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The top SaaS companies for business
- 28 October, 2019 21:00
More companies are relying on software-as-a-service (SaaS) as a cloud-based option for delivering a variety of software applications to end users. Fortunately, they have a broad selection of SaaS applications from which to choose.
Here are the major players offering core business applications via the SaaS model.
Atlassian is an enterprise software provider that creates products designed for users such as project managers, software developers, and content managers. It’s perhaps best known for Jira, its issue-tracking application, and Confluence, its team collaboration and wiki product.
The company’s software helps teams organise, discuss, and complete shared work. Teams at more than 144,000 organisations, including General Motors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, NASA, Lyft, Verizon, and Spotify, are using Atlassian’s project tracking, content creation and sharing, and service management products.
In addition to project and issue tracking, the Jira software line provides enterprise agile planning, basic business management, and IT service desk and customer service.
Atlassian’s products also offer incident management and communication, document collaboration, Git version control, continuous integration and release management, and cloud security including access control, single sign-on, and identity management.
G Suite is Google Cloud’s productivity software offering, comprised of applications such as Gmail(email), Docs (document creation and sharing), Sheets(spreadsheet creation and sharing, Drive(file storage and synchronisation), and Calendar(time management and scheduling).
The platform is used by more than one billion people and more than five million paying businesses worldwide, according to Google. G Suite is designed with real-time collaboration and machine intelligence.
G Suite’s customers span industries and businesses of all sizes, including “digital native” companies such as Spotify and Netflix, established market leaders such as Airbus and Whirlpool, and companies with large frontline, mobile workforces.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a key component of G Suite, with features such as Smart Compose, Explore, Quick Access, Nudging, and Smart Reply. G Suite also offers third-party workflow integrations with offerings from SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft, Box, Slack, and Zoom.
Microsoft provides its Office desktop productivity suite in the cloud, under the banner of Office 365. Organisations are adopting the service for cloud-based productivity and collaboration. Office 365 offers the familiar Office applications, infused with AI-powered features, chat-based collaboration, voice and video meetings, and file integration in Microsoft Teams.
The service also includes advanced data protection and identity management, as well as management of technology assets. To date, there are 180 million monthly users of Office 365, 175 million active users of Enterprise Mobility Security, and 800 million Windows 10 devices worldwide, according to the company.
Beyond Office 365, Microsoft’s Azure cloud offerings such as Azure IoT Central and Azure Sentinel offer scale and integration across multiple endpoints such as Office and Windows. And the Microsoft Power Platform, including Microsoft PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Microsoft Power BI, are designed to help customers use data to drive business results.
In addition, Dynamics 365 is a collection of intelligent, cloud-based business applications designed to remove the complexity of disparate CRM and ERP systems by creating modular SaaS services that work together on a single platform.
Oracle’s NetSuite was one of the earliest SaaS providers, and its cloud services have been used by some 18,000 customers across more than 200 countries, according to the company.
Among NetSuite’s key offerings is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. Key components of the ERP offering include financial management, with features such as finance and accounting, billing management, revenue recognition management, financial planning, financial reporting and analytics, global accounting and consolidation, and governance, risk and compliance (GRC).
Other main capabilities of the NetSuite ERP offering include order management, designed to accelerate the order-to-cash process by tying sales, finance, and fulfilment to pricing, sales order management, and returns management; production management, to help companies get products to market more efficiently by leveraging real-time visibility into production management processes; supply chain management, to define, execute, and support supply chain and distribution management plans from a single platform; warehouse and fulfilment, to manage end-to-end inventory and inbound/outbound logistics in real time; and procurement, which is designed to improve the accuracy of procure-to-pay processes.
In addition to ERP, NetSuite offers cloud-based global business management, customer relationship management (CRM), human capital management, professional services automation, omni-channel commerce, analytics, and business intelligence.
Salesforce is one of the leading CRM platforms, and for many the product is synonymous with cloud-based CRM.
The Salesforce offering includes a number of key functions. One is the CRM component, Sales Cloud. Sales Cloud includes features such as Account and Contact Management to provide a complete view of customers, including activity history, key contacts, customer communications, and internal account discussions; Lead Management to track sales leads; Visual Workflow to design and automate business processes; and Files Sync and Share to share files and track content in real time.
Another Salesforce component is Service Cloud, which includes capabilities such as a suite of productivity tools that give agents a complete, shared view of every customer and interaction; a self-service portal that connects customers to account information and other content; support for multiple channels including mobile messaging, web chat, and social media; and AI-powered predictions and recommendations for service agents.
Salesforce also includes a Marketing Cloud, with features including Journey Builder to create customer experiences across all channels; Email Studio, to build personalised email campaigns; Audience Studio, for capturing and using marketing data from any source on a unified data management platform; and Social Studio, to engage with customers across social media channels.
ServiceNow offers an enterprise cloud platform built on one data model that acts as a “single source of truth” for all of an organization’s assets, knowledge base, and enterprise services.
The company began with IT service management and IT operations management but over the years has extended its workflow automation technology beyond IT to other areas of the business.
The company’s entire product portfolio is built on and powered by the Now Platform, a software suite that includes a number of products and features to digitise workflows. The platform has three main components: IT Workflows, Employee Workflows, and Customer Workflows.
IT Workflow includes IT service management, IT business management, devops, IT operations management, IT asset management, security operations, and governance, risk, and compliance. Employee Workflow includes IT service management, HR service delivery, and governance, risk, and compliance. And Customer Workflow includes customer service management and IT operations management.
Read more on the next page...
With the Now Platform, customers can use ServiceNow products or build new workflow applications with no-code or low-code development tools. In the third quarter of 2019, ServiceNow’s Now Platform New York Release will optimise the platform for mobile, virtual agent, and machine learning technologies.
Slackoffers collaboration software that enables teams to work via channels, where they can access messaging, tools and files needed to share ideas and content. Channels can be separated by team, project, client, or other factors. Slack’s popularity rests on a friendly API for developers and a combination of ease and power for users.
Using Slack, companies can share channels with other organisations they regularly work with, such as clients, vendors, and partners. Communication can take place by voice or video calls directly from Slack, and there are capabilities for screen sharing and integrated file sharing. Users can drop PDFs, images, videos, and other files directly into Slack.
The Slack App Directory has more than 1,500 applications users can integrate into the platform, or they can build their own applications using application programming interfaces (APIs).
The platform has several security features, including single-sign-on via industry standard authentication protocols, support for two-factor authentication, and encryption of data in transit and at rest.
Workday provides a cloud ERP suite that spans financial management, human resource management, and business planning. Among the company’s best-known offerings is Workday Human Capital Management (HCM).
Workday HCM includes a human resource management feature that enables companies to manage the worker lifecycle, create and execute reorganisations, define and manage business processes to meet the needs of teams, and provide a social experience across all devices.
The HCM software also provides reporting and analytics, which allows users to interpret data and take action, see what’s driving metrics with contextual reports and dashboards, provide executives with insights on organisational health, and access thousands of Workday reports and analytics.
Other key features include global compliance, which helps organisations keep up with regulatory changes worldwide; workforce planning, designed to let companies optimise their workforce plans and adapt to change; and talent management, which helps organisations evaluate talent, align pay with performance, and develop future leaders.
Workday’s other major application offerings include business planning, financial management, data analytics, and professional services automation.
Zendesk offers the Zendesk Suite of customer service and engagement products. Among the key features are the ability to embed customer support natively on a company’s website with a Web Widget or within a mobile app, so customers can search for help, start a chat, place a call, or email the company.
Another feature is an Answer Bot, powered by AI, which automatically responds to support queries with relevant help center articles, addressing customer requests while they wait for an agent. Proactive triggers let companies send targeted and behaviour-based messages to customers. For example, triggers can help customers complete purchase by automatically reaching out with a chat.
The Zendesk Suite also offers inbound and outbound calling, so companies can receive unlimited inbound calls from customers and follow up or provide proactive support with outbound calls and keep track of calls with automatic ticket creation and call recording.
In addition, the Zendesk Suite provides skills-based routing, so companies can automatically assign tickets to the right agents based on their skills, presence, and workload.
Zoom Video Communications provides cloud-based communications software that combines remote video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.
Users can join a conference from virtually anywhere and via any device. They can sync Zoom meetings with calendar apps and deliver enterprise-grade video conferencing from desktop and mobile devices. Meetings can be recorded locally or in the cloud, with searchable transcripts.
Zoom supports high-definition video and audio for meetings with up to 1,000 video participants and 49 videos on screen. Built-in collaboration tools allow multiple participants to share their screens simultaneously.
For security, Zoom provides end-to-end encryption for all meetings, role-based user access, and password protection.