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2018 Best Software Reviews & Analysis of SaaS Solutions

Prior to B2B technology breaking the ceiling of sales and innovations, most of us could hardly think of such dramatic developments in any industry. Slightly over a decade ago, corporations were astonished by as little as being able to sell online, and didn’t think either that a time would come for everyone to ‘get a piece’ of their moneymaking machine.

But here we are – 2018 is knocking on the door, and startups are building empires revolving over technology advancements. Credits for their success and the overall contribution of business-friendly technology should be given to none other but the SaaS trend – a market of fully independent, entirely cloud-hosted, and delivered-as-a-service productivity tools. Observed through the prism of a small, yet ambitious business, these tools and services push in enterprise-grade efficiency, but they do so at a fraction of the price (which is how we can afford them). To put even more weight on the SaaS end, enterprises are also adopting the multiple benefits of these solutions.

SaaS Adoption Factors [Credit: Forrester.com]

There are grounds to believe that SaaS will overtake completely the production manner of the B2B industry, especially as we give a look to its most recent developments. According to Betterbuys.com’s 2016 report on the state of SaaS, expenditure in software-as-a-service technology is about to reach incredible $55 billion by 2026, compared to 2015 when this amount equaled only $8 billion total. SaaS technology will, as it did so far, serve foremost the marketing sector, as 38.6% of all US based SaaS products are in fact marketing solutions. Looking up best software reviews on your own, however, will show you that the trend is pretty much alive in every niche.

SaaS Technology Expenditure 2015-2026 [Credit: betterbuys.com]

Instead of analyzing the needs and achievements of your business, take a second and look at your private communication and management apps – how many of them did you have to install? We pretty much foresee the answer, and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re coming from.

By the end of 2016, McKinsey&Company high tech corporation measured a 37% median revenue rate for publicly traded SaaS companies, defining this year as a period of dazzling growth and billion-dollar buyouts for SaaS providers. Forbes’ enterprise software strategist Louis Columbus was even more generous discussing the bright future of SaaS, and predicted worldwide spending on public cloud services of as much as $141 billion by 2019.

Market Segments of SaaS in the last 5 years [Credit: Betterbuys.com]

Indeed, it is time to leave complex, local installations and time consuming setup behind us, and entrust our key operations to a provider that will automate them, make them accessible from any device, and keep them safe and updated without intervention. Shifting business to our mobile devices and keeping a remote team together makes much more sense than it did before, thanks to 5 amazing trends we are about to witness.

1. Reaping The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence Technologies

Are you looking for a marketing or salesforce automation system, a flexible CRM, or even a business intelligence/data processing tool? In 2018, you may get much more than what you bargained for.

Artificial intelligence investment is foremost making use of these sectors’ upside potential, but we will also see it integrated in other technology stacks alike eCommerce, ERP, and HR management. It is even safe to assume that we will never get enough of it, as 81% of world’s IT leaders are already working on developing AI systems.

The reason why you can’t let AI go out of your sight is that it will actually enable your devices to take notice of the environment they operate in, and maximize the success potential of each goal/activity you may have. Translated to ‘businessish’, this may as well mean conquering customers without your intervention in the process. In such role, artificial intelligence will cover areas such as planning, learning, statistics, mathematical optimization, probability, and of course – all relational database operations you can think of. Hence, the sooner you begin looking at best software reviews for AI-focused solutions, the more competitive your business will become in future.

Software reviews of AI market leaders:

  1. Attivio Active Intelligence: Attivio is among the leading providers in the market when it comes to content analytics, data discovery accelerators, and strategic search-based applications. The unified information access platform provides businesses a complete overview of the relevant business information landscape, making sure all daily decisions are primarily based on complete, current, strategic information that have been derived from all major sources, whatever the native format may be.
  2. nanoRep: nanoRep is an automated customer service platform based on self-service experience that provides relevant, contextual and personalized answers for maximizing conversions and reducing support load. With nanoRep, brands can instantly answer correctly thousands of different questions and drive this back to customer analytics to gain powerful insights for your business.

2. Vertical SaaS: Technology Designed Specifically For You

A key takeaway from 2017’s SaaS landscape is businesses’ awareness that such technologies are developed for them, and no one else. Instead of crafting ‘miracles of productivity’ that adjust with little-to-no-code to the specifications of each companies, developers are leaning on specialization, so that they’d serve particular industries.

Among the expert community, this remarkable movement is known as ‘vertical SaaS’, but you may as well call it the ‘wave that covers one-size-fits-all tools’. Vertical development is given a central role in SaaS landscaping, right because it meets the needs of moneymaking industries, in particular accounting, finance, healthcare, construction, education, and more. A trend like this will ensure a both more competitive audience, and a more competitive market that gives control only to the best providers in a given sector.

Vertical SaaS (or industry cloud, as experts fancy calling it) features industry-specific tools and processes that are not adaptive to other industries, and makes business more developer-centric. For you as the business owner in charge, this would mean handling all business-specific matters from the comfort of a single platform, rather than acquiring several of them, transferring data, and spending money to build custom connections.

Software reviews of Vertical SaaS leaders:

  1. PlanGrid: PlanGrid is an advanced online service focused on providing construction tools of its clients and satisfying every online construction management need. In particular, it provides opportunities on collaboration on project plans, specs, photos, RFIs, and punchlists using desktop or mobile devices in real-time from anywhere. Today, it is trusted by major construction firms on more than 400,000 projects, and stores over 30 million digital blueprints.
  2. PracticePanther: PracticePanther boasts a powerful CRM and case management software specially designed for the legal industry, providing the ease and convenience in managing contacts while making sure users get to keep track of everything in the office. The CRM offers a host of features such as the ability to add notes in the news feed to make sure nothing gets lost or forgotten. Increase collaboration and communicate more efficiently. There is also a retainer alert that sets a minimum budget and stop working until your client replenishes their retainer

3. XaaS and Everything-as-a-Service

There’ve been attempts to ‘warn’ the reader community over XaaS in several older trending posts, but the debate did, at least at that time, sound quite futuristic. As it is usually with technology, future is already happening, and XaaS went straight from a hypothetical idea to a number-one priority on our agendas.

But what’s the XaaS fuss all about? XaaS, or Everything-as-a-Service is a term used to bring under the same roof all SaaS, PaaS (platform-as-a-service) and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) applications. Basically, it refers to any technology that used to be delivered on site, and is now delivered over the Internet, and probably to the only technology our descendants will ever know about.

The XaaS era is probably one of the biggest achievements of computer science in general, given that it lowers customers’ costs, eliminates all need for maintenance, allows access to all emerging technology with no coding experience, and gives small businesses the glorious debut they couldn’t afford before. With a completely open and transparent app infrastructure, XaaS also makes resources widely available, and lets businesses move towards better profit figures by using market chances as they come.

Software reviews of PaaS and IaaS leaders:

  1. Microsoft Azure: The advantages of Microsoft Azure are compatibility with Windows, Linux, and container as well as an excellent frontend management interface. Microsoft has been investing heavily in the Microsoft Azure public cloud architecture and the efforts are paying off in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) field. Microsoft Azure was once an also-ran, but now it is competing fiercely with market leaders Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.
  2. Zoho Creator: Using an advanced technology, Zoho Creator eliminates all need to worry about technical production – once your databases are inserted inside the system, it works around them to put them into production with minimal human interference. What is also important to know is that Zoho Creator works in accordance with highest security standards, and will keep your data safe, and regularly updated and backed up.

4. Unbundling SaaS: Cost-effective Private & Public Cloud

A distinctive advantage that makes SaaS preferable to locally installed systems is that SaaS can be anything you want it to be. A way to observe this phenomenon is by looking at SaaS systems as modules or semi-developed systems that are completely open to manipulation, and that can hence adhere to specific rules and operations. Hosted in cloud, SaaS ‘has nothing against’ being rebuilt, upgraded, or custom-connected to third-party software. In the best of all scenarios, you will even get an app to build an app on.

Once you get the ‘picks and shovels’, it is you who decides. To the commodity of users reaching out from different environments, SaaS vendors expand flexibility to the matter of choosing your own hosting. This means that you can have your app hosted in the provider’s data center, and not worry about updates and maintenance; or host it in your internal or enterprise cloud to have data protected behind your firewall.

In most cases, it will be this decision that will dictate the price you have to pay to acquire the system. That decision boils up to control matters and whether you feel confident enough to entrust sensitive information to a third provider. If you’re just starting, public hosting will likely be the best option you’ve got, as you can always shift to a different option as your business develops.

Software reviews of public cloud leaders:

  1. Cisco Meraki: The platform has the capability to manage and control many OS such as Android 4 and above, Chrome OS, iOS, tvOS, Mac, Windows, and Windows Phone. With the ability to adapt to the changing environment of network of mobile devices, Cisco Meraki treats every mobile device as unique hence enhancing the manner of tracking device posture and configuring security policies to maintain a network which is responsive to  ever changing mobile devices.
  2. IBM MaaS360: With its out-of-the-box device management, MaaS360 grants IT teams the ability to bulk program personally-owned devices to enable them for work. This way, employees can use the technologies they are familiar and comfortable without taxing IT resources. Furthermore, MaaS360 has a secure container that holds all corporate files separate from the rest of the device’s applications.

5. Glitch-free HCI infrastructure for your applications

Advanced storage and self-service computation is another trend that will mark the SaaS landscape in 2018. This trend is not a new one, as a late 2015 Forrester research unveiled that 31% of respondents were already using hyperconverged infrastructure platforms to build their own applications and host them in private cloud, while 15% of them were at the time working to get there. HCI, nonetheless, belongs to the group of single sourcing hosting methodologies, and is therefore recommended primarily to experienced users.

Almost all cloud industry forecasters are strong supporters of businesses transiting completely to HCI systems, those being their more configurable and moneyworth options. HCI technology scales fast, ensures easy connectivity and 100% reliability, and exhibits a notable potential for self-recovery. It offers a variety of sophisticated workflow management operations, and has no decent competitor when it comes to security. Thus, it can aid both enterprises and startup businesses to climb the ladder to success.

Software reviews of HCI leaders:

  1. VMWare vCenter Server: This HCI -friendly service enables users to centralize and manage virtual infrastructure for their businesses, and craft access patterns through a single platform. VMWare makes virtual deployment of servers really simple, so that you can run your virtual structure from literally any remote location.
  2. PivotData REST: Using PivotData Rest Service, you will find it easy to connect directly to various type of data sources including SQL databases (SQL Server, PostgreSql, Mysql) and MongoDB. The configuration of multiple data sources is notably simplified, as you can complete it via JSON config, and you can embed web pivot tables on your web page and applications within minutes.

Out-of-the-Box Applications & Honorable Mentions

To round up our cloud computing forecasts, we’d like to share a list of promising SaaS products that handle pretty much unique tasks in their industries. These systems are innovative, end user-oriented, and extremely cost-efficient for their administrators. Some of them will even wrap up functions beyond their primary suite (accounting + HR, for instance) to spare you the trouble of purchasing and integrating several pieces of technology.

What will also please SMBs is that SaaS solutions are adopting a vertical dimension, meaning that more and more of them are designed for the needs of a particular industry. With no experienced IT team to put in charge, you’ll still get a tool that syncs with your business processes, and configure little to none of its functions.

Here are few reliable SaaS reviews examples you should consider in 2018:

  1. Merlin Software: An all-in-one award-winning venue and event management suite that addresses your need to control and manage all your retail, admissions, cafe, memberships, stock and more.
  2. Renderforest: A cloud based video maker platform created to help you create beautiful, powerful and professional-videos, commercials, infographics, and more.
  3. Freshteam: The newest addition to the Freshworks productivity family, crafted as a compact package of core applicant tracking and recruitment CRM features. The platform helps you focus on quality candidates and retain control over your hiring process.
  4. DesignEvo: A web-based custom logo builder that enables users to create logos for free. It is quite a useful tool for independent professionals, small business owners, and startups that are looking to have their own logo but without having to pay expensive fees to professional graphic designers for the job.
  5. Vreasy: A property management system specially catered to short term accommodation properties and their managers. What this software does the best is to enable users to control all aspects of their hotel business to their advantage, and does so automating their most important operations.
  6. TrackMyRisksThis software is built specifically for managing risk and compliance-related documents. TrackMyRisk centralizes all essential documents in a single platform and employs various permissions and security settings to keep confidential documents safe from malicious parties. It also automates SOPs via pre-set paths.
Category: B2B News

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