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Disruption and Transformation in the Pandemic – The rise of SaaS and Future Trends (Part 2)

Part two of a four part series discussing disruption and transformation during the pandemic. Part two looks at the technologies that have helped business and society over the past year, and the trends that look set to thrive beyond 2021.

Looking back at the last twelve months, it’s incredible how much things have changed when it comes to the everyday technology we use in our lives – both in a business and personal context. Never have we relied so much on connectivity – our internet and phone connections, and the devices we use to work on and communicate with.

Take video conferencing for example – the lifeline for many during the pandemic. Zoom reported a staggering year on year use increase of over 300% by the summer of 2020. Similarly, with the shift to home-working, project management and team communication solutions like MS Teams are now an integrated part of life for many businesses.

The Rise of SaaS

While many were already converted to the benefits of subscription-based software solutions, SaaS is a sector that has experienced a surge in use over the course of the past year. Its potential is limitless, as the range of SaaS products covers all sectors, from project management and video conferencing, to design and editing, to marketing, human resources and accounting.

The convenience of this type of cloud-based software lends itself perfectly to remote work, as it is generally accessible from anywhere and on a range of devices. It’s also spurred on the rise of other ‘as a service’ solution models, like Infrastructure (IaaS) that offers storage, networking, and virtualisation, and Platforms (PaaS) that offer hardware and software tools.

SaaS solutions like Microsoft Teams – or rival platforms like Slack, Webex, or Asana – to name but a few – provide a central, virtual ‘hub’ for distributed teams, aiding productivity and collaboration through capabilities like video chat, instant messaging, document sharing, and organisational tools.

In addition, the ‘as a service’ trinity has also played an important role for startups and small businesses, making the tools needed for innovation and growth accessible and, in the majority of cases, affordable. There’s no longer such a need for outsourcing, with flexible, scalable alternatives on offer.

Many solutions also incorporate automated functions within them, which can make important savings in time and cost for businesses having to do ‘more with less’ in the current business climate.

Future Trends

It’s clear that ‘as a service’, cloud-based models are here to stay, and that these will logically evolve further in response to changes in the business landscape over 2021 and beyond. The future of work is a remote or hybrid one, and as a result we will rely on cloud capabilities more than ever.

The use of automated functions within software solutions, and the incorporation of this with intelligent technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is also something that’s set to take off further. The concept seems daunting to many businesses, but the reality is almost all of us use some form of AI in our lives already – voice assistants, or automations within our customer service solutions or marketing campaigns, for example.

And of course, despite the reports of ‘Zoom fatigue’ and the negative effects of overuse of video conferencing platforms, this technology will still have its place in the remote future – in both a business and social context – and to facilitate virtual networking and events. Of course, these platforms have also been playing an integral role in recruitment during the pandemic.

The solutions being built today are laying the standard for the future of work and for the digital engagement of tomorrow and, although their use may vary from industry to industry, the progress of digital innovation and transformation will continue to accelerate. Businesses need to develop a digital transformation strategy with innovation at its core to deliver a competitive advantage.

Join me in part three where we look at how digital disruption is being leveraged in different sectors of industry. 

If you’d like to talk about ideas for your current or upcoming transformational project then please do get in touch – even if it’s just for an informal chat to get a feel for your options.