No one likes to miss out on something good. And one of the best ways to not miss out is to know what’s coming up. This is true in life….and in SaaS. It’s important to know what’s coming so that you can prepare, be inspired with ideas, maneuver, and get a leg up on the competition. So we’ve dusted off the old crystal ball and had a look at what trends are going to be important in 2024. We’ve made a spanking new list of the best things coming up. It’s a wide variety of trends to make sure that there’s something for you to jump on. Ready? 1. AI-Powered…everything Of course AI is nothing new- we’ve all been talking about it. But this is more than just AI-chatbots or Chat GPT. AI is steadily becoming an integral part of everyday business operations. Though it’s not great at replicating human creativity, personal experience, and emotional relating, it’s really good and one thing. Doing all the things we don’t want to do so that our time is free to do what we love. And that’s what makes it so awesome. AI algorithms analyze user behavior to offer tailored recommendations. It can anticipate service issues. It can collate and share data between teams. It can automatically do all that stuff your teams despise doing – everything from spotting sales opportunities to invoicing and billing, to marketing funnels and reports and forecasting. This means we’ve got more time to work using our talents. Yes, please. 2. Breaking down borders One of the most thrilling things for a SaaS company is expansion. And there’s something very exciting about gaining a foothold in the global SaaS world. And why not? The more we expand, the more we grow because we get diverse experiences and ideas that will take us into directions that we would have never considered before. And it’s just as exciting for the people get all this new good SaaS stuff too. Imagine all this juicy tech you’ve been drooling over is finally there for you. It’s democratizing tech. No one loses in this scenario. And as the world gets smaller (and data sharing gets better), it’s now so much easier to be in the middle of nowhere and get the SaaS software that you need. Though there are some challenges like language and culture barriers, adapting to local regulations, and ensuring data compliance across continents, when you get these under your belt, they become strengths and a distinct advantage over your competition = 3. The Rise of Vertical, targeted SaaS Solutions When it comes to SaaS (or anything else really) customization is king. That’s why SaaS companies are taking the emphasis away from horizontal software development and going vertical. They’re taking on the unique challenges of sectors like Healthcare and real estate that really need solutions. Platforms that are specialized and built to specific needs can completely revolutionize workflows. They can radically change an industry – just look at the digitalization of healthcare over the last 5-10 years. That laser-focused approach gives more value to customers. That’s exactly what they’re looking for. And you can give it to them over your competitors. 4. Next-Level Customer Experience (CX) There’s the Empire State Building level. And then there’s the Burj Khalifa level. Customers can be a nightmare. They’re picky, they’re flaky, and most have very little problem leaving you if that means they save ten bucks a year. That’s a tough landscape for you. That means to keep them coming back for more, you have to offer more than just an amazing product. And the most leading-edge companies are using data to offer a brilliant experience. How? The right software can help you pre-emptively offer solutions and personalized content, simplify your onboarding and user processes, create useful integration capabilities, and improve day-to-day communication even down to the words you use. Bottom line- you got to give them an amazing experience. Or free unlimited ice cream. Honestly, that would work for us. Pistachio, please. 5. Find Your Customers New types of tech can help you find your customers – or should we say help them find you? Voice search optimization is a hot topic right now, and it’s only going to get hotter! It goes a step beyond good optimization across “written” devices and platforms. But as voice generative AI grows and we get used to platforms like Suri and Alexa, there’s a huge opportunity to get a leg up on competitors by rethinking SEO strategies and understanding that questions a customer asks can be different to the questions that they write. And if you keep on top of options that keep new tech like voice search optimization accessible to disabled people, you’ll not only grow your market presence, but you make your brand more accessible to people who tend to be ignored by most tech companies. Win win. 6. Collaboration to the Max Who doesn’t love collaboration? It’s exciting, fun, and as long as we’re not talking high school history report where you end up being the one who does most of the work (we’re not bitter! Yes we are) it’s really fulfilling. As long as you have electric and access to the internet, the sky’s the limit. And SaaS has decided to come along for the ride, which is why we’re starting to see tools that offer seamless collaboration capabilities for things like brainstorming, collaborative docs and whiteboards, project management and data-flow, no matter the time zone or physical space. This means all of us in the SaaS field not only have a need that we can fulfil, but also we can take advantage and start a few cool collaborations of our own. 7. PaaS Revolution: The Builders’ Playground Sometimes you want a little snack- like a slice of your friend’s pizza, right of of there box. But sometimes you need the whole pizza, a salad, garlic bread, and some arancini. Platform as a Service (PaaS) goes way beyond the software that SaaS offers by offering the whole kit and caboodle – an entire platform. It’s really appealing to companies that must stay agile no matter how fast everything moves around them. It’s great for you because you eliminate the external issues that come with companies running your software on a different platform. It’s scalable, it gives access to as many users as you want, and – possibly the best news – when you develop new products, you don’t have to start completely at the beginning with tons of code. So you save money on development too. 8. Low Code or No Code? Both platforms will skyrocket because everyone’s sick of doing things the hard way. App development has long involved code writing that’s as speedy as a sloth riding a snail through a molasses lake. But now, things are changing and software can now be constructed with drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built modules. Developers who need to move fast can use low-code platforms, and no-code solutions open the gates for tech-allergic users. This is about making SaaS more accessible to everyone, which can only broaden your customer base if you get involved. And imagine the types of industries you can collaborate with now that coding won’t be an issue. 9. Micro-Niche, Baby! Segmenting is one of the best things that has happened to marketing, sales, and product development. It helps you go niche! But now, there’s micro-niche and forward-thinking SaaS companies are investing in going further, with super-specialized solutions that address specific, nuanced needs. And why not? An unmet need’s an unmet need. And it makes sense. If you’re planning a music festival in Sedona, Arizona that’s pretty niche. But each group – the punk band from Atlanta, the soul band from San Francisco, the pagan a capella group from upstate New York, and that inexplicably what-even-are-they group from somewhere no one heard when they were announced – each one of these has different needs, different customers with their own preferences, etc. You wouldn’t bring in one type of food or drink for everyone. It might seem weird to invest in such a potentially small sliver of people, but the more nichier the niche, the less likely your competition are “bothering” to meet their needs. 10. Emotional Design Make ‘em cry. We’re just kidding. It’s good to not make your customers cry. Unless it’s from joy! And that’s what happens when you infuse your operations, offerings, and product development with empathy and emotion. It comes as a shock to those of us who work in SaaS, but most non-SaaSy people HATE technology. They love what tech brings them, but come on, they don’t want anything to do with how it’s made, how it’s run, or how it’s maintained. That’s the responsibility of their IT friend or kid to set up and fix. But if we channel what we know about how people feel when they use software into our products, we’ll make a more human-centric experience. Emotional intelligence built into the software and its workflows enables more meaningful connections with customers. It can be the difference between good software and something outstanding that people love and recommend to their friends. Which one do you love? We’ve got to admit, they all sound pretty tempting. Which trends gave you an instant “hmmmm” moment? The more we know, the better we try, the broader our base, the chunkier our company’s bank account. Now that we know some trends to anticipate in 2024, we can get started. Just after we have some pistachio ice cream. 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