Three Reasons SaaS Companies Will Win In The Work-From-Home Economy – Forbes - Freelance Rack

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Friday, May 29, 2020

Three Reasons SaaS Companies Will Win In The Work-From-Home Economy – Forbes

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put extreme stress on companies around the world. Business leaders are concerned for their employees’ health and well-being first and foremost, but anxiety around the capabilities of their technology ecosystems and their means to remain operational is top of mind for every IT organization.

At least 316 million Americans — fully 95% of the population — were under some level of stay-at-home order as of early April. And more than 60% of employed Americans have worked from home during the crisis, a number that has doubled since mid-March. Thankfully, IT organizations have started to shift much of their technology from on-premises networks to the cloud. How efficient is this? And how do providers of crucial technology keep their services up and running, mostly from remote locations, while continuing work on the next generation of solutions?

The evolution of software as a service (SaaS) tools, from collaboration boosters like videoconferencing and real-time communications to those that automate tasks like data analysis and email marketing, has changed the face of the global workplace. These same tools are even more crucial today for empowering organizations to not just survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but to thrive in the face of current and future challenges.

That’s because most SaaS solutions are built for and housed in the cloud rather than on-premises ecosystems. Remote workers can access the tools they would typically use in the office via web browsers through virtual private networks (VPNs). Colleagues can remain connected while workflows operate at near-full efficiency.

As recently as 10 years ago, this would not have been possible. The rise of technology in the workplace has enabled business transformation that minimizes costs, improves productivity and boosts overhead. During the ongoing pandemic, the level of innovation for SaaS adoption has become evident as nearly everyone, even those businesses with on-premises IT data centers, is using these tools just to keep the lights on.

Three main components of SaaS innovation contributed to companies’ abilities to adapt to remote work — and will continue to power their long-term success.

1. The power of anytime, anywhere scalability

Under normal circumstances, many enterprises still deploy on-premises data infrastructures to handle their workloads. But this requires employees working with on-premises IT infrastructure to be physically present at the data center to install new systems, build infrastructure or scale capacities, which doesn’t allow employees the flexibility to work from home and currently isn’t even possible at most companies.

That’s where the advantages of housing SaaS technology in the cloud shine through. The modern cloud’s security, flexibility and scalability alone are key to enabling today’s work-from-home capabilities.

Supporting innovation under pressure: As organizations rushed to set up work-from-home operations, SaaS providers saw their bandwidth and infrastructure pushed to the limit thanks to an influx of remote users connecting via various web browsers and internet service providers (ISPs). Communications provider Zoom, for example, typically keeps an excess of about 50% additional capacity beyond its maximum actual usage. The company scrambled to maintain that percentage as usage skyrocketed from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020.

Zoom’s senior manager of SaaS operations, Alex Guerrero, told Data Center Knowledge the company has focused on partnering with more carriers and ISPs, ordering more transit and increasing bandwidth on existing interconnections. These investments will help Zoom — and any growing SaaS company — scale to unprecedented capacity with zero on-site maintenance.

2. The collaboration boost of remote communication tools

One of the benefits of an office environment is the ability to meet face to face for quick, meaningful conversations. In the past, a shelter-in-place order would have eliminated these interactions, but SaaS tools like videoconferencing and instant messaging have enabled a sense of collaboration to persist. It’s the primary reason for the Zoom usage boom noted above.

Supporting innovation under pressure: Face-to-face connections and instantaneous chats powered by cloud-based SaaS communication tools allow for group collaboration that mimics in-office meetings and, in turn, quicker business decisions. This is especially critical now, when plans and playbooks pivot by the day (if not the hour.)

These communication tools will remain critical even as work-from-home restrictions are eased. A majority (59%) of Americans say they would prefer to continue remote work as often as possible, a trend that companies looking to save on overhead costs likely will capitalize on. In this way, digital face-to-face interactions will become a long-term win-win for both organizations and employees.

3. The capability for rapid, user-friendly pivots

Even before shelter-in-place restrictions were implemented, companies were quick to ditch SaaS tools that didn’t serve their needs, with an average 42% stack turnover rate. And with increased pressure to support increasingly remote companies and workers, SaaS providers are under the microscope for more than just bandwidth and functionality. Customers won’t stick with a clunky or illogical user experience when they’re relying on a tool more heavily than ever before.

Supporting innovation under pressure: If a tool is difficult to implement or difficult to learn, it likely will join the ranks of the percentage of SaaS applications that are dropped. Once again, cloud infrastructure helps SaaS companies innovate, allowing for near-instant responses and updates to outages, bugs and user feedback.

A better UX will serve SaaS companies in the long term. Organizations overall see $100 in ROI for every $1 spent on UX. That’s an investment worth making no matter the economy.

Business evolution will continue no matter the climate, and the importance of cloud-based SaaS will only grow with it. Businesses invested over $30 billion in cloud infrastructure during Q4 of 2019 alone, a 30% year-over-year jump that shows no sign of slowing, and SaaS businesses in particular are one of the larger drivers of that consumption. Thanks to unmatched scaling, communication and UX capabilities, these tools will remain critical as employees strive to achieve greater innovation — no matter where they’re working.



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