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Changing Face and Importance of SAAS Solutions in Face of COVID-19

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Changing Face and Importance of SAAS Solutions in Face of COVID-19

SaaS has saved several organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This article speaks of SaaS and its abilities.

· Cloud Zone ·
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The COVID19 pandemic has affected nearly everything. Every activity in our daily life that involves interactions, directly or by indirect means is no more considered “normal”. Needless to say this but the pandemic has affected the workplaces as well.

COVID19 is most likely to cost the economy $1 Trillion this year. The loss is too huge to have recovered sooner. Businesses with immense human interaction, especially the traveling industry, have suffered a major blow for quite some time even in the future.

Digitally run businesses, however, are trying to minimize personal losses by managing a lot of tasks remotely. Now that nearly a third of the global population is under lockdown, organizations are making their best to avail of an office-like environment right from their home. 

Cloud services have proved their worth at this time. The fact that they offer a complete system-independent configuration makes them a reliable option in the present scenario. Organizations and employees can stay on the same page throughout the process. In-person meetings are being replaced by video calls. Local networks are getting replaced by VPN services and more.

The demand for these SaaS solutions has seen rapid growth in recent times. And it is not a coincidence. Zoom, a Web conferencing software, witnessed a 658% rise in traffic during March 2020. 

Amazingly, in Australia, which has been locked down for the next 6 straight months, Zoom’s popularity has grown by more than 940%!!!

Why Does SaaS Get All the Attention?

Cloud services prominently come in three ways:

  • Infrastructure as a Service 

  • Platform as a Service

  • Software as a Service

To be very frank, this order is sorted in way. The topmost option is the most demanding of the three in every form and might require your IT team to do some exercise. PaaS is more relaxing compared to IaaS with the middleware while they still demand you to manage the hosting and data. In most organizations, they are used together.

SaaS is the most scalable option of the three. The software is complete in every sense and can start working in a tweak. SaaS applications are already hosted by an organization saving your IT team to visit all your employees and fix configuration issues. Users can leverage the best of a fully functional software with subscription charges levied by the hosting service provider.

Assessing the worth of SaaS products in the current situation, Covid 19 lockdown is implemented in a very short notice, for an undefined time period. In a phase where the perimeter of office work is mostly restricted to office premises only, acquainting the employees for “Work from Home” seems an alienating concept. 

Developing an entirely new surrounding and the much-needed networking is far from the possibility as it usually takes up to months. Well, that's not the end, as the software is pushed for rigorous testing before being put to actual use. In the context that there is no in-person interaction with the support teams, your working in the new surroundings is like skating on a thin ice with the security of all your data at stake.

And that lands us with the best available option: a SaaS solution.

CEO of Microsoft, (the global leader for SaaS products like Office 365 and barely needs any introduction), Satya Nadella says, “We have witnessed 2 years worth of Digital transformation in mere 2 months”. The statement is backed by the following numbers:

The digital transformation can be seen as having a permanent mark on organizations, the way they work, they collaborate and take action. Apart from existing desk jobs, more and more physical stores are likely to include an online channel to their current business model. This comes as a precaution against future situations with similar lockdowns and the dependency on their physical assets. This comes as a hint for a more flexible business operation mode.

That being said, the situation offers a great opportunity for resellers and affiliates to grow their revenues. Apart from reaching out to the big organizations, they can reach out to thousands of similar physically working SMBs who are eagerly waiting for a cheaper and more manageable software solution.

Through this blog, we will delve deeper into SaaS solutions especially in the face of Covid 19. We will discuss the brighter side that makes SaaS solutions scalable and capable of meeting every need. 

Web Conference Solutions

We have previously discussed the growing popularity of the Zoom app across the globe. Leaving the home is as hazardous as it can be. Let’s not talk about meeting outsiders. Web Conference solutions have suddenly risen to popularity at every level. Teachers are using them for online classes, board meetings are being held remotely, individuals are using it for hangouts and more.

Taking a step ahead for a more serious note, hospitals and medical labs are overloaded with patients carrying Coronavirus, or at least the symptoms. The doctors themselves are recommending not to hit the medicals unless it's really that urgent.

Third-party SaaS providers are offering Web conference solutions for Medical consultancy and patients really can’t thank them enough for the services. The apps readily connect you with a specialized doctor pertaining to our disease and letting you consult them over a web conference.

Web conference solutions have a massive effect on education as well. Teachers and students are relying on e-learning apps. A report confirms that nearly 81% of the students in Wuhan switched to the e-learning app provided by Tencent once the region was called off for Covid 19 outbreak. Similar stats are now followed from nearly every part of the globe with students varying from pre-nursery to senior-secondary and post-graduation levels.

White-Label SaaS Products

Developing a complete software from scratch comes with a good number of considerations. The owners need to take care of a fulfilling environment, software infrastructure, hosted applications, developer tools, security, and storage. For SMBs, the problems are far more complex. Not just that the in-house developers have decisive software under observation, they need to acquire new skills to handle the issues. Hosting a pre-designed software too comes with a huge price.

Third-party SaaS providers like Teamwave, however, have White-labeled partnership programs that attends this problem. The SMBs can purchase a fully customizable solution hosted by the provider(here, Teamwave). They can adjust the non-branded solution like their native solution. 

End-users really have no idea regarding the ownership details of the software. For them, the SMBs are the real owners and it will help them feel like navigating in native surroundings. In reality, however, the software has the logo of the SMB while it is still being hosted by the white label program provider.

The original producer(SaaS white label provider), the reseller(white label partner), and the users are three different entities involved in the channel. The white label providers have a solution pertaining to the business and hold the hosting, the reseller adds his brand name to the solution and sells it to the end-users like native software. The users can customize the solution for their native surroundings.

Getting to a real-life comparison, the Kirkland signature batteries sold by Costco sells is a white-labeled product. However, very few people know that batteries are originally produced by Duracell and Costco only sells the white-labeled batteries under its brand name.  

Resellers, brand yourself. This is the best time to create a fan base of your own.

SaaS Integrations

Market needs are gradually changing, so is the length of the features list. Vendors expect an all-in-one tool that can save them more costs and time at managing multiple tools. They expect lesser hassles and more output at the same time allowing them to scale their business in the long run without the need for tracking the developers. White-labeled SaaS solutions hit the bull’s eye.

Semrush makes the best example in the process. Semrush offers API integration for numerous solutions across all the business niches and organizational teams focused to enhance the functionality of the existing tools. The marketplace offers tools as simple as the ones for managing calendars to tools that keep a track of all your social media platforms. They are broadly classified under:

  •  Integration with Google Products: Connect Semrush with Google products like Analytics and Sheets to track your audience or integrate it with your Gmail to run more effective email campaigns

  • Social network Integrations: Connect your business Social media pages with Semrush, track pages’ progress against your competitors. Goes easy with giants like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram.

  • Other Integrations: Semrush can connect with tools like Trello, Grammarly and Majestic to help the users in the best way possible.

SaaS integrations help the owners make the best out of their infrastructure. The SaaS providers and the vendors can share a common platform at controlling the operations, or multi-tenancy. That is, SaaS owners and the vendors are almost working like an in-house team with transparency and shared resources.

Managing Pricing Policy

An effective cash flow forms the backbone of a B2B model. The pricing model has to tick all the right boxes to make the business a hit.

  • The market rates of the services

  • Profit for B2B clients

  • Profit for the owners

Overcharge, and you fail to hit the market

Undercharge, and you lose your network.

The more flexibility SaaS businesses provide at pricing, the more chances they create at expanding their customer base. With the ability to bring changes in the Pricing policy, SaaS solutions have taken the market to storms. 

SaaS business owners can encourage their vendors with more profit margins that are unconventional and exciting at the same time. They can channelize any popular pricing model that suits their business while rendering a unique experience to the customers. Yes, there are plenty of options to excite your vendors. The most popular among them:

  • Freemium(comes with a limited number of features, though not all. Grammarly is an example here.)
  • Flat-rated pricing(comes with a one -time payment. Take Basecamp as an example.)
  • Usage-based pricing(charges made every time we use the service. Stripe’s payment gateway is an example here.)

And depending on your business model, it can be complicated at times.

As a result, the SaaS solutions offer multiple pricing policies at once- one goes for an annual payment, the other one involves usage-based payment. 

M2M Connectivity

“Remote is the new normal.” The pandemic breakdown has evidently affected the in-person interactions with our immediate surroundings. We are conscious of hygiene like never before. Not just that we are avoiding handshakes, we are barring physical contact with publicly accessible objects like- elevators, doors, and more.

Introducing Machine to machine connectivity in SaaS applications can prove to be an effective measure. Businesses can offer cross-device accessibility in their business and gain immediate attention. Now that your solution is promising the much-needed hygiene, expect your product to instantly hit the market. The M2M targeted SaaS solutions are pre-designed to serve nearly all the Operating systems associated with the environment-desktop, mobile phones and tablets.

In one of our in-house projects, we had designed a similar cloud-based solution for managing Refrigerated banks remotely. The sole purpose of designing the solution was to control a public refrigerator without the need for touching the lockers. The purpose was to minimize physical interaction with the publicly accessible device while still being able to control it in the most effective manner. The working model is described as follows:

  • The SaaS solution works for multiple admin roles- the service provider and the community staff who can manage the locker with their desktop 

  • The user can operate his locker with a Mobile app

  • The locker and the mobile app are connected via wireless connections and intermediary Raspberry implementation

  • The app, and the admins have the authority to unlock the lockers whenever needed. 

  • The Raspberry implementation responds to the SaaS application to channelize the features.

Similar solutions can be integrated to POS devices as well. Features like QR payments at physical stores, further help align the online business model with the brick and mortar outlets. 

Machine to machine connectivity in SaaS solutions has also offered the desired space for Artificial Intelligence. SaaS owners now have options to leverage Machine Learning and enhance the capabilities of their business. 

Real-Life Applications:

  • In-store customer tracking: The retailers are stepping forward to track their customer’s movement to understand their needs better allowing them to market better
  • In-store purchase app: Businesses are now allowing the customers to shop from physical stores using mobile apps. The native app of the customer and the complete SaaS solution managed by the retailer are that well connected.
  • IoT based transportation: The SaaS solution allows the remote customer to assign and unlock the vehicle of their choice. The software can handle that much in this era.

By now, it's clear that SaaS can be scaled further in the coming times. The more complex your business model is, the more you can explore it. Take a chance. Give it a try. Upgrade your systems!!

Summing It Up

COVID19 outbreak is a strong alarm against all the businesses that have failed to upgrade, businesses that relied heavily on their on-premise systems and facilities. The need of the hour is to quickly move as much of your business to a readily available SaaS solution and run your business even in a restricting Lockdown state.

Topics:
cloud, covid-19, integration, saas adoption

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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