I recently joined the well-known Silicon Valley SaaS evangelist and investor, Jason Green, to discuss the software-as-a-service landscape. SaaS was the first cloud category to reach maturity. This was indeed highlighted by Jason in one of the first slides of his presentation, where he spoke about how the cloud “has won”, yet we’re just getting started. The average growth rates for vendors offering public cloud revenues have been phenomenal in recent years, led by well-known companies such as Salesforce, Workday, and ServiceNow. Jason also spoke about the evolution of SaaS companies, starting from horizontal cloud companies such as Salesforce in the early 2000s, to new emerging areas involving artificial intelligence.
This got me thinking about the next evolution of SaaS. Where is the next significant wave of growth going to come from? As Geoffrey Moore points out in his book, Zone To Win, companies need to be looking to “catch the next wave”. We’ve seen many such waves in the tech industry, from cloud computing to social networks. Finding this rapid growth category translates to growth rates “typically well north of 20 percent for a period of five to seven years”.
The challenge of course for an IOT SaaS platform is that the business situation differs. For example, Belatrix worked with a real estate company to use sensors and machine learning to improve how they manage their buildings. This was a great use case for the IOT. But the challenge is then how to scale this approach to other companies, which also want to use the IOT, but for their specific situation. Today, all too often companies need to hire developers experienced with the IOT. However there are increasingly companies helping organizations solve this problem.
Cumulocity, owned by Software AG, is one such company that provides a SaaS platform but for IOT scenarios. By providing a plug and play approach, they make it possible for business executives to be much more involved in building the solution. A few months ago, in December 2017, Microsoft launched their IOT Central, which again is a SaaS platform which enables you to connect and monitor all the sensors and connections that make up your IOT environment.
Crucially for organizations, using a SaaS platform makes it faster, easier, and much cheaper to use the IOT to change their business and create new services and products for their customers. This space is wide open for innovative new startups to emerge in the field, and also for many of the larger technology players to build dedicated solutions. The winners here will also of course be the many companies who can now build IOT environments to revolutionize their businesses.