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SaaS Ecosystem - An Overview

By Shashank Sathe, Head - IT, Edelweiss Financial Services

Cloud is growing at blitzkrieg speed and is eating into everything. Repetitive pandemic outbreaks are causing unprecedented disruptions in various business. Maximum adoption of a ‘cloud & mobile first’ approach, is no longer a matter of choice, but a proven means of smart decisioning & survival.

Software-as-a-service(SaaS), PaaS(Platform-asa-Service),DBaaS(Database as a Service), MWaaS (Middleware as a Service), IaaS(Infrastructure as a Service), IaaC/IoD(Infrastructure as a Code/ Infrastructure on Demand), LCDP(Low-Code Development Platforms)have become more workable choices for organizations, that are on a lookout for optimizing their technology spends.

These frameworks in general & SaaS in particular, is now dominating the Cloud Computing ecosystem like never before. Recent data-points indicate that Cloud Computing & SaaS will be a $150 billion+ market by Q1 of 2022 and it will be the primary innovation driving factor across all industries year-on-year.

SaaS by its very nature encourages agility & extreme innovations, while providing great visibility in realtime cost effectiveness. SaaS has always been the framework of choice for all startups, as it is an extremely accommodating framework that allows adopters to deliver fast, fail sooner, course-correct quicker and re-release a better working product faster.

With SaaS, LCDP & IoD, the entire landscape of application development has gone through a quantum shift.‘Citizen developer’ was once a fancy term. Today, it has become a reality, wherein application engineering is handled jointly by the business + product + technology teams collectively. The pandemic during 2020& 2021 throttled the innovations transformation and massive scale adoption of SaaS framework.

Below are some of the strong points of SaaS framework.
Pay As You Go Models:Organizations pay only for the services that they consume. Changes to billings happen via user managed DIY dashboards & these changes come in immediate effect with per-second billing for the services consumed. No other platform offers this level of flexibility & freedom to pick, choose & discard!

Infinite Scale-Up, Scale-Out & Scale-Down Models:Organizations can, basis their business needs, either scale-up or scale-out their solutions/ services based on the consumption trends & patterns. This in turn also promotes business users to do better homework for their future solutioning scenarios, & this nurtures better forward thinking/ planning. One can scale-down as & when required, thereby reducing/recalibrating the commercial engagements immediately.

Software Releases, Updates, Patches, Security Build Rollouts: All SaaS ecosystem providers are fanatical about running on the latest, greatest & most stable secure operating environments for obvious reasons. This ensures that the organizations are always certain of running their services & products on a thoroughly tested stable and secure builds.

Operating System Agnostic & Working on All Screens-Known-To-Mankind Solutions: All SaaS framework providers ensure that their product suite/ control panels/performance dashboards are seamlessly available/accessible via any device, regardless of what operating system & screen size it has, thereby making it a truly uniform & hassle-free experience for their customers. The user is always in full control of everything going on, on the SaaS environment.

Unprecedented Active Collaboration: SaaS platforms are built for ultra-large users concurrently working-on/consuming its services. It encourages, promotes & heavily supports collaborative work approach for everything which has become the most wanted feature in current times. Multiple developers working together on same module, code mergers, check-in/check-out, configuration management, release management, file sharing, virtual meeting, whiteboard sharing, brainstorming, collaborative working on same files, remote support, remote presentations, and more, are some of the much sought after features, which are indispensable today

Fanatical Security: Most SaaS models are proven for their MIL-spec & best-in-class enterprise security processes & practices. Disaster recovery protocols, business continuity remote offices, multi-level redundancy for all networks, active & passive infrastructure components, and others is a given, which means your business is always in safe hands.

Always on the Bleeding Edge: The greatest innovations always happen first on SaaS & are available for early adoption or a Sandboxing based PoC on SaaS at a flick of a button. No other platform offers this level of flexibility while allowing complete free-dom to explore & innovate, with near zero risk for the BaU operations. Here are some of the upcoming SaaS Trends for 2022 & beyond:

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Use-Cases
•Autonomous, self-learning applications for natural language processing, intelligent chatbots & human less customer servicing models.
•Probabilistic & advanced forecasting of market trends & business impacting incidents
•Heuristics driven & hyper intelligent multi-modal security solutions that alert & automatically take remedial action way before a threat is encountered.
•Data driven decisioning for financial markets & lending businesses for early forecasting & flag-off of NPA's & high-risk transactions.

Deep Analytics
•Leveraging historical & social data to gain deeper insights on customers.
•The rise & mainstream use of Data Lakes & DataMart for data repositories being treated as the single version of truth.
•Widespread use of performance dashboards & crowd sourced analytics, to discover hidden customer insights especially during credit underwriting or financial assessment.

Vertical SaaS
•While Horizontal SaaS is all about focus on any sector & industry, vertical SaaS is fully customizable client specific, industry specific supply-chain ecosystem.
•Organizations trying to leverage their offerings for specific industry vertical will get to interact with & team-up with other organizations in over lapping domains(healthcare analytics software, retail customer base analytics software, logistics analytics software, and others)

Open API & Microservices On-demand
•Seamless integration with diversified service provides via SaaS gateway (for ex. eKYC offered by AWS to retail customers and more)
•Frontend, Middleware & Data layers can all be offloaded as a service via API gateway to all aspirants

MarTech Becomes Mainstream
•Large number of marketing tools that can help brands improve their marketing promos/campaigns while getting deeper insights, trends, data visibility
•Better pricing, fairer branding, omnichannel experience, more thrust on mobility solutions & marketing specific business intelligence will be mainstream

Adoption of PaaS, DBaaS & LCDP
•Will allow startups to scale successfully at speeds.
•Overall cost of ownership of software engineering will get recalibrated, thereby allowing rationale on cost of ownership, cost of development, repetitive costs,and more
•Low-Code Development Platforms will encourage lesser time being spent in actual coding, and retrofit solution will be more easily built via business workflow defined interfaces with minimal level of coding necessary.

As we all realign ourselves to the new normal, these emerging technologies are the only way to keep organizations agile & operational, because these technologies are the only logical way to have the right balance of TCO & ROI, while everything around us has become increasingly volatile & uncertain.

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