The Future of SaaS: Key Trends Shaping SaaS in 2024 & Beyond

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Leveraging a platform that constantly innovates through seamless on-air updates can take away a lot of hassle, allowing for more agility and better integration of new features without disrupting their existing systems, offering flexibility and a competitive edge. This is all possible thanks to software as a service (SaaS)!

How does SaaS work?

SaaS most distinctly follows a cloud-first, cloud-only posture. In such an arrangement, SaaS companies host the software and data on their servers or through a cloud service provider such as Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, or Microsoft Azure, etc., while also supporting businesses with the underlying infrastructure, which includes platforms, operating systems, and middleware.  

Once an organization subscribes to a SaaS solution, the vendor grants access via a web browser/application with user registration and login credentials. SaaS often utilizes a multi-tenant architecture, in which a single version of the software is shared by several users, allowing the vendor to offer the service to all subscribers effectively.  

Most importantly, SaaS applications require little to no maintenance from the consumer, as the SaaS vendor is responsible for:

  • Provisioning, managing, and sustaining all servers, networking equipment, storage hardware, and operating software necessary for operating the application.

  • Providing feature improvements and security updates when needed.  

  • Ensuring load balancing, redundancy, data privacy, and recovery services to prevent outages as specified in the service level agreements (SLAs) to maintain desired performance, availability, and data protection criteria.  

SaaS Trends That Drive Competitive Advantage:

Vertical AI-powered SaaS: The successive incarnations of Enterprise SaaS will be vertically focused AI platforms combined with workflow SaaS built on top of models specially trained on proprietary data sets. Horizontal SaaS is often built on a "one size fits all" philosophy, failing to cater to more specific needs; this makes vertical SaaS an ideal option to improve workflow efficiency and generate more business value in a targeted way. However, the key added context is how these Enterprise SaaS apps will use AI. Will they incorporate interfaces for large language models (LLMs) into their workflow? Will they establish an abstraction layer to preserve corporate data while leveraging the critical enterprise context when prompting LLMs? Or will they create autonomous AI models that gain the unique knowledge required to reach that "why" understanding within the company's key focus area?  

SaaS Superapps: According to Gartner, by 2027, more than half of the world population will be active daily users of numerous superapps.  

A superapp is an application that offers end users a set of basic capabilities, with an option to access independently built mini apps. Users can access a variety of discrete services via an ecosystem through which internal development teams and external partners create and distribute modular mini apps to the superapp. This provider ecosystem also adds value to the superapp by allowing users to easily access a more comprehensive selection of services within the app, reducing hassle, improving efficiency, and better integration. Superapps will ultimately enable chatbots, IoT technology, and immersive experiences such as the metaverse.

Low-Code/No-Code Development: According to Gartner, business technologists, hyper-automation, and composable business efforts will be the primary drivers of LC/NC platforms throughout 2026.  

Organizations are increasingly shifting to LC/NC development solutions to satisfy growing demands for rapid application delivery and highly customizable automation processes. Equipping software developers and business technologists with various LC/NC tools allows firms to achieve digital competency and delivery speed to stay relevant in today's agile environment. While LC/NC platforms command a significant market share, Citizen Automation Development Platform (CADP) is expected to expand at an astounding pace. CADP is commonly used to automate workflows, create web-based forms, connect data & content across many SaaS applications, and generate reports with data visualizations. The high cost of tech skills and a rising hybrid or borderless workforce will contribute to the adoption of low-code technologies. 

In fact, Gartner predicts developers outside conventional IT departments would account for at least 80% of LC/NC platform users in 2026, up from 60% in 2021.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): According to Statista, the global PaaS market is expected to grow by 14.24% (2024-2028), reaching a market volume of US$244.10 billion by 2028.  

SaaS firms are progressively incorporating PaaS capabilities into their main offerings. PaaS is a cloud-based application development environment that includes everything developers need to create and deploy programs. PaaS allows developers to select the functionality and cloud services they need on a subscription or pay-per-use basis, enabling faster innovation at a fraction of the cost.

White labeling: White labeling is rebranding an app or service with your brand and personalizing it as if you were the original author. This implies that the white-label software supplier controls the product's intellectual property (IP), but the reseller can brand it and add desired features. White-label software is an excellent alternative for firms who wish to provide a software solution without having the hassle of building it themselves. This method is helpful for businesses seeking a more personalized and specialized software solution.  

SaaS Business Intelligence (SaaS BI): In the corporate world, an enormous amount of data is collected and collated daily. The nature of data might be internal, tracking vital indications of the company's financial health and success, or external, such as consumer shopping behavior like first or repeat visits, and so on. However, to benefit from this data, it must first be processed and then evaluated for comprehension. SaaS BI is a cloud-based model with third-party providers hosting BI products in a secure online environment. SaaS BI technologies provide firms with variable pricing for analytics services such as dashboards and reports, enabling them to eliminate bottlenecks, track KPIs, enhance agility, save costs, etc.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS): DaaS is a high-performance, secure, cost-effective desktop virtualization solution. It allows enterprises to untether their computer operating systems and productivity apps from any physical hardware. Businesses can instead use DaaS to connect to virtual desktops hosted by a cloud provider via the internet. Cloud vendors that provide this service distribute and administer virtual desktops from their data centers. 

DaaS is expected to become a cornerstone of modern IT strategy in 2024, particularly among SMEs. Its expansion, driven by the demand for adaptable, secure, and cost-effective IT solutions, indicates a dramatic shift in how organizations use technology in an increasingly remote and digital environment. The usage of DaaS installations is expected to increase, with almost 80% of virtual desktops offered through a DaaS solution in 2024, up from more than 30% in 2021.  

Chatbots: According to a Deloitte study, the worldwide conversational AI market, which includes chatbots and intelligent virtual assistants, is predicted to expand at a 22% CAGR between 2020 and 2025, reaching about $14 billion by 2025.

Traditionally, chatbots used to handle simple queries, but with AI, self-learning capabilities, and SaaS integration, they can now handle complex conversations, personalize responses, automate repetitive tasks, and have a broader use case. Data from numerous conversational AI providers revealed that the number of interactions handled by chatbots rose by up to 250% across multiple sectors. These solutions are already providing considerable value to many enterprises. Approximately 90% of firms claimed faster complaint resolution and more than 80% reported increased call traffic processing when employing conversational AI solutions.  

GenAI in SaaS:The future of GenAI in SaaS is defined by connectivity, integration, and interoperability. As we see an increasing trend toward AI-powered SaaS, AI interoperability becomes critical. AI interoperability is the smooth flow of information and functionality across different AI systems. All of this supports what is now known as "connected AI," which envisions AI systems collaborating, exchanging information, and learning from one another to improve overall capabilities. For instance, a GenAI-powered recommendation engine can work with a natural language processing (NLP) system to deliver tailored and context-sensitive suggestions within the application.

Potential Challenges:

Despite its benefits, SaaS does have its own set of challenges. Because SaaS apps are simple to use, they may spread throughout a business without the awareness of the IT department. This phenomenon is known as "shadow IT," which can result in security issues. At a fundamental level, if the in-house IT team does not have the right kind of expertise, they may not be able to ensure data privacy. As a result, shadow IT can worsen frail security practices (such as using the same password for several apps) and make the firm more vulnerable to attackers.

Another potential issue might be vendor lock-in, which occurs when the present SaaS provider's application no longer satisfies the customer's performance, functionality, or business needs. For example, whether a SaaS service is based on private business logic or a proprietary technological stack, migrating from one to another may be difficult or impossible without significant tradeoffs. 

Also Read: SaaS vs Custom Software Solution - Which One Fits Right for Your Business?

Final Thoughts:

Looking into 2024 and beyond, the SaaS landscape is poised for a transformative journey, with several prospects for innovation and collaboration. Market trends such as Gen AI in SaaS, vertical SaaS, SaaS superapps, etc., are expected to impact the future of SaaS, assuring a dynamic and thriving market. Even ongoing digital transformation efforts have increased demand for SaaS solutions, allowing businesses of all sizes to use cloud-based software solutions. Despite potential barriers such as data privacy issues and greater competition, the SaaS market remains robust and configured to succeed, with fresh opportunities for businesses to produce cutting-edge solutions and drive innovation through collaboration.

Author

Assim Gupta

Swetha GP linkedin-icon-squre

VP of Delivery

She is a VP of Delivery at Closeloop. A communicator, business analyst, and engineering aficionado. Besides handling client relations, and engineering duties, she loves to pour her thoughts on paper. She writes about engineering, technologies, frameworks, and everything related to the software domain. She reads, spends time with family, and enjoys a good walk in nature in her free time. Her dream destination is Greece.

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