Software as a service (SaaS) seems to be entering a fourth stage, and this is where technology is really going to take automation and optimization of your business to the next level.
Before we dive into what this new stage is bringing to the table, and what it will look like, let’s take quick run through what the other three stages were to set up where the market is going from here.
Stage 1: The Cloud
Moving software to the cloud was a paradigm shift for the industry. This enabled teams to access their business applications on any device and in any part of the world. It lowered the upfront cost of implementing business tools, allowing for small and medium sized businesses to access software that was mostly relegated to the enterprise crowd. Businesses of all types were now able to compete at a higher level. It also created an entire new industry that is thriving and driving some of the best return for investors in history. Taking software from primarily on-site hosted to putting it on the cloud – setting the stage for how businesses operate today.
Stage 2: SaaS Proliferation
The second stage was where we start to see a proliferation of SaaS based tools among all facets of business management. Here is where startups started creating tools for managing everything from your payroll and accounting to your social media and advertising. New applications are popping up at a staggering pace at this juncture, with each business vying for the top spot and fastest market share. There were a lot of good and bad ideas during this stage. People were looking at every aspect of a business’s daily operations and tried to figure out how they could better that process through a cloud-based software solution. This is still happening.
Stage 3: Connectivity
At this stage we’ve had some game changing technology on the market that has helped people be more productive. This includes running all aspects of their business more efficiently and using data to make better business decisions. But for the most part, these tools worked pretty much in silos. For example, you have your CRM, accounting software, and fulfillment software all doing their job, but if you wanted to pass information from one to the other, it was an arduous and manual process of downloading data sets and uploading them in your other systems. This is where API's really started to make its way to the scene. In this stage software companies were opening up API endpoints so that businesses could start connecting one tool to another to programmatically send information back and forth. This also fueled the rise of companies like Zapier, taking advantage of these API openings to help enable better tool to tool connectivity. Being able to pass data from one tool to another created huge efficiencies and opportunities for automation.
Stage 4: The Next Stage - Centralization
This brings us to today - Centralization is the next stage of the SaaS industry, and what Qebot is a big part of. What we mean specifically by centralization is the nucleus of your data. At the end of stage three of the SaaS evolution we have essential software with one-to-one connectivity between most of your tools. This is great for passing information back and forth and automating some daily tasks for you and your team. Next, through centralizing the data from all of these tools, we can take automation and optimization of your business to the next level. Instead of connecting all of your tools together through one-to-one API connections, centralization takes all of the API endpoints of your business tools and connects them into a single hub. This allows for the tool-to-tool connectivity that you had before, but also so much more.
In stage three you can pass information back and forth between tools, but your data is still in silos. By bringing your business data into a single system, you can start to use that data to get a more holistic view of your business. Moreover, using AI, we start to extract data across all of your business’ functions to create different models of how your business could operate. We can then test those models against your data and industry data benchmarks to help you optimize all aspects of your business.
Let’s take a few examples:
Using just your data:
A centralized hub could take the data from your advertising spend, your cost of goods sold, operational cost per product you sell, sales cycle cost, per product profit margin, and market demand for your product and optimize your ad spend. Let’s say the system runs a whole slew of modeled tests and can come back to you saying if you took 3% of your ad budget from product A, and 7% from product B, and put that money into ad spend for product C, because of your margin, cost of acquisition, and cost of your sales cycle, you could see a 4% increase in your profit margin – would that be a test you would be willing to give a try?
Your data + benchmark data:
Let’s take an inventory example here. Say you’re an ice cream shop owner that orders fresh inventory on a weekly basis. Using your historical data, you have a pretty good grasp that during a specific time of the year you’ll sell “x” number of cones, so you stock appropriately. But what if we were able to use industry benchmark data paired with local weather forecasting? Let's say industry data shows that when the weather breaks below 70 degrees for this example, ice cream sales decline by 30%. Using your data, paired with benchmark industry data and outside data sources like weather reporting, the system could alert you that you will likely see a 30% decrease in business over the next week as a cooling cycle is arriving.You reduce inventory by 20% to stay on the safe side and save 20% on inventory loss.
This is what Qebot is building towards. By centralizing the best SaaS tools on the market into a centralized platform we can build a hub that harnesses your data into a single optimization engine. Right now Qebot customers are enjoying massive increases in productivity and huge cost savings by simply being able to access and manage all of their business tools a single-sign-on platform. The future will be one of making your business run at its optimal capacity through data driven automation and resource management.