Software as a Service also known as on-demand software is a delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally and are accessed by users using a web browser. After more than a decade of use and vast improvements in the cloud computing technologies and many players like Amazon, Google, Saleforce.com, etc, major software vendors, developers and independent software vendors too invested significant resources both in terms of monetary, human and infrastructure to further develop the cloud computing. Initially IBM kick started the trend towards cloud computing with its On Demand computing initiative in 2003 and later in 2005 Amazon took the market forward with its cloud offerings like the Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2). Even Indian IT Services Vendors and other small & medium players too are focused on cloud computing and particularly in Software as a Service offerings (SaaS). SaaS growth is an alternative to the on premises software and also Cloud-based licensing is different from traditional on-premises licensing and the market growth is only possible by cannibalizing the traditional software market. SaaS was expected to capture significant market share as its adoption benefits range from significant reduction in costs as buyers need not invest on the IT infrastructure on their premises, pay as you use model, easy to scale and upgrade, tighter IT budgets due to economic volatility in recent years and mobility i.e. access from anywhere and with any device.
According to Gartner, worldwide software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue is expected to reach US$ 22.1 billion by 2015 as many companies are investing in cloud technology and is expected to grow healthily by 17.9% to reach USD 14.5 billion in 2012 from USD 12.3 billion in 2011. North America revenue is forecast to be US$ 9.1 bn in 2012 compared to US$ 7.8 bn in 2011, Western Europe revenue 2012 forecast US$ 3,2 bn compared to US$ 2.7 bn (2011), Eastern Europe (2012) US$ 169.4 million compared to US$ 135.5 million (2011), Asia Pacific (2012) US$ 934.1 mn compared to US$ 730.9 mn (2011), Japan (2012) US$ 495.2 mn compared to US$ 427 mn (2011) and Latin America (2012) US$ 419.7mn compared to US$ 331.1 mn (2011). According to IDC, SaaS market revenue which includes cloud applications, application development and deployment, and system infrastructure software sales will rise to $53.6 billion by 2015 at a CAGR of about 26%. IDC also asserts that SaaS will grow faster than traditional software and will comprise 80% of the software delivered by new ISVs. By 2015, nearly $1 of every $6 spent on packaged software, and $1 of every $5 spent on applications, will be consumed via the SaaS model. According to Forrester, the public cloud market for SaaS is the biggest and fastest-growing of all of the cloud markets ($33 billion in 2012, growing to $78 billion by the end of 2015). According to market research firm Global Industry Analysts, the global SaaS market will reach $26.5 billion by 2015, as more companies will seek low-cost enterprise software solutions to accommodate limited IT budget growth, which could slow due to the global economic recession.
SaaS market growth is different in different geographies and compared to mature North America market that contributes 2/3rd of the total SaaS market revenues is expected to grow by 16.7% and Western Europe the second best market expected to grow by 18.5% YoY, which is less when compared to 28% YoY growth for Asia Pacific excluding Japan, 27% growth for Latin America, 25% growth for Eastern Europe and Japan too is expected too see low YoY growth of 16% like in the other mature markets. Data highlights that SaaS market growth lies in the emerging markets as the countries in those markets are improving their IT infrastructure and looking to adopt SaaS technologies aggressively. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMBs) are driving the growth when compared to large enterprises that find it difficult to migrate to cloud computing from their existing on premise software and hardware systems as they have made significant investments in building these systems for years and due to other concerns like data security integrity, privacy, skilled man power, pricing and contracting issues, regulations, etc. SaaS has become a common delivery model for most business applications, including accounting like expense management, financials, collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), content management (CM) and service desk management.
Asia Pacific is high growth market for SaaS and this is driven by increased adoption in
India, driven by
adoption of financial applications like accounting. ERP functions like Expense
management and Employee Performance management, along with office suites, email
and CRM sales are the other applications that are being deployed by companies
in this region. Mature economic countries in this region like China Australia, New
Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South
Korea and Taiwan are driving SaaS adoption as they
have good IT infrastructure that encourages increased adoption. Emerging
countries in this region like Malaysia,
Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines,
where IT infrastructure is developing fast are also expected to increase SaaS
was affected by the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami but SaaS market is gaining
traction as Japanese companies are looking at SaaS as a defense
against future power outages and disasters but there are concerns in terms of security, costs, and integration. Despite
economic problems and tighter IT budgets the demand for SaaS
solutions is increasing due to their lower implementation costs and faster
deployment times. SMBs too are
driving growth and according to AMI Partners, SMB
focused market research firm, forecast that the SaaS market in Asia/Pacific
(excluding Japan Japan)
will reach $1.5 billion by the end of 2012 and expects the market to more than
double by 2015.
Expense management, financials, email and office suites are the business apps deployed through SaaS and Web conferencing is also highly used as most of the American companies have global operations situated across the world but the market is also facing problems in terms of limited flexibility of customization and limited integration to existing systems according to Gartner. Gartner analysts said in
Western Europe, the most
developed sub region, SaaS Market is rapidly increasing as North America-based
SaaS vendors further penetrate the region and the number of local European SaaS
vendors increases. In Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa, which are
small and emerging markets overall, the potential opportunity for SaaS is more
in the medium to long term due to ongoing infrastructure challenges that
vendors need to overcome if they are to be successful in these regions. In Latin America, SaaS has been deployed in the areas of
email, financial management (accounting), sales force automation and customer
service, and expense management. While regional adoption will be positive, it
is fully expected that Brazil
will drive a majority of adoption and revenue opportunities.