processes and performance.
- Business value: Software is designed to meet industry requirements; therefore, it provides a higher degree of business value for company operations and performance.
- Improved data governance: Vertical SaaS is positioned to address data governance procedures via the inclusion of industry-specific compliance capabilities, which has the additional benefit of providing increased transparency.
- New niches: As the demand for vertical SaaS solutions continues to trend upward, incredibly niche products and solutions will enter the market to address very specific industry pain points. Recently, a childcare management app launched and was so valuable it raised millions in funding almost immediately.
- A higher standard: Higher quality service from industry-specific Vertical SaaS providers will continue to emerge as each developer aims to distinguish itself from the ever-increasing crowd. Increased competition will force SaaS providers in the vertical arena to meet the needs of their users head-on, which will spawn a host of innovative niche solutions.
5) The Growing Need for API Connections
The API (Application Programming Interface) has been a fundamental part of software development for years, and this is precisely what our fifth SaaS trend focuses on. With the explosion of SaaS solutions and adoption by the market, the need to integrate them into an existing business system appeared. Some companies may want to migrate all their data to a cloud platform, but many actually would rather harmonize it with their already existing infrastructure in order to improve it – and this is where the problem lies.
At first, SaaS providers didn’t come with a complete integration solution. That failure served to complicate the work and caused them to disappoint their customers as a result. They would then redirect their clients to a third party to supply the specific APIs enabling the customer to integrate the cloud solution into their existing system. It was indeed better for the SaaS developers not to reinvent the wheel, and to win some precious time and resources relying on third-party APIs. Their go-to-market time frame was shorter, and they could focus on their core capabilities to develop differentiated functionality.
However, more and more SaaS vendors tend to provide greater integration capabilities instead of redirecting their customers to third parties.
If you are looking to invest in a cloud vendor’s services, you should ask the following questions beforehand to ensure a seamless integration:
- What capabilities is the provider offering me to integrate the SaaS within my existing business system?
- Can this provider also integrate the legacy systems I use?
- Is my data protected while the integration process is worked through?
6) Martech Becomes Accessible
Martech—or marketing technology—is a term that refers to the wealth of tools that help brands or businesses improve their promotional campaigns by facilitating better insights, improved processes, and enhanced creative capabilities.
While the martech industry showed signs of slowing down during the pandemic, partly due to outdated practices like complex features or functionality, inflexible subscriptions or contacts, and poor product demos, big changes are on the horizon.
As the SaaS industry expands, more providers are placing focus on improving the customer experience (CX) - martech providers are no exception.
Instead of rolling out convoluted one-size-fits-all enterprise solutions and offering almost infinite (and mostly redundant) features, many martech SaaS providers are looking to simplify their interfaces and make their solutions more accessible.
This seismic shift in outlook means that martech providers will focus on doing one thing well while empowering everyday users to gain invaluable insights or conduct tasks that were once out of reach. Data analytics and BI platforms as well as graphic design solutions that require little or no technical knowledge to use are prime examples of a new, far more inclusive chapter for SaaS platforms in the martech sector.
Better branding, fairer pricing, improved mobile experiences thanks to marketing BI, and a lower barrier to entry are all key martech attributes that will lead the way in the coming years.
This is one of the most exciting software as a service trends likely to help catalyze the industry even more in 2022 and beyond.
7) Migration to PaaS
As the software-as-a-service industry evolves and innovation increases, many developers or providers will focus on customer retention on top of customer acquisition.
That said, in 2022, we expect to see SaaS migrate further towards the realms of PaaS (platform as a service) – developments that empower businesses to build custom apps as add-ons to their original services. The likes of Salesforce and Box have recently launched PaaS-centric services in a bid to hold a strong market share in their niche, and we expect to see this SaaS trend become all the more prevalent this coming year.
One of the major focuses of the PaaS evolution in 2022 will be helping startups and relatively new ventures scale successfully at speed.
A good case study is the one of UK-based food delivery app Deliveroo. They used Amazon’s AWS tools to help expand its geographical reach while gaining an edge over its direct competitors by using a raft of in-built platform features. The app’s expansion plans proved a success, with more planned for 2022. This is a testament to the growing power of PaaS.
To put the relevance of this trend into perspective, here are three key advantages of using a PaaS development:
- Agility: The enhanced features, functionality, and ability to customize will enhance your overall business agility, giving you more time and creative space to innovate and focus on your core commercial initiatives. Tolls such as datapine offer intuitive customer retention metrics and dashboards to have a centralized view of your retention data.
- Scalability: PaaS offerings are, by their very nature, robust, flexible, and accessible, which means you will be able to scale your business more easily by using a platform as a service.
- Security: A distinct advantage of the PaaS model is security, as the vast majority of such developments perform a host of automatic updates on a regular basis.
8) Greater focus on retention & churn
As SaaS industry growth continues to accelerate, Saas platform providers are working on a wealth of ways to offer maximum value to platform users to increase retention rates and reduce churn.
This development means that many existing platforms and emerging innovations will come equipped with fully customizable features and tools that provide access to a wealth of insights designed to help businesses optimize their internal processes while meeting the needs of their customers head-on.
In addition to amplifying the inherent value of SaaS offerings, an increased focus on churn and retention will also result in the likes of personalized onboarding tutorials & videos, better mobile optimization, and advanced platform feature notifications.
From this perspective, a greater focus on retention and churn means that as a SaaS user, you have more scope to grow and evolve your business.
Conversely, if you’re a SaaS provider, by creating solutions that empower other businesses to create tools and content such as tailored tutorials, onboarding videos, or advanced features, you will tap into a segment of the market that is likely to result in an incredible level of interest, engagement, and revenue growth.
This is one of the SaaS trends that will shape the industry in 2022 and beyond, inspiring and incentivizing providers to lead with user value at the heart of their innovations, ideas, and operations.
9) More cross-platform organization tools to emerge
One of the most pressing problems that modern enterprises face today (particularly large companies and businesses that are scaling fast) is data dilution and fragmentation.
According to studies, data ‘scattering’ or fragmentation is one of the biggest barriers to business growth or evolution, as it slows organizations down, creates confusion, and results in rafts of missed opportunities.
With poor data management still a widespread issue, a wealth of new SaaS providers are emerging to help businesses consolidate, organize, and access quality data (derived from a range of sources) in one centralized location.
In addition to broadening platform integration capabilities, new concepts including document management systems and digital asset management systems are set to make their mark in 2022 and beyond.
Document management tools allow employees to access files and documents from a range of sources from one visually digestible and highly functional location such as an online dashboard. Digital asset management solutions share a similar model, except they are focused on helping businesses locate and capitalize on their most valuable branding assets from a variety of locations or sources.
Another fast-emerging data fragmentation solution comes in the form of Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). The concept here is to help companies connect fragmented data silos or ‘pipes’ and connect informational dots with ease - becoming more intelligent, streamlined, and successful as a result.
iPaaS is focused on empowering companies to use their data to its optimum capabilities. It’s an industry that is forecasted to reach $10.3 billion by the year 2025 - one of the trends in SaaS to look out for over the next 12 months.
10) Low-Code Capabilities
Software-as-a-service platforms continue to expand their reach year by year and 2022 will be no exception. Particularly due to the emergence of ‘white labeling,’ ‘no code,’ and ‘low-code’ platforms,
tech startups can bring their SaaS-based content to life with less technical experience.
SaaS white labeling will continue to grow in 2022 and is a process where a software-based business creates a fully developed, tested, and finalized platform and then sells it to another company so they can customize and sell it under their own branding. It can also be a part of embedded BI tools, where companies integrate a solution within their own application.
White labeling will prove particularly valuable to startups looking to gain market share quickly and with fewer logistical or financial costs to consider. If the framework for a platform or development is available right out of the box, startups can focus on their value proposition, strategy, and branding rather than having to start from scratch. In practice, BI dashboard software can be used as a SaaS solution that is completely white-labeled and adjusted to specific branding needs of a company or department.
Low-coding solutions are out-of-the-box style data centers (SaaS platforms for SaaS platform providers, if you will) that won’t eliminate the need for developers or engineers.
But, having less code to write to form the foundations of your platform or solution means that technical staff or contractors can spend more time driving innovation or sweating the stuff that results in a real competitive edge.
For example, you can implement a BI solution that is completely adjustable to your industry and department and relieve your technical team of endless supporting tasks. That way, they will have more time to focus on the development and engineering itself that will, ultimately, bring sustainable development to your business.
Low code and no code innovations continue to develop and emerge based on rising market demand. According to a mix of studies, businesses across sectors (startups, in particular) are opting for ‘low code’ solutions for the following reasons:
- To accelerate digital transformation and innovation
- To reduce their current IT or technical backlog and boost responsiveness
- To drive down the necessity for or dependency on hard-to-hire technical skills
- To protect the business against aggressive technological churn
- To improve internal processes
As one of the most all-encompassing SaaS market trends on our list, the low-code revolution is worth monitoring in 2022 - especially as new providers are rising from the digital woodwork almost every month. Oh, it’s also predicted to be worth $187 billion by 2030.
This is an exciting SaaS industry trend that is worth embracing if you’re looking to create a new platform or enhance an existing solution.
Enhanced SaaS Solutions For 2022
These 10 essential trends in SaaS will shape the landscape in 2022. Many developments have spilled over from last year, and some have evolved, paving the way for brand new concepts that will propel the industry to dizzying new heights.
Artificial Intelligence-empowered SaaS, advanced ML capabilities, Vertical SaaS, the rising need for and development of API connections, increased thought leadership, a migration to PaaS, a plethora of niche vertical offerings, increasingly accessible martech solutions, expansive low-coding capabilities, and cross-platform organization innovations are here to stay. These forward-thinking concepts will change the face of business intelligence across sectors in the years to come.
Above all else, these inspiring SaaS industry trends are a promise of a progressive future for the industry. Today’s businesses and consumers command robust, accessible, and valuable software-centric solutions for a range of tasks, goals, and outcomes. As digital transformation continues to accelerate across the globe, the SaaS industry can only get stronger, backed by the kind of ideation that provides a simpler, smarter future for all.
As data continues to be the driving force behind smart business strategies in a digitally dependent world, SaaS options are now positioned as an increasingly convenient and affordable option across industries.
All signs indicate that this coming year is going to be an interesting, trendsetting year for the trends in the SaaS industry. Of all the developments currently in the pipeline, these 10 SaaS industry trends, in particular, are showing signs of standing out as the most significant in the coming year. To keep your mind fresh here is a rundown of the 10 SaaS trends for 2022.
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine learning
- Centralized analytics
- Vertical SaaS
- The growing need for API connections
- Martech becomes accessible
- Migration to PaaS
- Greater focus on retention & churn
- More cross-platform organization tools to emerge
- Low-code capabilities
For more digitally-driven insights, check out our essential guide to getting started with big data analytics and business intelligence for small business—essential reading for go-getting modern businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It’s time to level up! If you’re ready to grab the future of SaaS by the digital horns and benefit from your own data-driven software-as-a-service solution, try our 14-day free trial and make innovation, intelligence, and growth your priorities in 2022.