Customer demands are forcing vendors to interoperate, creating hubs for multichannel experiences.
The cloud and software as a service transformed desktop workloads.
Organizations still have SaaS reservations, including governance and security concerns, but most businesses are SaaS-happy.
Microsoft owns the largest portion of the SaaS market, followed by Salesforce, Adobe, SAP and Oracle, according to Synergy Research Group’s Q1 2019 report.
While vendors are distinguished in the space, areas of expertise vary. Microsoft’s presence is felt across SaaS segments, but Oracle leads ERP, Workday owns HR and Salesforce is holding tight to CRM.
With each company fighting for a place in the SaaS domain, meeting customers’ needs and helping businesses achieve a sense of flexibility is an area for vendors to create differentiation.
SaaS trends to watch in 2020:
1. Low-code platforms will open the door to faster iteration
Adoption of low-code platforms — when done right — can enable quick tech iteration by providing business stakeholders tools to streamline workflows.
Developers, too, have embraced the technology. Half of developers say they’ve either adopted or plan future adoption of low-code tools, according to Forrester. In 2020, low-code platforms will become available to more workers inside the organization, as business leaders search for ways to power innovation.
Though a number of small- to mid-size players have a strong position in the market, larger vendors such as Microsoft and Salesforce will leverage existing relationships to expand use of their low-code platforms.
“With the increasing need to bridge silos, developing enterprise applications with faster release cycles will result in the increasing adoption of low-code platforms,” said Vijay Pullur, CEO of low-code platform WaveMaker, in an email to CIO Dive.
2. Communication is consolidating
Bundled cloud-based services pushed companies toward a holistic solution. Companies have landed on G Suite and Office 365 as a hub for all workloads. Communication is bleeding into a limited SaaS ecosystem.
In the last five to 10 years, companies have been looking for tools that meet them where they are.
Employees want tech to come to them, instead of having to reach for a digital asset or leave a platform to go collaborate, Jean-Marc Chanoine, global head of Strategic Accounts at Templafy, told CIO Dive.
The communication and collaboration market is shrinking. There used to be 35 to 40 vendors, according to Art Schoeller, VP, principal analyst for Forrester, but it has shrunk to mostly heavyweights including Teams, Slack, Atlassian, Google, Dropbox and Smartsheet.
There are about five more years until the market plateaus, according to Gartner. Acquisitions are helping vendors squeeze in as many customers as they can before the plateau.
Legacy providers are breaking the confines of voice-only or message-only communications, which is what Cisco did when it acquired Jabber. RingCentral’s acquisition of Glip and ServiceMax’s acquisition of Zinc are carving a niche market to appeal to specific industries, like frontline employees, leaving the heavyweights to compete for enterprise customers.
If acquisitions aren’t feasible, APIs will become more valuable for cementing integrations.
Pure-play communication vendors have to create a solution that “plays well with the winners that are already there,” said Chanoine. “You’re going to end up with a lot of frenemies.”
3. Software developers will move more closely to line of business
Digital transformation won’t bring minor tweaks to how businesses operate. Instead, it will represent fundamental changes to what business do.
In order to bring about a smooth transition, most companies will need technical know-how at virtually all parts of the company. As outlined by Forrester in its 2020 predictions for software development, a “dev diaspora” will embed more technologists inside company divisions.
“Business stakeholders outside the IT org feel the increasing need to ramp up their own software capabilities and not rely on IT organizations or outsourcing,” said Chris Mines, SVP and research director at Forrester, in an interview with CIO Dive.
Providing business units with technical resources will increase the need for tech talent. One way companies will attempt to meet those needs is to embrace a larger share of workers from non-technical backgrounds, offering access to reskilling programs “as part of their onboarding process,” said Nancy Hornberger, EVP of healthcare at ElectrifAi, in an interview with CIO Dive.
Currently, less than 10% of rank-and-file staffers are involved with digital transformation efforts. That number is set to increase as digital transformation touches more sides of the business. – Read more