The New Era of Smart SaaS: Uncovering the Value of AI Within Enterprises


Enterprise AI adoption has increased steadily over the years. Ken Fine, president & CEO of Heap, explains how Smart SaaS solutions will power the future of AI and analytics to make smarter, data-driven decisions. 

If you’re reading this in an office — whether your company headquarters or a converted second bedroom — you’re likely running at least three enterprise applications on your computer. In the past year, we’ve seen COVID force us to work from home, and we’ve seen software quickly evolve in turn, providing more relevant information, location-agnostic access, and more intuitive user experiences. 

In many ways, this was a microcosm of a larger trend: over the past decade the tech giants expanded, and clear winners appeared. Microsoft, AWS, and Google fought (and won!) the cloud wars, and emerging players like Slack, Salesforce, and Asana significantly raised the bar for customer expectations. 

On a larger scale, it’s been the emergence and adoption of the cloud that’s setting the foundation for the next stage of enterprise tech. As businesses across the board have transferred their sales, marketing, and operations into the cloud, they’ve left an immense trail of data in their wake. While tools currently exist that can analyze these mounds of data, too many of them exist on separate platforms, making it almost impossible for any single tool (or user!) to get a full picture of the business. 

Learn More: Close to the Edge: Automated Data Pipelines for Real-time Processing

Introducing the Next Phase of SaaS

As data analysis becomes even more integral to enterprise success, we’ll see the next phase of SaaS ushered in as companies prioritize data-driven decision-making and develop ever-more sophisticated ways of organizing data and extracting actionable insights from it. This is in part a story about data science and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Indeed, enterprise AI adoption has already increased — a recent quarterly pulse survey from West MonroeOpens a new window found that AI and analytics are common areas of investment, with 57% of respondents having tried the technology in the past six months, while another 21% reported trying artificial intelligence and machine learning in the same time period. This makes sense, as AI tools can already examine massive datasets, identify patterns, and surface useful insights far quicker than any human could. 

For the near future we’re likely to continue to see AI and data science being used as point solutions. As such they will supply key business units with massive analytics and IT upgrades. But the discovery of AI solutions is just getting started, with Gartner forecastingOpens a new window worldwide IT spending to total $3.9 trillion in 2021. Enterprises are finally getting some stack in the SaaS game, and do not want to risk missing out on information that can be potential business-critical.   

Learn More: Realizing the Full Potential of Artificial Intelligence and Automation 

Unlocking the True Ability of AI

We still haven’t tapped into the true ability of AI to open companies to those new, game-changing insights. We’re overdue for another enterprise tech transformation, one that helps enterprises layer in all of their data, and extract valuable insights out of it. That’s what the era of smart SaaS will be about — enmeshed data science capabilities built into a single, overarching AI solution that can gather all of a company’s data and provide deep, lasting recommendations about high-level strategy. 

The good news is that these solutions are coming. Automated analytics monitoring tools are evolving so that they can automatically collect more and more amounts of data, organize it, and discover patterns to proactively deliver insights to users. It won’t be long, I expect, that this integrated analysis will become tablestakes for businesses. 

And the evolution won’t stop there. Yes, it’s important to understand that 63% of consumers drop off your website at a certain point, but it’s just as crucial to understand the reasoning for that pattern, and the thoughtful steps businesses can take to reverse it. The trajectory of data → insights → action is just getting started, and it’s going to evolve long after we’ve all retired. 

While the winners of the next era of enterprise tech are yet to be defined, one look back at the trajectory of workplace software shows us where the space is headed, and where the opportunities lie for up-and-coming players: efficiency. Give users access to all the information they need, provide analysis and suggested next steps, and do it all in one place. 

In the era of Smart SaaS, solutions will give companies full control of and insight into their constantly-multiplying collection of data. Organizations will have direct insight into their end-users from every point of activity and will be able to make strategic decisions based on this information. Interactions will become more personalized and targeted, and it will be revolutionary. Are you ready?

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