The Rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) – with a Focus on the Indian Industry

As businesses were forced to incorporate remote working in their business models due to pandemic-induced lockdowns, they needed to invest in softwares that supported this move to online operation. SaaS (software as a service) companies have been able to provide businesses with the tools to assist in this transition. While the pandemic has disrupted multiple industries, SaaS has advanced as organisations espoused digital solutions to make the move from in-person to online. Some of the biggest SaaS companies that have benefited from the pandemic include Zoom, Box, Slack, Okta, and Salesforce. These software and cloud service providers have provided businesses with tools to not only continue their business operations, but also with security to conduct work in a confidential manner.

In India alone, it is predicted that its SaaS industry could be worth $1 trillion in value by 2030 and create nearly half a million new jobs. In addition, this momentum could lead the Indian SaaS industry to win 4-6% of the global SaaS market by 2030. There are already close to 1,000 SaaS companies in India – with 10 already becoming unicorns (a company valued at over $1 billion). In fact, Indian SaaS startups have raised $4.3 billion since 2020. Although India is currently only a small contender in the global market, there is scope for the country to dominate due to the predominance of English speaking developers and the relatively low cost of hiring them. It is estimated that India could have more than 100,000 SaaS developers and more technical talent at a third of the cost available in the US, making India a hotspot for international corporations to invest in. 

The integration of SaaS within business models also appears to stand long term – past its mere necessity due to the pandemic. This is because the success of remote working has pushed companies to decide to permanently implement working-from-home. For example, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) in India was a company that was sceptical about working remotely and rarely administered the practice due to concerns about productivity. However, its endorsement throughout the pandemic demonstrated a highly positive impact on the corporation. Such benefits included efficiency, a greater diversity in the workforce, an increase in the number of women in leadership roles, and increased productivity due to enhanced labour flexibility. TCS believes this is because remote work offers better work-life balance. The happier employees met all company objectives and even “added nearly 60 new clients and hired 45,000 people.” 

Evidently, the pandemic has created a long-lasting effect on businesses in terms of running their operations technologically. The post pandemic landscape shows evidence that SaaS could potentially even take over the IT industry in terms of valuation by 2030, such that SaaS will cross $1.8 trillion compared to IT services at $1.6 trillion. India’s mark on the SaaS industry has been quick and large. However, while there are challenges, such as the industry needing to boost funding at three to four percent of the current level to reach their potential over the next 10 years, it will be interesting to see how SaaS firms in India use their native competitive advantages to further launch themselves into the global market.

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