Every few months, I need to talk about the best SaaS websites that are trending online at the time. Unlike many best lists, SaaS is far more alive and dynamic, so rather than a six month or yearly list, this has to be approached frequently. SaaS is a burgeoning new platform and model for service and software distribution and deployment, so it’s kind of like the weather in Newfoundland – if you don’t like the current climate, wait a few picoseconds.
So, that said, we’re going to look at a few of the best SaaS websites that are trending right now, and we’ll try to keep each one unique to a specific purpose. This isn’t entirely possible though, because in SaaS, especially business-oriented SaaS, there is often some overlap in functionality, because the concept is so modular. As is usual with my lists, there’s no real implication to the order in which these are listed beyond that they had to be listed in some order.
#1 – OpSource
OpSource is an enterprise-level cloud computing and data processing system that has the likes of iCloud, SkyDrive and Google on a run for their money. This service came out of nowhere, and man, do they mean business.
Unlike existing competing services, OpSource prides themselves in a level of scalability that I honestly didn’t think could be done while being profitable and cost effective for both parties involved. How they manage to make this workable without hemorrhaging money in the process escapes me, but good on them for proving it can somehow be done.
Unlike most cloud computing services, the scalability of needs for access, user level and computing resources can be adjusted to units in the order of five, rather than hundreds or thousands. Don’t ask me how they make this work, but they do and at a price that, while variant, seems pretty darn fair. I would recommend OpSource for cloud computing ad data storage needs, but I would recommend a redundant service for team coordination, such as Google Docs or something, because OpSource’s coordinated cooperative systems are kind of medieval for now. Still, they’re pretty impressive otherwise.
#2 – Zuora
Zuora is a payment gateway and recurring billing system that has quickly bypassed our previous favorite, CheddarGetter. Zuora incorporates the scalability and flexibility that Cheddar did, but manages even greater unity of payment methods. Beyond the simple bank transfers, PayPal and debit systems, Zuora also brings in Google Checkout, Payola and Western Union systems as well. They are in fact the first payment gateway service I’ve seen that actually makes Western Union not an abysmal experience to work with from either side of the transaction, and that is something to be proud of on their part, and something for the rest of we mere mortals to be in awe of.
My main reason for taking to this service over my previous favorites in payment gateways, though, is because they’re really pushing Google Checkout, which honestly needs to be pushed. PayPal is getting a bit complacent and draconian in how they treat customers and handle business, and I’d love to see them face real, viable competition from the likes of Google. For the moment, this isn’t the case because most of the world supports PayPal, but Google Checkout they do not. Perhaps Zuora, if adopted widely, can help encourage some competition for PayPal. They need to be shaken up!
#3 - ZenDesk
I can’t remember if any of my 2012 lists mentioned ZenDesk, but I bet I at least mentioned it in passing. Now, ZenDesk is becoming one of the best SaaS websites for help systems out there.
In my customer service and CRM writing, I often have nothing positive to say about help desk and support ticket systems as they currently are, just as I have little positive things to say about call centers. However, ZenDesk seems to have heard public outcry regarding help systems, because they’ve kind of reinvented the way the systems work, for the better.
They’re working diligently to make help desk systems real time by incorporating social network functionality, chat systems and even Skype-based call center concepts to make the help system less of a passive wait-and-respond system.
I’m a bit baffled as to how the logistics of this work, but it seems to be quite functional. I eagerly await seeing this in action, but for the moment take this list entry as me being a bit impressed by what I see on paper only.
So, these are the three most interesting, best SaaS websites I see trending right now, and it’s obvious why they spark my interest. Hopefully after reading this, they’ve sparked yours as well.