2019 Market Report: SaaS consultant’s guide to implementation focus

The digital wave has long been washing away manual operations for many businesses. Software consultants are always in demand for entrepreneurs planning a new venture or any company planning to expand its operations. Reflecting this global trend towards digitized business operations, the global software consulting market is predicted to grow at a CAGR exceeding 11.8% from 2018 to 2025.

This growth is not just about “digitizing services”—it is also because of the immediate need to integrate accounting, information storage, financial management, and multiple other business operations. Companies have realized the value of a unified platform where all the products running their different business operations work together and communicate amongst themselves.

With Zoho, which caters to every business process, it’s crucial for our consultants to be able to capitalize on market potential. So, we have put out a new industry analysis and are going to tell you how to read it.

Industry analysis

Consulting is a broad space that caters to businesses in every industry. Businesses that offer services over the internet will bring in customers from all over the world. Despite being geographically isolated, the recurring revenue model of a consultant’s business demands consistent communication with the client, because “churn” is constantly waiting to disrupt your customer retention metrics and diminish your recurring revenue in the upcoming years.

This persistent communication demands industry and market expertise. There needs to be depth in comprehending the markets in which you and your clients operate and how the associated industries have evolved in adapting cloud products. This industry analysis based on your selling region will help define your target demographics, channeling your efforts into arenas of greater returns.

 

First Principles approach to SaaS consulting

First principles approach to industry analysis

The consulting space is a blend of companies in varying stages of growth, catering to multiple account sizes (SMEs, blue chip companies), so the success of different consultants is defined in distinct ways, because each of these consultancies are driven by different revenue goals. Since this path to consulting success isn’t uniformly defined, before diving into analyzing the numbers, it is important to identify which stage of growth your company fits into and what metrics matter to businesses in that tier.

3 stages of business growth

Based on your business-growth fit, you can conclude how these numbers will drive your consulting practice. So, the best way to interpret such numbers would be to reason from the first principles perspective! First principle is an elemental assumption that cannot be deduced any further—it means to think like a scientist and breakdown every entity you perceive at the superficial scale into its elemental form.

When consultants reason from the first principles, their perception of numbers is exclusive for the success of their company. This would enable them to understand the opportunities in an industry that would best fit their practice, thus channeling their consulting focus towards growth!

Let’s understand reasoning from the first principles by considering one segment: aviation, a huge industry with an incredible opportunity for software services. Their needs could be as simple as moving the reservation and ticketing process to the cloud or as complex as flight scheduling, flight management, or ground handling solutions. Although there are plenty of needs, the businesses that look after the software behind each of these processes is restricted by their expertise in the consulting sphere.

So let’s say you have very recently ventured into the SaaS consulting ecosystem and are currently looking at this report. When you observe a spike in the growth metrics of the aviation industry, it might not directly enlarge your consulting scope. This is because an established agency planning on expansion is likely to use bigger, enterprise-level consultants to automate their critical processes.

However, if the numbers have increased due to many new airlines flooding the market, it means there will be more businesses looking for people who can implement software solutions. Since this sector is made up of relatively new players, they would be more willing to use consultants with similar work experience (start and growth stage).

So before you focus on an industry for its YOY growth, it is important to analyze which aspect of that industry has contributed to the growth and then target the market accordingly.

 

Metrics that matter

What are metrics that drive a consultant's business

Many metrics determine the growth of the nation. To an economist, all of it matters, but to a consultant, only a couple of them drive their business opportunities. Here are the two key data points that would impact your consulting practice.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

The GDP of a country is a cumulative number measuring the growth contributed by businesses in numerous industries. This makes GDP a major marker of a country’s growth and its place in the world.

Although GDP is a reflection of how “all the businesses” in a country perform, its numbers can also significantly hinder the progress of independent firms in the region, thus defining the trajectory these firms must adopt.

This is because a hike in the GDP spikes inflation rates, so the government accelerates the interest rates and puts a cap on inflation. Accompanying the rise in GDP is the cost of new hires and existing workforce. So rather than looking solely at the GDP of your region, it is also essential to understand how the industry has affected the GDP of the nation.

Cloud adoption index (CRI)

The cloud adoption index (CAI) published in the flagship report of the Asian Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) drills down the cloud readiness of 14 economies in APAC based on an analysis of 10 key parameters. These 10 metrics include everything that determines the opportunities of a business migrating their processes to the cloud—internet connectivity, network quality, data center risk, power supply, security, privacy, and every other factor of concern for businesses on the internet. The report is iterated time and again as the industries adapt to and evolve with technology.

Over the last couple of years, the internet has grown far and wide enough to penetrate every possible vertical and co-exist with hardware-intensive estates. So when you see the CAI of a country growing, it implies, there are businesses interested in transforming the way they operate. Also, if you see that the accompanying GDP has also increased, it’s an indicator of a promising market for SaaS consultants!

 

Our methodology to industry analysis

How to do an industry analysis

We began by structuring a master data, the backbone of this exclusive report for SaaS consultants. The GDP, YOY, growth, and CRI data were consolidated from reports released by ACCA, TCS, and the World Bank.

After a two month scrutinization of the numbers, the team focused on the defining metrics and converted them into an interactive report that Zoho partners could incorporate into their consulting practice and client interactions. These insights into the industry and market trends will present partners as an authority in their niche, thereby adding trust and credibility to your business expertise.

Market overview

The evolution of distinct industries and their adoption of automation makes 2019 a year that’s all about businesses on the cloud. Countries have been continually updating their data center regimes, and businesses have become more receptive to operating from the internet. The report finds a major fragment of APAC moving to the cloud, while the US, UK, and ANZ follow up close behind.

Download the SaaS market trends report

Foreword

As consultants of business productivity applications, we know Zoho CRM and Zoho Books are our trojan horse into most industries. This is a great opportunity to build a clientele; however, when retention comes into play, it’s important to look for opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and enhance the existing services you offer.

With this in mind, here’s how nine critical industries are using diverse SaaS applications that aren’t just about CRM.

1. Manufacturing

2. Energy

3. Healthcare

4. Finance and insurance

5. Aviation

6. Construction

7. Food and beverage

8. Tourism

9. Education

 

Manufacturing

Softwares for manufacturing

We’re well aware of the extensive services in some nations, but have we ever taken a step back to wonder what acts as the vehicle to drive these services? There’s a reason the powerful nations of the world have spent most of their efforts on strengthening their manufacturing sector. This ability to produce for rising public demand affirms a country’s national wealth and power.

Let’s consider a country that specializes in the healthcare segment. Being an industry leader, this is probably the nation thronged by medical tourists from different parts of the world. However, if this nation depends on another country for the procurement of medical equipment, who gets the larger bite of the pie?

If we follow a similar approach and look at nations that’ve been evolving, we see there’s an incredible demand for services. However, there’s also a rising demand for the vehicles that generate this service, thus passing the baton to the country that manufactures the machinery.

So we can conclude that the demand for products is always there. And if a country can satiate this dire need for material goods, it accumulates revenue in multiple forms—from production, the workforce involved in the manufacturing process, and, finally, the consumption. All these factors essentially skew the GDP metrics to the peak, putting that country on the trajectory to growth.

However, manufacturers have never come across as early adopters of the cloud. In fact, until a couple of years ago, this was their question:

Why would I want to change systems from the 1990s that are working just fine?

Prior to 2012, a massive segment of manufacturing relied on manual documentation, with only a meager 22% of them inching into the SaaS space. However, today we see that only 50% of them are still using the traditional on-premise deployments.

Unsurprisingly, cost was the main factor that chaperoned them into the cloud ecosystem. They were gradually convinced with its ease of use and the needlessness of manual outreach in all processes that were optimized with cloud applications. And this made sense because manual monitoring demanded deft resources adept in managing complex hardware infrastructures.

Such firm affirmations on how the manufacturing space has been operating at only a fraction of its maximum potential ushered manufacturers into the cloud space. So while the consultants are trying to transition the operations of this industry to the cloud, here are a few aspects of the segment that are awaiting your scoping and analysis.

Zoho Products:

Creator | Inventory | Expense | CRM

Services:

~ Material procurement                                      ~ Product bundling

~ Distributor management                                ~ Multi-warehouse management

~ Order management                                          ~ RFID and barcode scanning

~ Inventory management                                   ~ Multiple item images

~ Logistics                                                              ~ Build loyalty programs

~ Multi-currency compliance                            ~ Shipment and tracking

~ Auto scanning                                                    ~ Policy management   

Go back to the industry index

 

Energy

Softwares used by the energy and utility companies

The world’s energy consumption is predicted to rise above 40% in the coming years, foretelling a massive workload headed to the operations of the energy sector. This demand, coupled with recent acceleration towards digitization, has predicted that 100% of the energy sector will flip the way they operate over the next five years, fostering them to adopt cloud technologies that lowers costs, improves efficiency, and addresses growing power needs by analyzing data and making intelligent predictions.

Such growth in energy demands will consequently empower the utility companies, whose entire fortune is centered around power generation and distribution. However, prior to jumping into this ocean, it is essential to understand the entirety of services provided by the utility companies. Here’s an outline of how the utility sector is categorized: 

      • Power generators

      • Energy network operators

      • Energy traders and marketers

      • Energy service providers and retailers

Although CRM and finance suites are a natural fit for these operations, a vast segment of their business is focused on energy analytics. Data and insights have long driven SaaS solutions in the energy sector, and many consultants have built a major fragment of their business around handling analytics, reports, and management services for this niche. So it’s only time that Zoho consultants to regions with energy sector potential began looking at consulting opportunities within this arena.

Zoho Products:

CRM | Creator | Analytics

Services:

~ Data collection on the cloud over manual entries that are prone to errors

~ Data interpretation and analysis with configured reports and dashboards

~ Asset/inventory management

~ Field services

~ Workflow automation  

Go back to the industry index

 

Healthcare  SaaS services used in healthcare

Every year, more and more hospitals, clinics, and doctors are transforming the way they operate internally.

Automation. Big data. Wearable devices. IOT.

Healthcare is inundated with data and intensive collaboration. Hospital and clinics have all become increasingly reliant on the internet for managing their medical practice, and million dollar companies have already been built around software that caters specifically to the health industry, signaling the underlying opportunity.

Practo is a classic example of why consultants need to venture into this market. The company stepped in when healthcare moved to the internet. Founded by Shashank ND & Abhinav Lal in 2008, they’ve already expanded across multiple nations with a series C funding of $90 million. Since then, many healthcare providers have been turning to SaaS vendors to stay on top of their game, and the healthcare IT industry was born, revolutionizing patient care on a global scale.

While medical practitioners and hospitals have begun incorporating software into their billing and patient care systems, there’s another segment that targets entrepreneurs who are enthused about setting up internet platforms that can act as repository or directory of healthcare professionals, ranging from a general physician to surgeons. Even though portals of this kind have already been built, word is that businessmen are looking at a similar platform, but maybe to a much more targeted market (say, dermatologists or trichologists).

So if you are consulting in a region where healthcare is rapidly adopting to software for their patient management and electronic health record maintenance solutions, here are your entry points into the medical practice management market:

Zoho Products:

Creator | Campaigns | Cliq | Workdrive | Workplace | Analytics | People | SalesIQ | CRM

Services:

~ Patient portal

~ Patient scheduling

~ Medical billing

~ Remote patient monitoring

~ Electronic prescription  

Go back to the industry index

 

Finance and insurance

SaaS services used in finance and insurance industry

Apps Run The World was quoted as saying,

“In 2017, the top 10 Banking and Financial Services software vendors accounted for nearly 51% of the global Banking and Financial Services applications market. This metric has grown by 5.6%, approaching nearly $26.5 billion in license, maintenance, and subscription revenues.”

These statistics help us conclude that the money maturity sector of the nation has clearly undergone tremendous growth and rigorous evolution, scaling from the conventional banking institutions to insurance companies, NFBCs, and several other financial entities. Today, the finance sector is not merely a repository of money but a complementary universe that co-exists and enhances finance by integrating it with software services.

Non-native fin-tech players have already begun revolutionizing the BFSI sector by adopting agile software services and disrupting the legacy systems of disjointed infrastructure, making it crucial for SaaS consultants to venture in. However, unlike other segments, the core business model of finance and insurance companies aren’t transactional but one of stewardship. So, as the industry grows, it becomes critical for them to reduce the process life cycle and automate a major chunk of their operations. When it comes to SaaS, their needs are usually born of the following:

• Digitize the legal formalities customers must comply with

• Maximize on the relationship value they have built with existing clientele to reduce customer attrition

• Enhance agent productivity and collaboration with customers 

Yodlee, Lending Kart, Coin Tribe, IQlect, and many similar entities have all capitalized on the industry’s inclination towards the internet and the immediate need for instant collaboration, data analysis, and prediction to drives services intelligently. It’s about time we step into this sector, which has an immediate need for solutions that can improve productivity and streamline their day-to-day operations and communication. Here’s a high-level overview of the implementation scope in these industries for Zoho consultants who are eager to swim to success in this pool of revenue.

Zoho Products:

Desk | CRM | Creator | SalesIQ | Analytics

Services:

~ Digital insurance platforms

~ Client interaction automation

~ Wealth management             

~ Customer analytics

~ Loan origination solutions

~ Forecasting solutions

Go back to the industry index

 

Aviation

SaaS services used in aviation industry

Aviation is driven not just by airplanes, but also by rockets, drones, and the like, with all of them operating for and by the people who choose their service. Moreover, just as the trend goes, when people become an integral part of your business, it brings in the need for immediate communication and collaboration. So it is no big surprise to see this niche incline towards services on the internet. Thus, market imperatives play a vital role in the need for software and technology in the aviation industry, some of which include:

      • Improved oversight and reporting

      • Controlled access to information

      • Quicker deployment

      • Enhanced productivity

      • Improved customer engagement

However, prior to jumping into the implementation scope, it is essential for consultants to understand the vastness of this segment and how each sub sector operating within it is adopting to cloud.

For instance, let us focus on the following three subsectors: airlines, rockets, and drones.

Airlines are all about people who use domestic and international flights, including the agencies that bridge the gap between passengers and airlines. Thus, essentially any application that oversees and optimizes business processes can fit into their business model.

Rockets, on the other hand, are about the researchers, scientists, and technicians who are intensively working on a machine (vehicle). The very process of making this vehicle is cumbersome and will take a minimum of one year. In scenarios like this, productivity software is not about “communication” but more about how we can improve their internal operations. This could be software that helps them with workflow, finance management, support services, or any SaaS application that can chart, account, and evaluate the ROI from each their activities prior to the launch.

However, when you shift your consultation scope to sectors that work with drones are far more different from the former two. There was a time when drones were used in the army for defense, while now they have become another “being” we meet in our daily routine, such as delivering food or internet orders. So it’s easy to comprehend that they will need customer engagement and relationship management services to understand how they’ve been performing and to fine-tune their operations.

Zoho Products:

 Creator | Desk | CRM | Analytics | Books | Projects | People

Services:

~ Customer service excellence

~ Operations and asset management

~ Contextual marketing        

~ Business intelligence tools

~ RFID tracking

~ Ground handling and billing

~ Commercial and sales at airlines       

~ HR solutions

Go back to the industry index

 

Construction

SaaS for construction

The CIC (Construction Intelligence Center) expects the pace of expansion in the global construction industry to average 3.6% a year over the forecast period (2018 – 2022). The rising success of this industry will largely be driven by digital collaboration and analytics, reported another McKinsey feature.

While IOT, AI, and the like are already transforming construction operations, business application solutions have also been of incredible value to this industry. Here are the six prime areas that drive construction into the SaaS space:

      • Increased documentation accuracy
      • Log and track safety inspections
      • Real-time collaboration
      • Digital punch lists
      • Track data and financials
      • Streamline updates from field workers

The market overview foretells the need to enhance change management and design simple and intuitive solutions with facilities to manage the accompanying ROI to gauge their performance and re-model their approach.  

To keep up with the demands of this fast-paced world, construction companies are striving to create a digital backbone for processes done by property builders, contractors, and subcontractors. Here’s how software consultants can involve this industry under their implementation focus.

Zoho Products:

Creator | | Invoice | Analytics | ProjectsCRM | Orchestly

Services:

~ Bid management

~ Labor management

~ Document management        

~ Project management

~ Workforce and workflow management

~ Accounting solutions 

Go back to the industry index

 

Food and beverage

SaaS services used in F&B sector

Statista predicts that the F&B sector is poised to show an annual worldwide growth rate of 10.1% between 2019 and 2023.

This monumental growth of the F&B sector is driven by two segments: food processing and distribution. While the food processing sector is centered around making intelligent decisions based upon data accumulated over time and by defining process flows, the distribution space generates a giant share of opportunities for SaaS.

The changing preferences of people due to the recent wave of digitization has altered this niche’s adoption of softwares. Being the largest and fastest-growing market of many nations, it’s about time consultants began pitching their solutions to enhance this niche’s operations. We have narrowed down five entry points that consultants could pursue to extend their implementation expertise to this industry. 

      • Dairy 
      • Cold storage
      • Retail food
      • Online grocery
      • Food service

Here’s how some of the Zoho products have been enhancing the operation of these 5 segments in the F&B sector:

Zoho Products:

Creator | Analytics | SalesIQ | Form | CRM

Services:

~ Restaurant management tools

~ Sales forecasting management

~ Order management        

~ Supply chain management

~ Inventory management

~ Accounting solutions 

~ Commercials        

~ Human resource

Go back to the industry index

 

Tourism

SaaS services used in the tourism industry

The global travel and tourism sector grew at 3.9% to contribute a record $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy in 2018. For the eighth consecutive year, this was above the growth rate of world GDP, according to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Thus, the economic impact and the social importance of this niche is obvious.

So, here are the segments that drive the industry’s adoption of software:

      • Tour operator

      • Accommodation

      • Catering

      • Transportation

      • Attractions

      • Tourism agencies

The advent of software has been changing how each segment communicates with its end users. This is a niche driven by people, so the industry’s inclination towards cloud services to enhance its operations and meet customer expectations is apparent.

All of these segments operate predominantly on the internet, bringing in huge opportunities for our consultants. Here’s how you could step into their implementation demands:

Zoho Products:

Creator | Projects | Invoice | SalesIQ | Analytics | Desk | Sites | CRM

Services:

~Website builder        

~ Commissioning                                                     

~ Finance and invoicing                                

~ Help desk solution

~ Finance management

~ Fleet management                                             

~ BI solutions                                                  

~ Booking management                                              

Go back to the industry index

 

Education

SaaS used in education

According to the research report, the global education software market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 11.0% by 2022 during the forecast period 2018 – 2022.

The past decade has witnessed a revolution in the way educational institutions operate. A niche that was once dominated by government-owned schools and universities has now moved into privatization. Knowledge and learning that were once confined within the walls of the institutions has now become open for anyone with access to the internet.

Today the education industry has uniquely structured and sculpted the way they operate to suit the trends of the moment. Here are the segments driving this niche:

      • Formal education

      • Training and professional education

      • Skill development

      • Vocational training

While a major fragment of the above segments function within confined rooms, recently they’ve begun to create learning platforms on the internet. The success of this market is monumental— the global online education market is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 10.26% during the forecast period 2018 – 2023.

With all these opportunities, the software used here is not merely limited to online platform development or course management solutions; there are also opportunities for consultants to monetize from online training programs. SagitaZ’s Zenith school of business is a classic example of how a consultant can leverage the opportunities of this market.

Zoho Products:

Creator | CRM | People | SalesIQ | Workplace | Analytics

Services:

~ Course management

~ Student assessment

~ Learning delivery solutions        

~ Accommodation management

~ Student information systems

~ Feedback polling

Go back to the industry index

 

The bottomline

Regardless of the growth numbers, the overall trend predicts that businesses operating in different segments have already begun moving into the cloud space. Companies are eager to take advantage of digital opportunities in their markets, thus pushing the business consulting industry onto the trajectory of growth. So it’s about time consultants recognize the limitations of their existing market focus and explore opportunities that tap into thriving niches to accelerate their revenue generation process and brand visibility in the market. 

While we have covered a major fragment of the emerging industries, let us know in the comments on any opportunities you have come across in other niches that drive the global economy.

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