9 SaaS Trend Predictions for 2020

Updated on by Daniel Twigg

With the new year around the corner we wanted to take time to gaze into the Cyclr Crystal Ball and look forward to what we might expect from the world of SaaS in 2020. All opinions are our own….. but they are opinions : )

More…..Increase in Narrow, Vertical Specific, SaaS Applications

With Gartner expecting SaaS market revenues to grow to over $113.6 billion by 2021 there are plenty of entrepreneurs wanting a piece of the pie. New SaaSs have to be savvy to make their mark. This, allied to the reducing cost and time required to get a Beta product to market, has led to the increase of narrow but deep applications – built for specific industry vertical and purpose. 

This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. With the average spend per company on SaaS applications increasing year-over-year since 2010, 2020 will undoubtedly see a new wave of targeted applications. Each built to solve specific problems people have in business, life or any other area people rely on computing. The challenge? The easier it becomes to set-up a new SaaS, the harder it becomes to make noise in an increasingly busy space. The reducing cost of setting-up new SaaS applications is being counterbalanced by the spend required to make your presence felt.

And Less……Leading SaaS Companies Extending their Scopes

To counter the ever expanding arrays of competitors in their vertical markets, market leading SaaS companies are making moves to diversify/broaden their product offering both through innovation and acquisition. CRMs are introducing chat functions, chat apps are introducing CRMs.  For example, ActiveCampaign had shifted from the email marketing relm to marketing automation sometime ago, however their latest product editions sees them entering the CRM segment. 

It is, however, driven by the real need to maintain growth and to increase functionality scope to appeal to new demographics. It’s almost heading back into ERP territory, full cycle. The upside is broadened functionality and less SaaS apps, the downside is that the longer it plays out the more the applications risk  becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.

Increased Connectivity with User Ecosystems of Applications

If a SaaS company with limited resources wants to stick to their knitting, they are going to have to find partnerships to stand out from the crowd. 

Users now use a wide range of SaaS tools. SaaS to SaaS integration offers enormous value to users; boosting productivity and offering unseen insights. Particularly where their user-base can’t afford the larger ‘all singing, all dancing’ applications.

By directly providing integrations from inside their SaaS application, the SaaS company become an irreplaceable part of their users’ tech stack rather than being an isolated app. 

The challenge is balancing the developer requirements for building and maintaining tird-party integrations as compared to developing their own platform.

This is why Embedded iPaaS has had a surge in recent years. By decoupling the integration creation and maintenance tasks from developers, using low-code tools, companies can take a far more agile and scalable approach to integration.

2020 will be a year of SaaS integration evolution – developed around SaaS users needs, delivered directly. 

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Increased Automation Included in SaaS Apps as Standard

There is a difference between integration and automation. Integration is A-B whilst automation can be dependent on triggers, steps and actions.

Many SaaS KPIs revolve around user application usage; the more engaged they are the happier they are. But what if the opposite is true; the lower the usage, the happier they are.

Whilst it may sound counter intuitive to many, less interaction can be a good thing, namely for productivity. Users don’t necessarily want to be tied to a new interface to complete tasks. If you can make their lives easier by just doing useful things in an intuitive manner. Such as using natural language processing to allow users to complete tasks by talking to a virtual assistant. 

This is picking up momentum in the CRM/Sales automation space, with Marketing Automation not far behind. This method of interfacing with users should become more popular. The next logical extension being moving from typing-based chat interfaces to voice recognised command processing.

Likewise, if you can offer functions which can be triggered from other sources then all the better. Being able to trigger processes directly from a Slack channel has long since been a god-send, as in my case I’m in that platform a lot. 

AI and Machine Learning Baked Deeper into Applications

Publicly available libraries of machine learning tools are finding their way into an increasing number of SaaS applications. And why not? With the ability to vastly improve user experience, reducing the amount of input required to complete a task through predictive modelling. It has become far easier to augment your application with intelligence. 

Regardless of whether the thought of AI will either send a shiver of dread or excitement down your spine, the possibilities to make use of the technology are endless. 

We may even end up with the true web assistants we were promised back when Web 2.0 was the bleeding edge; where content from across the web is contextually delivered to you when and where you need it. Not the fragmented platform-centric versions we have now.  

Higher Consumer Spending on SaaS

As people are becoming more data conscious. It appears the phrase “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product”, is beginning to hit home.

More people are thinking harder about turning their backs on free applications in favour for paid substitutes that can offer reassurance over the use/protection of their data. 

B2B Waterfall into B2C

B2B-centric innovation is now moving into the B2C space. B2B has tended to drive innovation around ease of use, process improvement and eco-systems.

  • You now have automation available as ‘Shortcuts’ on your Apple i-phone
  • Open Banking innovation has translated to innovative FinTech products
  • Traditional CRMs are driving innovation in new B2C Social CRMs
  • Corporate video conferencing for the consumer via Facebook Portal

You get the idea………

This waterfall effect is inevitably going to develop further. What next? Hard to tell. Chatbots for the consumer? Messaging innovation? Automated accounting for the ‘Home’……

Increased Multi-Cloud Deployments

The World is in a whirlwind of data rules, regulation and sovereignty requirements. All of this is being aggravated by a social trend to isolationism rather than togetherness (eg. Brexit). 

SaaS companies are contending with the fall-out of this. Their end-users (and legislation) are increasingly concerned with geographies of hosting. Which is going to cause a rise in single tenancy requirements alongside multi-geography/multi-provider deployments. The days of a single shared-stack for a SaaS application are numbered.

The main providers (Google, AWS and Azure) may find that not only will their clients be moving to multi-geography but potentially multiple simultaneous provision by more than one provider too.

Increase in Blockchain Based SaaSs

While Blockchain has been all buzz for sometime, we’re beginning to see practical implementations of the ledger technology in the wild.

The movement towards decentralisation has been boosted by dedicated platforms such as Blockstack. Built upon Bitcoin’s blockchain, Blockstack offers a new way to monetise applications on their network, with over 250 applications currently available in their ecosystem.

A key area that is seeing increased development in Blockchain technology is Africa. In a bid to counter corruption and lack of accountability, the blockchain ledger technology is being rolled out in a diverse range of applications from assisting the agriculture sector with inventory visibility to help advance the finance sector, including microfinancing.  

With the increase in development resources pushing the decentralized technology to test its potential, we can expect a growth in user adoption from those looking away from the current centralised model.

So what do you think? What do you think will shape the SaaS industry in 2020? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Avatar for Daniel Twigg

Daniel Twigg

With over 10 years experience in the Digital Marketing arena, covering industries including IoT, SaaS, fitness, computer gaming and music, Daniel has been Cyclr's marketing manager from the early days of the platform.

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