Skip to content

The 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered Workplace Report

David Politis

May 18, 2017

6 minute read

researchreport 2017stateofspw

The workplace will never be the same again.

Swiftly and surely, the world is shifting to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It’s becoming the de facto delivery model for core business applications.

But how is SaaS transforming the way we work? Over the past six months, we surveyed 1,800+ IT professionals to get a deeper understanding of this new workplace, where SaaS applications serve as the backbone of productivity.

The data revealed astonishing findings. SaaS is a double-edged sword. And while it brings incredible benefits, it also creates formidable challenges that are taking the roles and responsibilities of IT to new extremes.

This report provides a glimpse into the future. Our respondents—the most forward-thinking, cutting-edge IT innovators on the front lines—have told us exactly what they’re experiencing in the modern workplace.

And now we’re sharing this knowledge with the rest of the world: the good, the bad, and the ugly of SaaS, and how IT can adapt and excel in it.

David Politis
Founder & CEO, BetterCloud

5 Key Takeaways

  1. SaaS is a runaway train that’s showing no signs of stopping. Companies use 16 SaaS apps on average today, up 33% from last year. 73% of organizations say nearly all (80%+) of their apps will be SaaS by 2020.
  2. As a result, a new type of workplace called the SaaS-Powered Workplace is emerging. 38% of companies are already running almost entirely on SaaS. This new enterprise is the SaaS-Powered Workplace.
  3. It creates incredible benefits like bolstering communication, cutting costs, attracting better talent, and improving employee satisfaction.
  4. But it also creates new challenges for IT. These challenges only become more amplified in the SaaS-Powered Workplace.
  5. To adapt to this new enterprise, IT must change the way it does its job. IT needs to rethink its roles, responsibilities, processes, and budgets.

On-premises investments have all but halted.

The world’s leading enterprise tech companies—like SAP, IBM, Microsoft, CA Technologies, and others that dominated for more than a decade—have made drastic changes in their product development and acquisition strategy. The “cloud” is front and center.

SaaS is now a common system of record for many organizations.

Today, organizations are trusting SaaS vendors to house mission-critical, irreplaceable data. While some people may have once thought this concept was absolutely absurd, this is no longer the case. These naysayers are now the minority.

To beat their competition, many CIOs would argue that SaaS must now serve as the system of record.

The largest public cloud market in 2017 will be SaaS, reaching an expected $76 billion by 2020.

SaaS and IaaS will both remain fast-growing segments for years to come as the vast majority of SaaS vendors depend on IaaS providers to operate.

Without Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, the economics of offering SaaS solutions become untenable for most vendors.

SaaS adoption continues to rise.

When SaaS entered the fray under the “software on-demand” moniker in 1999, its growth was slow. Within the last few years, we’ve seen SaaS adoption skyrocket. SaaS apps are seen as a future inevitability and have gained overwhelming support from IT professionals, end users, and executives alike. The “all-cloud” conversation has changed tone.

It’s now a matter of when, not if.

SaaS is legitimized and standard operating procedure at larger orgs.

The trend is for new applications to be first adopted by smaller, more agile organizations. Larger enterprises are slower to act, but once they do, they add legitimacy, turning a fringe trend to a mainstream mainstay. In regards to SaaS adoption, that tipping point has occurred.

Cost, security, ease of use, and integration capabilities dominate procurement criteria.

With tight budgets and no real line items for many emerging SaaS apps, IT professionals consider cost above all else, even more so than security. However, as many SaaS apps are adopted to drive productivity, more than one-third of all respondents select “ease of use” as one of their top three criteria when buying a SaaS app.

A new cutting-edge, all-SaaS enterprise has emerged: the SaaS-Powered Workplace.

A growing number of organizations are now running just a fraction of their business apps on-prem. These are SaaS-Powered Workplaces. More than 80% of their end user business apps are SaaS. In less than two years, more than half (51%) of our respondents expect to use SaaS apps almost exclusively, all but eliminating their reliance on desktop applications and their on-premises infrastructure.

As expected, SaaS-Powered Workplaces use far more SaaS apps than the average workplace.

There are many reasons why. SaaS applications make employees more productive.

When compared to the norm, SaaS-Powered Workplaces experience unexpected organizational benefits beyond just heightened productivity.

Many in IT are dealing with the consequences of rapid and often out-of-control SaaS adoption.

After using SaaS apps like Dropbox and Google Drive in their everyday lives, many employees felt compelled to grasp the productivity benefits of SaaS. Unfortunately, this often happened without IT’s consent and left CIOs and IT teams to deal with duplicate services, hard-to-trace subscription licenses, massive amounts of data sprawl, and an overwhelming lack of control. These past few years have felt like the Wild West of SaaS adoption.

It’s interesting to note that we’ve practically come full circle. In the on-prem world, IT had full control over its environment, deploying and managing 100% of their organization’s technology. However, with the emergence of shadow IT and SaaS apps, IT began losing control. Now, IT is slowly starting to reclaim it.

Today, particularly in VSBs and SMBs, IT is beginning to regain that control over SaaS applications.

IT professionals that manage SaaS-Powered Workplaces face a unique set of challenges.

SaaS-Powered Workplaces are more likely to encounter challenges related to admin delegation, external user access, automation, and managing users and assets across SaaS apps.

To be successful as CIOs or IT leaders in a SaaS-Powered Workplace, you must adapt in three primary areas.

The world of IT is now embarking on a new journey, one where best-of-breed SaaS apps are fueling a sea change in employee work habits and transforming IT operations, budgeting, and ultimately, its purpose.

The emergence of the SaaS-Powered Workplace is about empowering IT to run the world’s best workplaces through technology.

To watch this video on YouTube, click here.