Technology & Innovation

Digital transformation, a shift of processes


13 Feb 2021

For those that had to make the jump overnight to a digital way of business, they had to rely heavily on SAAS businesses. Here’s a run-down on how SAAS helped the SMBs post COVID-19.
The global economy has taken a beating in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. From changing mode of operations to working from home, companies needed to be connected yet socially distanced to complete day to day tasks as well as remain productive. For companies that have already adopted a digital lifestyle this is easily achieved, but for those that had to make the jump overnight to a digital way of business, they had to rely heavily on SAAS businesses. Here’s a run-down on how SAAS helped the SMBs post COVID-19.
Barring any physical production aspects of some operations, most functions within a company can be moved to a purely digital form which leads to a reduction of paper waste and an increase in productivity. The time saved in creating physical copies and getting them manually delivered to the intended recipient is saved – not to mention the process of any form acknowledgement using the same means. In addition, the money saved from reducing paper usage, printers and ink, as well as electricity adds up in the long run.
SAAS or Software as a Service is a concept that has been around for a long time now and has become more and more relevant over time. With the quarantine imposed by COVID-19, they have become the lifesavers for many companies that needed to switch to remote operations. 
The first thing that most legacy SMBs need to move to a SAAS system is communication – from installed on-premise servers to cloud based solutions providers. Services like Google for Business, Microsoft 365 and Zoho One have seen an uptrend for people moving to a cloud based and secure email solution. Part of communications is the ability to move meetings to an online space – and Zoom has been trending in this space. With worthy alternatives in the form of Skype, Google Meet, and other solutions within the Microsoft and Zoho suite, these SaaS helped businesses resume “meetings” from within the confines of their homes and continue any negotiations with their customers, as well as remain in constant connect with their colleagues and peers from the company.
The second most common use of SAAS was the movement to collaborative productivity tools like Google Drive and the suite of word processing and spreadsheet solutions connected to this. Office 365 also provide excellent solutions to this end. Both solutions include sizable cloud based secure storage that can accessed from anywhere and shared with almost anyone. 
For sales support, most commonly used Customer Relationship Management or CRM software providers either already provided a cloud-based solution for ease of access from anywhere, or quickly offered their customers a solution in the form of a cloud based alternative of their own software. This ensured sales teams had access to data and information as well as stayed connected with their customers as necessary. 
Accounting and marketing also saw a large form of movement to cloud based solutions with Quickbooks and similar accounting software allowing companies to move their accounts to a more connected environment. Marketing functions saw an increase in the use of Customer Data Platforms like HubSpot which solved most problems for sales and marketing teams alike.
The most valuable offering from SAAS companies, however, was the change in pricing policy that SMBs incurred with the switch to a cloud-based solution. Typically, with an on-premise solution, the SMB would face costs of servers, 24-hour technical support and even a full time IT team. With the movement to the cloud, SMBs could save costs by switching to a pay as you go model, and saving on the costs for servers, software licensing, management of these software and hardware, as well a full-time installed IT team. Most SAAS companies provide all of these as part of their existing solutions and with a gth in competition there is no possibility for them to overcharge SMBs for the services provided and have to remain relevant and cost-effective.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is not something to celebrate, SAAS companies have surely seen an upsurge in adoption and are certainly helping the SMB segment become more digitally viable as well as being more environmentally conscious.