How the SaaS market will be transformed by AI and ML
Software as a service (SaaS) is becoming an increasingly viable choice for organisations in search of accessibility, functionality and flexibility. SaaS relies on cloud delivery at scale, available connectivity and enterprise-grade security. Put simply, the SaaS-based cloud model offers businesses significant resource and cost savings.
SaaS has evolved to the point where users and suppliers manage their own software, with no human intervention required because software is distributed instantaneously over the internet via the cloud and this is only going to become more common. Gartner predicts that the global SaaS industry will be worth over AU$200 billion by the end of 2022. In Asia–Pacific, the market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.28% during the forecast period 2018–2023.
As part of the continuous evolution of SaaS solutions, both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are quickly becoming integral parts of the SaaS ecosystem. With breakthroughs in automated computing and powerful data-drive machines, both play essential roles in SaaS.
AI will take on a life of its own
AI is positioned to disrupt the data protection landscape in a variety of ways, helping to improve the key characteristics of the SaaS model across the board such as high availability and autonomous provisioning. When SaaS is combined with AI capabilities, it enables businesses to extract better value from their data, automate and personalise services, improve security and organise human resources.
The advent of SaaS coincides with the almost ubiquitous concept of big data which allows organisations to analyse, withdraw and utilise data that is too complex for traditional data-processing application software. By leveraging AI, SaaS has a distinct advantage ie, the software provider can access aggregated data from different customers, which can be leveraged to develop more personalised customer experiences. With modern IT operations being challenged by rapidly increasing amounts of data and diversity of tools to monitor that data, many businesses across APAC are turning to AI solutions to help prevent, identify and resolve any potential outages or disruptions more quickly and seamlessly.
ML will empower best-in-class customer experiences
ML, a subset of AI, allows companies using SaaS to greatly improve personalisation. This is important because consumers are demanding individual experiences that are tailored to their specific needs. ML can help by providing analysis of a user’s previous actions, giving businesses actionable insights into their preferences and interests — even before a purchase is made. This allows organisations to configure user interfaces providing that all-important customised experience.
In addition to helping businesses deliver more individualised campaigns, AI and ML provide innovative new features such as voice control to track user behaviour more accurately. This is great news for revenue retention and customer turnover reduction, as customers tend to show higher interest in a brand when they've had a positive customer service experience.
ML will continue to automate responsiveness in customer service reports and applications, such as AI-powered live chatbots. As ML is built on an autonomous operational model, new upgrades will facilitate software and platforms that empower businesses to sift through copious amounts of internal operations so that they can focus on providing customers with flawless experiences.
Enhanced mobile-first design and functionality
Mobile devices and screens require a unique set of features and functionality, and by placing their focus on mobile-first design and development, businesses employing SaaS infrastructure are likely to enjoy significant return on investment over the next year, and into the future.
With the mobile-first design approach gaining traction, it can be inferred that the future of mobile SaaS is app-driven. Research shows there are 2.59 billion smartphones users across the Asia–Pacific region, accounting for approximately two-thirds (64%) of the total web traffic in the region. That means mobile apps are intertwined in the daily life of the average user, and businesses failing to offer the same experience may end up losing a sizable portion of their loyal customers — especially amongst those digital-native younger generations.
Keeping up with the latest trends requires out-of-the-box thinking and adapting to the present times. That’s why prioritising mobile apps and mobile-first design is a necessity. It is already too late to dispute whether your business should go the mobile-friendly route because smartphone users are increasing minute by minute — and this is only set to increase at an exponential rate.
The future of SaaS
AI and ML have already disrupted and will continue to play a vital role in the expansion of SaaS offerings. Their long-term applications have endless opportunities, which has opened a bright future for the industry.
AI represents the onset of a new era for businesses and consumers — one that empowers companies to be more efficient in high-volume manual processes and attentive to customers. In a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving and adapting at rapid pace, companies looking to employ a SaaS model must spare a seat for AI and ML in their tech stack.
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