Software as a Service(SaaS), also known as web-based software, hosted software, and on-demand software, is abusiness modelwhere a company host its application on the cloud which is available to the consumers. The software or app is accessed via any internet enabled device such as smartphone or a laptop. The software and all the relevant data are stored on the cloud in differentdata centerswhich makes it accessible via the internet and from anyweb browser.
The difference betweenSaaSmodeland traditional software is thatSaaSisn’t downloadable and isn’t installed on computer or user device.SaaSis one of the leadingcloud computingapplications(other thanIaaSandPaaS).
SaaS companies are everywhere. Over 38% of companies say that they are running completely on SaaS and 73% plan to switch completely to SaaS by 2022. Businesses with less than 50 employees use 25-50 SaaS apps while companies having more than 250 employees use more than 100 SaaS tools on average.
Not all SaaS model businesses are successful despite an estimated global earning of over $72 billion in 2018. The global SaaS market revenue is expected to cross $113 billion by 2022. Is your SaaS company prepared for it?
What makes a SaaS company stand out from the crowd?
Here is a list of common SaaS examples that will inspire you to take a leap ahead and start pushing your company in the right direction.
Lumen5 is a leading video creator SaaS app that lets businesses create amazing videos with its drag-and-drop interface. It creates video automatically form text or any URL. The text is converted into a video that can be personalized by positioning text, adding images from the library, highlighting keywords, adding brand colors, tweaking font style, and changing video resolution. Lumen5 receives 220K+ monthly visitors which shows how popular it is.
The best thing about Lumen5 is its automated workflow AI that determines the scene length based on text and it also calculates the position of the text based on media file selected by the user. The important keywords are highlighted automatically. These amazing features make Lumen5 a great SaaS example.
FutureFuel is a perfect SaaS example that is sure to inspire you. It is a student debt management app for businesses and HR practitioners. It helps companies attract and retain top talent by addressing repaying the loans of students. The students, in return, work for their company as dedicated employees. FutureFuel provides businesses with access to the future workforce that will stick with them for years to come.
Squibler is a SaaS creativity app that helps writers tell stories. It has a great interface that makes writing hassle-free. It has many prompt writing categories that serve all types of writing such as books, novels, journals, screenwriting, or others.
Moreover, provides timed writing, goal writing, community, real-time feedback, and even a random prompt generator.
Dhaval and I founded this SaaS company and developed it in 6 months. As part of their strategy, they acquired a writing app with thousands of users. Squibler gets 4500 new users every month from organic traffic.
Buffer is a perfect SaaS example for pretty much any SaaS business out there. It is a simple yet effective tool that helps social media management and scheduling easier for businesses of all sizes. But what’s more important is that how Leo Widrich guest blogged for 10 months which helped Buffer acquire 100K users in less than a year.
Buffer is committed to transparency. It shares fundraising details, revenue and spending, and the business strategy openly with the public. Transparency is one of Buffer’s core values and it is committed to it to date.
Dropbox is a leading cloud storage SaaS company that makes it easier for businesses to store, share, and collaborate on files and data on the go. It offers you a smart workplace that lets your workforce work from anywhere. Dropbox is a perfect SaaS company for businesses that rely heavily on freelancers and remote workforce. The smart content suggestion is a great feature that recommends content based on your Dropbox activity. Paper by Dropbox is a document for teams where team members collaborate without any hurdle.
What makes Dropbox a great SaaS example is its ease-of-use. Storing and sharing files on the internet with real-time syncing is what makes it a loved SaaS company. Dropbox has more than 500 million registered users with a revenue of $1.4 billion.
6. Amazon Web Services
Nothing beats Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a SaaS example. With more than 150 services on offer, AWS provides businesses and individuals with all the tools they need such as database, IoT, business applications, machine learning, storage, robotics, security, customer engagement, blockchain, and more. All the apps are cloud-based which means you can use these tools from any internet-enabled device.
AWSis a subsidiary of Amazon with a revenue of$25.6 billionand has more than a million users.AWSis used by some of the leading companies such as NASA, US Navy, and Netflix. There is indeed a lot to learn fromAWSand it makes a perfect example ofSaaScompanies that are successful and cross billion-mark revenue which provide numerousSaaSsolutions.
HubSpotis a leadingSaaStool for businesses and evenenterprise softwarecompanies. It offers sales, marketing, CRM, CMS, and services software to businesses. The marketing software helps businesses attract visitors, convert them, close deals, and retain them. It offers an all-in-one marketing, sales, and CRM suite. HubSpot’s best feature is its cost-effectiveness the SaaS tools that it offers come with free trials.
What you’ll love about HubSpot is its content marketing strategy. If you own a SaaS company and are struggling to drive traffic to your SaaS website, you need to learn from HubSpot. It publishes several blog posts in a single day and covers pretty much every topic that’s either directly or indirectly related to its core apps.
8. Cloud-Based Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office doesn’t need any introduction. However, it’s cloud-based Office 365 is indeed something worth talking about. You can now create, edit, share, manage, and access your office files from any device. Office 365 cloud is a pure SaaS example that shows how Microsoft has fulfilled the needs of its users by offering them SaaS products. You can still install and use Microsoft office 365 on your personal computer but with the cloud platform, you get access to it on the go as you can access it from any Microsoft’s data center.
Don’t need the desktop versions for your operating system? No problem, you can only opt for cloud-based applications with its Business Essentials plan which works great for small businesses. It offers email, conferencing, teamwork apps, file storage and sharing features, and superior security that every business needs.
You can’t go without discussing Salesforce. It is one of the most popular software as a service provider that excels in cloud computing. It is a complete customer relationship management suite for businesses. Salesforce lets businesses collect, store, access, monitor, and analyze customer data from a single dashboard. It’s a complete cloud-based CRM tool that any business can run and manage without an IT expert. Salesforce comes with several tools that include marketing, sales, analytics, engagement, and more.
Salesforce is another SaaS vendor example having more than $10 billion in revenue. It crossed $13.28 billion in 2019 and is a public company with more than 150K active customers.
10. G Suite
Googlehas probably the best (and mostly free)SaaSandcloud servicestool for both personal as well as business use. TheG Suiteis theGoogleCloudSaaSapplicationsthat include several cloud-based apps. G Suite includesGmail, Calendar, Hangouts,GoogleDrive, Sheets, Docs, Forms, Slides, Sites, Vault, and several other apps. I’m sure you must have used most of these apps without realizing that all the apps inGoogleSuite are purely cloud-based with noon-premisesoftware.
Googleappsarecost-effectiveandstreamlinebusinesses as they support sharing, collaboration, andproject management. Interacting with fellows and sharing feedback and progress on a specific task with team members is extremely easy with G Suite. For instance,GoogleDrive lets you store, edit, and share files inreal-timefrom any computer or mobile.
UnlikeMicrosoftOffice 365,Google’s Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms can’t be downloaded on a personal computer and don’t have any desktop version. G Suite has more than5 million activepaying users as opposed to Office 365180 million monthlyactive users.
ZenDesk is another example of a SaaS company that is indeed inspiring. It is a SaaS company with annual revenue of more than $5 million. It is a customer support and ticketing software that supports several support channels including phone, email, like chat, social media, online tickets, and more. It is an all-in-one customer support software as a service provider that’s growing rapidly.
It works for all types of businesses across all industries. ZenDesk offers a lot of cutting-edge features to its customers such as Automatic Answers which is a smart tool powered by machine learning. It interprets customer queries and finds a suitable answer and responds to them. Customer support is incomplete without ZenDesk irrespective of your business size and industry.
Visme is an all-in-one content creation tool for businesses that lets them create content for social media, blog posts, PPT, or for any other purpose. The best thing about Visme is that it lets you create professional infographics. No need to hire a designer to create an infographic or featured image for your next blog post, this SaaS company lets you do it without any mess.
What makes Visme a great SaaS example is its huge library of templates, media, icons, photos, data widgets, and flowcharts. This helps businesses get started almost instantly. With more than 3.2 million users from over 100 countries, this infographic app is a great asset for businesses and marketers.
Slack is a cloud-based business communication tool that makes a great SaaS example. It claims to be an alternative to email and yes, it is. Businesses that use Slack are able to manage, organize, and communicate with teams from a single dashboard. You have to create channels for communication and organization. You can create a separate channel for each project, task, and assignment. Messages sent in a channel are visible to all the members of the channel which makes communication simple and effective. It supports private messages, video and voice calls, and supports document sharing (attachments).
Slack has more than 10 million daily active users and over 85K paid businesses. Its revenue was over $4 million in 2019.
Canva is an online design tool for businesses that helps you create content for social media. It’s a helpful SaaS tool that has a drag-and-drop interface. It has a lot of templates to help you get started immediately. Choose a template, edit it, save it, share it, and download a copy. You can create graphs, blog post images, PPT, book covers, social media posts, PPC ads, posters, flyers, invitation cards, and a whole lot of other media types. What makes Canva a perfect SaaS example is that it is free to use. As a free user, you will get limited access to its media, but it works smoothly. Canva reported revenue of $291 million in 2019 and has more than 15 million active monthly users.
Box is a cloud content management and file-sharing that is publicly traded SaaS company. It is a multi-purpose software for businesses that lets them collaborate, automate, share, and manage content and files over the cloud. It supports secure file sharing and files can be accessed from desktop, mobile, and web. Team members can collaborate and discuss everything in real-time on the document they are working on. Box Relay is a great SaaS feature that automates workflows. It lets you automate workflows throughout your business including marketing, sales, human resource, admin, finance, and others.
Box is used by more than 95K companies and 70% of Fortune 500 companies use it. This makes it an inspiring SaaS example for any business out there.
These software as a service examples are truly inspiring and are worth trying. It is hard to do business today without SaaS providers like
Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Services. At the end of the day, you have to use one or more SaaS for business growth and to get other benefits including quick implementation, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, ready-to-use, and reduced infrastructure cost.
If you are in the process of developing your own SaaS, the examples shared above will provide you with inspiration and ideas. Not all SaaS are created equal so make sure you follow the footprints of the companies that have done exceptionally well. Understand their business model and see how you can replicate the same.
Even if you are developing software, you will still need to use another SaaS. You can’t create software without using one. That’s how it works. It is highly likely that you will find a perfect SaaS for your business from the list above. If not, there is always a good fit out there. Keep looking.
Josh Fechter is a business strategy consultant and founder. He's written several world-recognized books on software configuration, speaks Spanish, ballroom dances, and owns The Product Company and Squibler.