With more and more software companies slowly but inevitably shifting to the SaaS model during the past decade, more types of SaaS products appear. All SaaS businesses can be grouped based on their similarities and functions. Currently, there are not so many categories, but the range of these solutions already demonstrates that SaaS technologies can be applied and become successful in any industry.
Before creating a SaaS project, it is important to learn more about the types of SaaS software and how they work. In such a way, you will find out the nuances and challenges of each category, as well as their market particularities and even a little bit about end-users’ needs.
In Eleken, we work with various SaaS products, beginning from CRM and ending up with web hosting projects. Each SaaS solution requires a special approach to its development and expansion. Just like for any profitable product, you should first outline your niche and industry to move forward with your idea or plan. That is why there exists the typology of SaaS products.
SaaS basics and advantages
As a cloud-based software service, SaaS products have plenty of advantages for users compared to conventional software. We have enlisted their major benefits below:
- Available per subscription per user
- No need to download or update the software on your laptop or computer
- Can be reached from any device in any part of the world through the Internet
- Lowers costs for subscription in comparison to the price of traditional software
- Reduced time to launch the software and start using it
All of these characteristics can be found in all types of SaaS software but have slight variations depending on the preferences of targeted clients and the functionality of the very product. Furthermore, in each of the following groups, SaaS solutions slowly force out traditional software.
Let’s check the main categories of SaaS solutions and see how they differ from each other.
The types of SaaS solutions
There are many types of SaaS software. The central aspect of division into groups is the sphere or industry that the SaaS product improves, such as online banking or communication.
Probably, the most essential thing about the division of SaaS applications is the fact that in the future, new groups of SaaS products will appear. It seems that cloud-based software service can be applied in almost any sphere of human activity. As more and more people are looking for ways to work from home after the Covid-19 pandemic, the popularity of SaaS applications will be rising as you can use them anywhere in the world. If you want proofs with revenue data, see our SaaS market overview.
So, while we are awaiting the new upcoming types of software as a service, the current ones go as following:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
For every business, customer data is valuable information, which is used to promote the product and increase sales. CRM software is a tool for effective management. It stores all customer data and helps improve customer relationships.
Some CRM systems help their users forecast sales, but the majority simply automate repetitive sales tasks such as emails. Modern SaaS CRMs bring to the table loads of functions. Freshworks, a CRM owned by Girish Mathrubootham, offers more than 10 other products that can be integrated into each other depending on your business needs.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software
These SaaS are used by large companies and enterprises to manage a wide range of business processes. Among them accounting, risk management, compliance, and budgeting. Such a SaaS allows combining and tracking all these processes in one place due to the big number of its services.
As an example, NetSuite, a popular ERP SaaS with more than 22 000 customers, includes e-commerce and retail solutions for your business. What is more, it even has a function of PSA (Professional Services Automation) for planning and executing projects.
Accounting software simplifies managing your financial operations and costs by automating them. This comes in handy when you are doing lots of financial operations per day.
All SaaS in this category differ greatly in features, so you should choose the ones that will fit your needs and expectations when it comes to handling your finance. Currently, the most used ones are Xero and QuickBooks, which have lots of effective integrations.
In Xero, for instance, you can create invoices and bills, and even see reports on your spendings. On the dashboard, you can prioritize your tasks, which makes it easier to track everything going on with your finances. Finally, you can even see your account balance and transactions in Xero due to its integrations with banks and online financial services as Stripe or PayPal.
Project management software
PM SaaS solutions enhance cooperation and progress tracking in teams. They are much faster and easier to use compared to shared spreadsheets or documents as synchronization happens in real-time.
Confluence by Atlassian is one of PM SaaS with the largest number of additional tools and functions. With only $10/user/month (1–100 users) with its Premium plan, you can make use of such features as task tracking, real-time notifications, adjustable page permissions, and even blog posting.
CMS and e-commerce platforms
E-commerce SaaS solutions are a great option for new businesses, as they allow you to start selling your products immediately, saving money on website development and UX/UI design services (if you are planning to make a website).
Shopify, the most famous e-commerce platform, has lots of cool features to help entrepreneurs sell goods and products online. First of all, it has many different themes to make your online shop unique. Secondly, it has various integrations such as POS and PayPal to simplify payment processing.
You can also create financial reports and even make blogs, which is a great solution for any business. What’s more, purchasing things online should be an easy and fun process for your clients. In Shopify, you can add your discounts, coupons, and gift cards as small gestures to attract customers and, at the same time, to reward them for choosing your service.
CMS is the Content Management System, which allows publishing and editing content, such as articles and blog posts. The most known platform of this type is WordPress, which was started as a tool for blogging but eventually evolved into a CMS and website-building tool. In WordPress, which is free, you can use templates for your website and work not only with the text itself but also with pictures, audio, and video files.
These are widely used SaaS products. Their main benefit of communication platforms is instant messaging and file sharing from any part of the world. These apps are often used by businesses for communication between their employees. For instance, Slack is a favorite communication tool of more than 12 million active daily users in both large and small companies.
Very often such communication platforms also have mobile applications available, that let users reach the network of their friends/colleagues and get all the necessary information at any time.
These SaaS solutions are developed to manage human resources. Such products have features such as recruiting, interview scheduling, performance tracking and analysis, and employee reviews. They come in handy for organizations that are constantly growing and hiring new people, as they allow storing all information on candidates in one place.
Some of such SaaS applications also allow managing employee productivity and attendance.
Lattice is a widely known SaaS application with more than 2000 organizations using it daily. With this product, managers can make use of templates for employee reviews or create new ones. Employees, in their turn, are requested to submit feedback right in the software for effective communication and cooperation within the company.
In Lattice, you can also set up your goals as discussed with the manager, and, later on, share the results with other workers or even on a special Slack channel (if integrated). Undoubtedly, such a clear and understandable approach makes it much easier to track achievements from the sides of both management and employees.
Finally, you can measure people analytics on dashboards and, for instance, filter data by skills, age, sex, and many other metrics.
Payment gateways and billing solutions
Payment gateways enable businesses to accept payments in a fast and easy way handling hundreds of transactions each day.
Paypal is a safe and secure service to store all sensitive customer data such as numbers of bank cards. For any business, this is a convenient way to receive payments by sharing protected customer information between banks and merchants and eliminate the risks of data leakage.
One more advantage of a payment gateway is that processing transactions online is much faster than doing it manually. Furthermore, with an extended customer base of Paypal as one of the most popular payment methods, you have more chances to reach out to new clients.
One more advantage of such software is payment reporting, which allows you to mark or flag any kind of suspicious activity or payments. A fun feature in some of the payment gateways is publishing reward coupons, which is a small thing to both entertain and attract users.
Different types of SaaS for different goals
SaaS solutions resolve numerous issues in different spheres and make the lives of millions of people much easier. Each type of SaaS software has its special approach to fix the particular problem of the users, whether it is receiving a card payment, sending a file to your manager, or creating a board with tasks for your team.
If you want to find out more about SaaS business or are simply curious about different SaaS products, you can find more details in our next blog-post What makes a good SaaS product.