A brief overview of SaaS in Asia


After years of steady growth of SaaS in the western continents, the Asia Pacific market is slowly catching up with the industry! The Asian SaaS companies offering value for money alternatives to western SaaS offerings are slowly beginning to move up the food chain. 

What Led to the Emergence of SaaS in the Asian Tech World?

Software-as-a-service is one of the three most popular types of cloud computing. An external provider handles the software for applications and its access to customers over the internet. This can again be of three types: 

  • Public SaaS: A third-party provider owns and operates the cloud that is delivered through the internet 
  • Private SaaS refers to cloud computing done exclusively by an organization for its requirements. 
  • Hybrid SaaS is a mixture of both private and public SaaS. It gives you more control and flexibility, increases ease of working, and is also cost-effective. 

Asia has recently been credited as the fastest growing economy within the IT sector. Countries such as India and China have dramatically contributed to this growth rate. In fact, the output of the Asian tech world has exceeded even the average global output!

With this backdrop, you’d possibly question the accuracy of calling Asia one of the forerunners of technology-based development when they continue to remain far behind with respect to the latest sustainable forms of development. Better late than never, though! And the Asian countries have come in strong to the growing field of SaaS technology. 

The focus on developing indigenous companies for Cloud computing and SaaS is essential as western vendors have not been able to fulfill the needs of this sector in Asia. From an economic point of view, the recent economic downturn has resulted in industries looking for budget-friendly options. The SaaS industry minimizes the need for companies to have their own hardware and software to install and run applications. 

Additionally, there is also an urgency to improve the productivity of companies to withstand the mounting competition. The ever-growing needs of the global world are continuing to cater to unbelievably rapid market growth for most companies from all sectors. With respect to the SaaS industry, Asian SaaS companies face competition from the rising Asian market and the established western market that has monopolized the Asian continent. 

Fields of Focus for the Asian SaaS platform 

To understand SaaS development areas in the Asian continent, we need to understand the user base first. Since the inclusion of Saas within the technological world, the user variety has also increased- people who were not tech wizards also started using SaaS. Individuals who had previously preferred manual processes were now opting to work with SaaS. This included non-users of packaged applications, blue-collar workers, and the general public who were non-users of technology. 

Now, what are the requirements of these users?

The new workforce is looking for easy-to-use software that requires zero training beforehand. In simpler terms, the new user base involves software that is easy to comprehend and work with, much like social media applications! This ease of working is expected to directly reflect in the company’s productivity, i.e., enhance their productivity. 

Since we have established the user base, let’s briefly discuss the major evolving sections of this sector. The up-and-coming avenues of development can be analyzed under two divisions: applications and verticals.

Development of SaaS Applications 

Based on the market requirements of the Asian-Pacific IT scene, the newly evolving SaaS industry is focusing mainly on the following areas of app development: 

  • Customer relationship management 
  • Human resource management 
  • Enterprise resource planning 
  • Supply chain management 
  • Web conferencing platforms
  • Messaging applications

As the Asian continent is still in its early phase of Saas development, it is attempting to focus on creating broad applications. These applications are designed with the understanding that they can work across any vertical instead of creating use-case-specific SaaS, which is usually a part of the well-developed SaaS industry. The development of these fields has shown positive changes within companies that have adopted this networking system. For example, there has been an increase in inbound demand, reduced sales cycles, and noteworthy account expansions. 

Freshworks is one of the first completely Indian cloud computing companies that has managed to create a global market for its services. 

Development of Verticals

SaaS verticals refer to the software that is created for a specific industry standard or niche. It is often for a unique clientele and is specifically developed according to their needs. The development of SaaS in the Asian continent can be understood as the growth of 6 main verticals, which are as follows: 

  • Education & Healthcare 
  • Telecommunications 
  • Information technology 
  • BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Retail

Statistically, the BFSI vertical is currently the fastest growing sector that dominates the SaaS industry. As per the evolving growth rate, SaaS is predicted to do well in the manufacturing and retail sectors. 

Specifications of the Asian Market 

The world of technology has adapted itself to create a niche within the Asian-Pacific continent. However, it differs from the form and structure of tech that’s present in the west. This is due to the different communities present in other spheres of the world. Similarly, the Asian market also has specific requirements from the SaaS industry. The structure of SaaS verticals and applications that the West created does not satisfy the needs of Asian companies. 

The highly hierarchical system of decision-making that’s visible in the Asian tech field often requires highly complex applications for workflow automation. At the same time, these applications might have only a unique clientele as the variety present in this continent makes it impossible for one size to fit all! Furthermore, most companies often have changing requirements that reflect the changing market scene. One more significant issue prevalent in this region was the lack of skilled software developers. This lack of talent prevented the development of SaaS initially. Fortunately, today we have numerous developers who are interested in this industry. 

On a more positive note, there is a significant growth possibility for easy-to-use interactive networks in Asia. Also, there is an increasing demand for software that automates certain processes for companies that have a large consumer base. 

Conclusion 

Although the APAC is entering the SaaS industry a little later than its global counterparts, some companies have already created an international name. Once again, Asian qualities of dedication and determination might prove to be essential in rapidly developing the SaaS industry in these regions. And if Asian countries were to keep out all western competition, like Japan already did, indigenous SaaS companies would sprout up like weeds in an unkempt field.

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