What is a SaaS Product: Features, Trends & Examples in 2024

 / January 26, 2024

In the fast-paced business world, one term has been making waves: SaaS. 

SaaS (short for “Software as a Service”) is a model where software is delivered over the Internet. It’s like renting a car instead of buying one. You can use it when you need it without worrying about maintenance or upgrades. This has propelled the demand for using SaaS products across businesses. 

But what is a SaaS product? How does it work? Or what essential components form a good SaaS product? Designveloper (DSV) will help you answer these questions in this ultimate guide.

Beyond the basics, we’ll also guide you through the current trends shaping the SaaS industry and the top-notch SaaS products in 2024.

So, whether you’re starting your own SaaS business or looking for new tools to add to your tech stack, this guide is the right place for you. Now, let’s dive in!

What is a SaaS Product?

What is a SaaS product?

A Software as a Service (SaaS) product is a cloud-based software solution that users access via the Internet. It’s hosted by a third-party service provider instead of being downloaded for use on your PC. It means users subscribe to the service, often on a monthly or annual basis, rather than purchasing the software outright.

Some SaaS products available today include Google Workspace, Salesforce, or Hubspot.

With a basic understanding of what a SaaS product is, let’s delve deeper into how this product works in practice.

How a SaaS Product Works in Practice

In general, a SaaS product works by centralizing data storage and computing power on remote servers. This allows users to access the software and its functionalities over the Internet, from any device or location. Updates and maintenance are handled by the provider as well, ensuring that users always have access to the latest version of the software without needing to install updates manually.

Let’s take Google Workspace as an example. When you create a document in Google Docs, the document is stored on Google’s servers. You can access and edit this document from any device with an internet connection, and changes are saved automatically. Multiple users can even collaborate on the same document in real-time.

FURTHER READING:
1. 10 SAAS Ideas for Entrepreneurs
2. 6 Key SAAS Metrics Every Tech Startup Must Know
3. SaaS Application Development: A 6-Step Guide

Essential Components of a SaaS Product

Understanding the essential components of a SaaS product is crucial as it provides insights into how these products deliver value to their users. These components are the building blocks that enable the unique benefits of SaaS, such as accessibility, scalability, and flexibility. Let’s explore these components in detail:

Key Components Description
Integrated Solutions Across Business Functions SaaS products often provide solutions that are interconnected across various business functions. This enhances efficiency and communication and gives users a precise overview of their entire business.
Quick and Adaptable Updates Updates in SaaS products are faster and more flexible, ensuring users always have access to the latest features and improvements.
User-Friendly Personalization SaaS products offer easy personalization options, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific needs.
Data Mobility SaaS products allow for data portability, meaning users can access their data from any device, anywhere with an internet connection.
Built-in Data Analytics Many SaaS products come with built-in analytics, providing valuable insights and data to help users make informed decisions.
Rapid Innovation with Integrated Technologies SaaS products can quickly incorporate new technologies (like AI, IoT, or chatbots). Accordingly, they foster innovation and productivity.
Instant Customer Support SaaS providers often offer robust customer support, helping users resolve issues and make the most of the product.
Easy Scalability and Reliability SaaS products are easily scalable to accommodate business growth, and their cloud-based nature makes them highly reliable.
Data Protection and Privacy SaaS providers prioritize data security and privacy, implementing robust measures (like encryption or authentication) to protect user data.

Precedence Research forecasts a significant expansion in the global SaaS market, from USD 276.11 billion in 2022 to an impressive USD 1,016.44 billion by 2032. This represents a CAGR of 13.92% over the projected decade from 2023 to 2032.

In light of this predicted growth, understanding the current trends in the SaaS industry becomes even more critical. For business leaders and decision-makers, this knowledge can shape strategic planning and uncover new avenues for innovation. Meanwhile, for developers and IT professionals, it can guide the design and development process, fostering the creation of competitive and timely products.

So, what is a SaaS product’s current direction? Let’s delve into the key trends that are shaping the SaaS industry. 

Vertical SaaS on the Rise

Vertical SaaS on the rise

Vertical SaaS is a cloud-based software solution that caters to the specific needs of an industry or niche. 

Vertical SaaS differs from Horizontal SaaS. The latter provides a one-size-fits-all approach across various industries – imagine a CRM tool any business can access. Meanwhile, the former is tailored to serve the unique requirements of a specific industry, like a healthcare management system designed exclusively for hospitals and clinics.

Why is Vertical SaaS a Key Trend?

The Forrester research revealed that many professional services organizations are increasingly moving away from generic Horizontal SaaS solutions. Instead, they’re opting for Vertical SaaS solutions that are custom-built for their distinctive needs.

This shift is not a fleeting phenomenon but a sustained trend. A notable majority – 89% to be exact – of the executives and IT leaders surveyed by Forrester agreed that Vertical SaaS is the future trend. 

They acknowledge (84%) that their organizational needs are distinct from those in other industries. These leaders also feel constrained when vendors offer generic tech solutions that demand extensive customization (78%). As a result, they’re pivoting towards Vertical SaaS solutions that cater to the unique needs of their workforces.

Vertical SaaS solutions are becoming a key trend in the SaaS landscape. They offer industry-specific features and functionalities that generic solutions can’t match. The rise of Vertical SaaS underscores the importance of tailored solutions in a world where every industry has its own unique challenges and opportunities.

Increased Adoption of Generative AI

Increased adoption of Generative AI

Generative AI (GenAI) is among the emerging techs driving the SaaS growth, according to Gartner. It’s an AI that excels at creating new content (like text or images) based on historical data. In other words, it learns from existing data and then generates new, realistic outputs that mirror the characteristics of the learned data. ChatGPT and MidJourney are prime examples of this technology.

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone for GenAI, and its growth trajectory shows no signs of slowing down in 2024 and beyond. 

So what is a SaaS product’s role when the GenAI adoption grows in this realm? The answer is inevitable: The increased use of GenAI not only enhances the capabilities of SaaS products but also opens up new avenues for innovation. 

Understanding its potential benefits, SaaS companies are increasingly incorporating this tech into their product suites. Their purpose is to increase productivity, meet hyper-personalized requirements, and enable easy scalability.

Einstein GPT: A Practical Example of GenAI in SaaS

A prime example of GenAI integration in SaaS is Salesforce’s Einstein GPT. As the world’s first GenAI for CRM, Einstein GPT revolutionizes the way businesses interact with their customers. 

For instance, Einstein GPT can generate personalized emails for salespeople to send to customers, create specific responses for customer service professionals to answer customer queries more quickly, generate targeted content for marketers to boost campaign response rates, and even auto-generate code for developers.

Increased Use of CRM SaaS Solutions

Increased use of CRM SaaS solutions

In their quest to reduce IT expenses and boost scalability, businesses are increasingly turning to SaaS solutions for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The ease and accessibility of configuring and customizing these CRM SaaS solutions are on the rise, enabling companies to tailor their CRM systems to meet their specific needs.

As businesses expand, there is a growing need for SaaS platforms that can effectively incorporate corporate policies, processes, and rules. These platforms not only enhance communication and increase corporate efficiency, but they also open up avenues for discovering new opportunities for revenue generation.

The Popularity of Mobile and App-Based SaaS Solutions

The popularity of mobile and app-based SaaS solutions

Mobile devices now can run complex software, hence increasing the need for SaaS solutions that work on any device with the Internet. The 2020 SaaSOps Report by BetterCloud also predicted that by 2025, 85% of business apps will be SaaS-based.

So what motivates the widespread use of mobile and app-based SaaS solutions? Here are three reasons:

Powerful Processors

Modern tablets and smartphones have powerful processors that allow for running various applications. These include complex software, games, high-resolution image and video processing, and AI and machine learning algorithms. 

Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 sped up the shift to remote work. This created a big need for SaaS in many sectors like eCommerce, supply chain management, etc.

Better CX, Scalability & Costs

Businesses are focusing on solutions that improve customer service (CX). For example, ERP providers in eCommerce retail help businesses create member management systems. Meanwhile, marketing SaaS providers help businesses do online marketing and reach customers remotely. 

Besides, SaaS technology is flexible, scalable, reliable, and agile. For this reason, it can help businesses save much on IT infrastructure costs. All these features contribute to the popularity of SaaS apps.

As smartphones become more important in our lives, businesses are investing more in mobile SaaS and app-based solutions. These allow users to access information anytime, anywhere. This makes these solutions a key trend in SaaS.

Top 7 Notable SaaS Products for Inspiration in 2024

Having understood the basics of SaaS products, you may wonder: What is a SaaS product that stands out in today’s SaaS market? To answer this question, let’s explore these trailblazing SaaS products and see how they are impacting end-users.

Lumin PDF

Lumin PDF

Lumin PDF, one standout SaaS product developed by Designveloper, is an online tool that allows users to edit PDF files (and various other formats). 

This online tool empowers users to seamlessly open files from diverse sources like Google Drive, Dropbox, and personal devices, and harness its robust features for editing. From modifying PDF content and adding images to merging or splitting pages, Lumin PDF offers a comprehensive suite of editing tools.

But what truly sets Lumin PDF apart is its collaborative feature. It fosters teamwork within companies and organizations by enabling members to save and edit documents in shared workspaces. This not only streamlines workflow but also enhances productivity.

As a testament to its success and user-centric approach, Lumin PDF has amassed a staggering user base of over 90 million worldwide as of January 2024. 

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-powered productivity platform that offers a suite of software applications on a subscription basis. As a SaaS suite product, it allows users to access and use the software over the Internet, usually with a web browser. 

Microsoft 365 offers a comprehensive suite of productivity apps that are always up-to-date and scalable. These include Word for document processing, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, Outlook for email, and Teams for collaboration. Users can install these apps on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five mobile devices. 

Additionally, Microsoft 365 provides 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, allowing users to access and collaborate on files from anywhere.

Oracle

Oracle

Oracle Corporation is a global provider of a suite of SaaS products. These products cover a wide range of business needs, typically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Human Capital Management (HCM). They’re built on top of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure, ensuring high performance, reliability, and security.

With the complete cloud SaaS set of offerings, Oracle delivers faster deployments, lower upfront costs for software implementation, simple customizations, and configurations, all on a unified data model. This allows businesses to have greater visibility across their entire operation.

Besides, Oracle’s SaaS suite automates cross-functional end-to-end business processes. This feature improves efficiency, drives quality, improves security and data integrity, and delivers a consistent user experience. That’s why Oracle is a powerful tool for businesses looking to streamline their operations and improve their efficiency.

Salesforce Customer 360

Salesforce Customer 360

We all know Salesforce is the leading CRM provider in the world. But “What is a SaaS product type that Salesforce provides?” Forget Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud separately. Now you have Salesforce Customer 360, an integrated CRM platform that connects all your departments with customer data and ensures consistent interactions across businesses.

The best description for this SaaS suite product can be encapsulated in one simple formula: AI + Data + CRM. 

Indeed, Salesforce Customer 360 features business software products that can be customized to run various aspects of your business, ranging from marketing and sales to data analytics. These products, accordingly, can be integrated seamlessly into the central platform, Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM. 

This feature, coupled with built-in AI, grants all employees access to shared customer data. For this reason, they can make better-informed decisions, faster respond to customer requirements, and predict new opportunities. 

Customer 360 allows you to add apps dedicated to essential business functions and suited to your specific needs. As such, you can integrate MuleSoft to collect data from different sources in one unified CRM platform, or Tableau for real-time data analytics. 

Xero

Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software system that helps SMBs streamline administrative and accounting processes. 

Xero stands out with its scalability, integration capabilities, and ease of deployment. The software, coupled with a range of features, makes it easy to pay bills, claim expenses, accept payments, track projects, manage contracts, store files, and more.

Furthermore, Xero can be integrated with financial analysis software like Fathom, CRM like HubSpot, and online payments with Stripe. This allows your business to take a comprehensive view of financial activities and operations in one unified platform. 

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a comprehensive SaaS suite of software apps that caters to the diverse needs of creative professionals. It allows you to download the apps from Creative Cloud, install them on your computer or mobile device, and then pay monthly or annually to use them as part of a subscription.

Adobe Creative Cloud offers an impressive array of tools tailored to different facets of the creative process. 

It includes renowned software applications like Photoshop for image editing, Illustrator for vector graphics, and Premiere Pro for video editing. 

In addition, it provides cloud storage, a customizable portfolio website via Adobe Portfolio, and access to Adobe’s extensive font library. In 2023, Adobe introduced new features to Adobe Creative Cloud, including generative AI capabilities in Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Express, and the Adobe Firefly web app.

Jira

Jira

Jira is a project management software developed by Atlassian for Agile teams. It started as a bug-tracking proprietary software in 2002, but over time it has evolved into a suite of Agile work management solutions to support collaboration across multiple teams and team members with different functions.

Jira offers a variety of functionalities that make it a standout SaaS product. These include interactive timelines, Agile boards for work management, customizable workflows, drag-and-drop automation, and more. 

Jira is highly rated due to its excellent scalability and integration. Users can customize the platform to accommodate teams of all sizes. Furthermore, it offers robust reports with rich APIs and a high level of safety and security, making it a reliable choice for businesses. 

Final Thoughts

In this guide, we’ve explored the question, “What is a SaaS product?” With the basics of SaaS products, current trends shaping the industry, and the best examples for inspiration, DSV expects that you’re well-equipped to pick up a suitable SaaS product for your unique business requirements.

In case you want to build your own SaaS product, Designveloper is here to help. With our expertise, we can turn your idea into a reality. So, don’t wait! Reach out to Designveloper today and let’s create something amazing together.

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