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Insight Alert #1: 2020 SaaS Usage Stats You Need to Know

Natalie Robb

October 8, 2020

4 minute read

StateOfSaaSOps StatsYouNeedToKnow

It’s no secret that SaaS usage is booming. But what you probably don’t know is exactly how fast IT teams and enterprises are adopting more and more SaaS applications. This was one of our biggest questions for our recent study. Now that we’ve released our latest report, the 2020 State of SaaSOps: The Impact and Implications of the SaaS Revolution, we have some answers on 2020 SaaS usage.

In this first installment of our new series, Insight Alert, we discuss how the number of SaaS applications varies by company size and industry. We also take a look at how it might vary by other technology in use at the enterprise.

Why is SaaS usage growing so fast?

The answer is anchored in the benefits of SaaS.

First, it’s easy to get started with a SaaS app that improves job performance for nearly every enterprise business function. David Cummings, an Atlanta-based entrepreneur, recently wrote that set-it-and-forget-it SaaS apps are more commonplace than realized because a user can subscribe for a plan with nothing more than a credit card. It has never been easier for IT to add a SaaS app to its environment.

Second, end-users are quickly beginning to understand the luxury of using apps that are secure and stable thanks to continuous function and feature improvements. They’re also more opinionated about the apps they use for work every day. And because it’s so effortless for an end-user to identify a new app they want, subscriptions to SaaS apps are growing exponentially.

The number of SaaS apps grew 10X over the last 5 years

When we first began researching SaaS adoption in 2015, the average company used just 8 applications. Today, that average has jumped to 80 applications.


Source: BetterCloud 2020 State of SaaSOps survey data

It’s important to note that this is an overall average of all companies who participated in our research. And as the chart above shows, it varies significantly with the number of employees on the payroll.

Tech-related industries lead in SaaS adoption

Not surprisingly, SaaS usage tends to be more common at tech companies. Our research shows that companies that operate in industries such as media, online gaming, and technology use significantly more SaaS applications than those in legacy industries such as real estate and manufacturing.


Source: BetterCloud 2020 State of SaaSOps survey data


Google Workspace shops use more SaaS than Microsoft Office 365 shops

Based on the findings from our 2020 State of SaaSOps survey, it’s clear that companies that lean on Google Workspace tend to use more SaaS applications than those that leverage Microsoft Office 365. The average Office 365 shop uses 72 SaaS apps, while the average Google Workspace shop uses 84 SaaS applications.

As you can see in the chart below, G Suite (now Google Workspace) is used by 69% of our 2020 State of SaaSOps survey respondents. But that alone doesn’t explain why Google Workspace users also use more SaaS than Office 365 shops.

While users of both suites have strong opinions about which one is “better,” the reality is that Google Workspace was really the only choice for newer companies, especially SaaS companies that launched in the early to mid 2000s. The beta for Office 365 wasn’t available until 2011 and in that time, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite and several other versions of it) became almost ubiquitous across startups.

SaaSOps platform users have nearly 2x more SaaS apps

On average, organizations that don’t leverage a SaaSOps platform use 57 applications. Those that do use a SaaSOps platform use a whopping an average of 109 apps on the enterprise domain—which is nearly twice as many as those who don’t.

There are two realities in SaaS management. A single new application creates a massive challenge for any IT department. One app creates new users to manage and secure—and more importantly, it creates new blind spots that IT needs to identify and secure.


Source: BetterCloud 2020 State of SaaSOps survey data

At a certain point, a SaaSOps platform and a way to automate IT becomes a necessity. Without centralized and automated IT operations, managing and securing a SaaS environment becomes a bigger challenge each time you add a new application.

A SaaSOps platform that offers an extensive and growing number of pre-built integrations into market-leading SaaS apps enables IT teams to easily automate. Now, there’s finally a way to overcome the challenge that comes with hundreds of SaaS apps, users, and constantly multiplying data across the entire organization. After all, SaaS sprawl affects everyone across your organization—and in many ways, inhibits the entire business from meeting its potential.

Find out what a SaaSOps platform can do for you here by scheduling some office hours with our team of SaaSOps implementation experts.

For the 2020 State of SaaSOps report, BetterCloud surveyed nearly 700 IT leaders and security professionals from the world’s leading enterprise organizations.To learn more about the growing SaaSOps market and how to prepare, download the full report here.