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December 26, 2018
Most analysts say the Year of Software as a Service (SaaS) was 2017. That was the year when apps like Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite first dominated the business scene. This year was expected to be the one when SaaS matured, which would render 2019 a ho-hum year for this category of apps.
But that was before artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing (aka distributed cloud or micro data centers), and the internet of things (IoT) took SaaS in new and unexpected directions. So instead of the SaaS market simply maturing in 2018 and merely stagnating next year, it’s off on another growth spurt.
Amalgam Insights’ Hyoun Park
“SaaS apps with a machine learning or AI component will see massive growth in 2019 both as AI becomes easier to embed and users find these solutions solving new and innovative problems that reduce cognitive load,” says Hyoun Park, CEO and principal analyst at Amalgam Insights. “AI-based SaaS solutions as a whole will exceed the 20 percent year-over-year revenue growth expected from SaaS, in general.”
Meanwhile, edge computing was once predicted by a Gartner analyst to be ready to “eat the cloud.” Somewhere between that 2017 prediction and now, edge computing lost its appetite for its predecessor, despite the rising need for faster real-time data analyses for things like autonomous cars.
While distributed, on-site computing renders faster analysis outputs and reduces latency for IoT, the centralized cloud model maintains its stark advantages in data storage and the use of multiple data sources.
Throughout the fourth quarter of 2018, as part of our “In Focus” series, we are featuring a series of galleries designed to help partners grow their businesses in 2019 and beyond.
In other words, while a single autonomous vehicle needs edge computing for an instant decision on what move to make to avoid an accident, the centralized cloud is better at analyzing data from many autonomous cars on everything from general performance to quality control.
Just like there are SaaS apps for the traditional, centralized cloud, so too do they exist for edge computing. Many developers are working on this front and progress is steady. One example: AT&T Foundry launched an edge computing test zone earlier this year. Developers first focused on media applications for the edge, such as virtual reality, augmented reality and cloud-based games.
AT&T developers have since moved on to business applications for the edge. One example is the recent launch of Akraino Edge Stack, an open-source software stack that supports cloud services for edge-computing systems and applications. This class of SaaS apps, optimized for edge devices, is expected to explode next year from a variety of vendors.
That’s not to say that the previously dominant SaaS apps won’t still hold sway in organizations everywhere, because they will. But those are likely to provide the foundation for your business, whereas other apps are more likely to boost your business in the face of new opportunities and challenges in the marketspace. In any case, the entire SaaS sector is slated for strong growth.
Gartner predicts “cloud application services – or software as a service (SaaS) – remains the largest segment of the cloud market, with revenue expected to reach $85.1 billion in 2019 and $117 billion by 2021.”
Scroll through our slide show above for seven surprising SaaS apps to boost your business next year and prepare your company for an ever-changing future.
A prolific writer and analyst, Pam Baker’s published work appears in many leading print and online publications including Security Boulevard, PCMag, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO, TechTarget, Linux.com and InformationWeek, as well as many others. Her latest book is “Data Divination: Big Data Strategies.” She’s also a popular speaker at technology conferences as well as specialty conferences such as the Excellence in Journalism events and a medical research and healthcare event at the NY Academy of Sciences.
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