What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (2023)

Updated on by Hayley Brown

Read time: 7 minutes

Just like in any industry, there are types and leaders that dominate the market. Before joining Cyclr I was unaware of the scale of the SaaS or cloud infrastructure industry. I’d previously worked with two different Software as a Service application. Salesforce is a horizontal model, and Class Systems is a vertical model. Both compete in a crowded market, but who is leading?

We explore the types and categories of SaaS applications on the market. It may help to determine which application is appropriate for your business software solutions.

Software as a Service and Industry Growth

SaaS is defined as a cloud-based subscription service, which makes software easily accessible over the internet. It removes the need to download software onto your computer, and thus is able to provide regular updates and support.

The SaaS industry has been steadily growing over the past 10 years. The market size in 2020 doubled that of 2014 to 157 billion U.S. dollars. Leaders in the industry include Salesforce, Microsoft and IBM who have the largest market share in the global SaaS market.

The growth of the market can be attributed to a combination of technological innovation, customer behaviour and demand. Recently external factors such as the COVID pandemic have caused market increases. The pandemic, according to Gartner has seen businesses forced to focus on ‘preserving cash flow and optimise IT costs, support and secure a remote workforce, and ensure resiliency. Post-pandemic spending on cloud infrastructure and software is only expected to increase.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (1)

Types of SaaS – What is Horizontal and Vertical SaaS?

There are two different types of Software as a Service model, horizontal SaaS and vertical SaaS.

A horizontal SaaS is a structure well used by established cloud services such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Slack, Hubspot etc. The horizontal model allows big businesses to cater to a broad customer base, from ranging industries, to run their businesses effectively and efficiently. The model makes it easier to expansion or bundle up their offering. Meaning they can expand their services to incorporate a variety of SaaS categories under one roof. For example, Google or Microsoft developed communication products in the shape of Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams.

On the other hand, vertical SaaS solutions are created to target a specific or niche industry. Examples include insurance, trade or an underserved industry. The model focuses on the industry’s verticals and creates solutions for the niche industry’s pain points and needs. For example, Guidewire, a SaaS solution that only creates software for the insurance industry or Toast software for the restaurant industry.

(Video) The BEST Sales Lead Generation Method to DOMINATE B2B Sales & SaaS Sales | Sales VS Marketing

Within the SaaS market, there are categories of applications that provide software solutions dependent on your business, industry or customer needs.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (2)

Customer Relationship Management or CRM

Customer data is an invaluable resource for any business. CRMs allow businesses to collate and store all their customer data in an efficient and secure way. In storing customer data effectively it can help improve customer relationships, customer segmentation and better protection of data privacy.

The most common users of CRM software are B2C companies, which sell directly to consumers. The departments within those businesses that use CRM software are sales, marketing and customer service teams. CRM software enables users to automate repetitive tasks, create sales reports, forecast, and scale processes over time. They are able to manage communication with customers and manage customer data in a centralised database across your entire organisation.

Popular CRMs include Salesforce, Mailchimp, Pipedrive, Hubspot and Zendesk. To understand their connector methods you can find them all in Cyclr’s Connector Library.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (3)

Human Resources (HR)

Within every company, there is a human resource (HR) department. They are responsible for managing and supporting employees whether it be recruitment, training or administering employee benefits.

HR SaaS software solutions provide a number of benefits to business users. The ability to manage employees in regard to work schedules, holidays, sick leave etc. The software can also keep track of employees’ performance, and time with the company and help retain valuable employees. The HR department is an integral part of a business which provides updates and communication to employees. This helps develop the company’s collaborative culture by keeping employees informed, engaged and productive.

Commonly used HR SaaS software solutions include Breathe HR, People HR and Bullhorn. You can find them all in our ready-made SaaS application Connector Library, and further understand how they can be incorporated into your integration strategy.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (4)


Keeping track of finances for any business is crucial. Therefore account and billing SaaS software solutions can provide a myriad of benefits to the user. They help you keep track of cash flow, transactions, and budgets. Using a SaaS application to manage a company’s finances can help save time and effort. Specifically in time spent reconciling accounts, financial errors, data entry, payroll, taxes and customer payments.

Typical industries using account and/or billing SaaS software include banking, business services, manufacturing, retail and the government. Popular accounting or billing SaaS companies include Quickbooks, Chargebee and Chargify.

(Video) WARNING: Do NOT Sell Highlevel as SaaS...Do THIS Instead!


In the past year, communication-based SaaS software such as Slack and Zoom have seen unprecedented usage. Communication-based software solutions have replaced typical office methods such as email, phone calls and in-person meetings, with chat messaging, video and/or voice calls.

When a communication SaaS is integrated with collaborative SaaS vendors, such as Google Drive, employees can share and discuss projects. Enabling features such as receiving automated in-app notifications when changes are made. Providing a seamless service, better collaboration, and communication is located in one place.

Want to see how SaaS Communication software could be incorporated into your business? You can find Slack, Zoom and others in our Connector Library.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (5)

Project Management

Businesses typically balance between multiple projects at one time, or at least projects are juggled within teams. A Project Management SaaS is a solution that can help businesses or teams stay organised and on top of their ongoing projects. They provide the ability to plan, track, allocate, schedule, communicate and collaborate with other team members on a project in one place.

PM SaaS can show the evolution of the project and track who has completed what in your team. Trello, a project management application allows teams to manage projects, organise tasks, and keep productivity high.

Project Management SaaSs are typically used by larger businesses in industries such as Services (IT, Consulting), Financial, Marketing and Advertising. Popular SaaS vendors include Trello, GitHub and Basecamp.

Content Management System (CMS) and E-Commerce

A CMS is typically web-based software or a low-code toolkit that helps a user to create a website or app. It gives the user the ability to create, manage and modify content without the need to know how to code or technical knowledge.

WordPress is a great example of a CMS that provides building blocks for a website. An e-commerce example would be Shopify allowing business owners to add products, adjust content and monitor changes.

Content Management Systems have a plethora of benefits. They are user-friendly, allow for quick deployment, easy upkeep and maintenance, cost-effective, scalable, and have inbuilt SEO benefits. CMS solutions are used across a variety of different industries to promote new products, publish articles or manage social media.

Other types of popular SaaS solutions include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Experience, Marketing/Email, Product Management, and others. You can see all our SaaS connectors in our pre-existing, ready-made SaaS connector library for more information.

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (6)
(Video) The ONLY 4 ways to MAKE BILLIONS as a service based business..
Orchestrate your SaaS applications with Cyclr

Learn How

What types of SaaS are dominating the Industry?

The horizontal SaaS model dominates the SaaS market which you can see from G2’s Crowd Report:

  1. Microsoft – Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, PowerPoint, Office (Collaboration & Communication)
  2. Hubspot – Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, CMS Hub, Service Hub, Academy (CMS, Marketing, Help Desk)
  3. Zoom Video Communications – Zoom, Zoom Rooms, Zoom Video Webinar, Keybase, Zoom Scheduler (Communication)
  4. Atlassian – Trello, Jira, Confluence, Jira Service Management, Bitbucket (Project / Product Management, Help Desk)
  5. ActiveCampaign – ActiveCampaign (Marketing)
  6. Smartsheet – Smartsheet, 10,000ft, Smartsheet for Gmail Add-On for G-Suite, Smartsheet for G-Suite (Project Management)
  7. Google – Drive, Forms, Docs, Hangouts, Analytics (Collaboration & Communication)
  8. Cisco – Webex Meetings, Jabber, Webex (formerly Webex Teams), Duo Security, Cisco Umbrella (Communication & Security)
  9. ZoomInfo – ZoomInfo, ZoomInfo Engage, NeverBounce, InboxAI, FormComplete (Sales)
  10. SurveyMonkey – SurveyMonkey, Enterprise, Wufoo, GetFeedback, Market Research Solutions (Survey & Customer Experience)

The top ten listed SaaS solutions are all big-name brands that offer products that can be used no matter what your industry is. The reasons for this dominance could be because of the numerous benefits horizontal SaaS models provide. For not only the developer but also their customers.

For instance, a horizontal SaaS has a broad target and a more accessible market of potential consumers who are easier to reach. Products can be introduced to the market much more quicker, and customers have familiarity with large horizontal SaaS companies.

For their customers, they are a cost-effective solution. For instance, making only one investment in a business software solution. Meaning marketing or project management needs can be accomplished from one platform. This can then lead to better collaboration amongst the customer’s internal teams.

Vertical SaaS for Niche Sectors are Rising

Earlier this year we wrote our SaaS predictions for the year ahead. Of those, we predicted that there would be an increased opportunity for vertically focused SaaS solutions. Vertical SaaS companies can target specific pain points experienced in their industry. They can tackle segments of the SaaS market or niche sectors that are underserved. By delivering more business value to a narrower target audience.

Vertical SaaSs can move away from the oversaturated markets and provide better outcomes for their specific sectors. Their primary benefit is the ability to go deep into the industry to offer solutions to specific challenges faced. Unlike a horizontal SaaS skimming the surface of multiple industries.

(Video) Vertical SaaS 2.0: How Barbershops Are Creating a SaaS Rocketship with CRV GP and Squire Co-Founders

Will vertical SaaS disrupt the oversaturated SaaS applications dominating the industry? They are on the rise so we can only wait and see.

Other SaaS Resources

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (7)

Low Code is revolutionising the software industry: what type is dominating?

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (8)

Growing your SaaS business with online communities

What Types of SaaS are Dominating the Industry? | Cyclr (9)

What Types of Platforms Do Businesses Need to Run in the Age of WFH?


What are the top 3 most important aspects of SaaS? ›

Some of the must have or nice to have features and key characteristics of SaaS applications are the following:
  • - Multi-tenancy model.
  • - Automated provisioning.
  • - Single Sign On.
  • - Subscription based billing.
  • - High availability.
  • - Elastic Infrastructure.
  • - Data Security.
  • - Application Security.
Dec 21, 2022

What are the most popular SaaS categories? ›

The most common types of SaaS solutions are Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Content Management System (CMS), Project Management Software, Sales, Marketing, eCommerce.

Which industries use SaaS most? ›

Leaders in the industry include Salesforce, Microsoft and IBM who have the largest market share in the global SaaS market. The growth of the market can be attributed to a combination of technological innovation, customer behaviour and demand.

What type of industry is SaaS? ›

Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.

What are two SaaS examples? ›

Examples of SaaS

Google Workspace (formerly GSuite) Dropbox. Salesforce. Cisco WebEx.

What is SaaS and examples? ›

SaaS uses the Internet to deliver subscription software services, which are managed by a third-party vendor. Well-known SaaS examples include Dropbox, Google Workspace, and Salesforce. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offers access to resources such as servers, storage, memory, and other services.

What are the different types of SaaS companies? ›

The two types of SaaS companies are those that provide software as a service to individual user-customers, or members of the general public; and those who provide SaaS to a business for use in their commercial functions. These are known as B2C and B2B.

What is SaaS technology trends 2022? ›

Data analytics is a top SaaS industry trend of 2022 and a critical component for many SaaS services. It assists companies in streamlining their operations and accumulating actionable customer information. Experts are hoping for a 23.3% growth in end-user expenditure on analytics-centric SaaS in 2022.

What is SaaS commonly used for? ›

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples are email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365). SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider.

What are the 2 basic components of SaaS? ›

The essential SaaS components are: CRM system. Marketing automation.

Is SaaS a good industry? ›

Is SaaS sales a good career? Yes. The growth of the SaaS industry means that a job within it comes with a certain degree of financial stability. SaaS sales is also a rewarding job for a motivated and talented sales professional.

What are the 3 keys of success in industry? ›

The three key things that all long-lasting companies share, he posited, are: Great vision.
  • A Successful Business Needs a Strong Vision. ...
  • Smart Investments Allow for Growth. ...
  • People Are the Foundation of Business Success.
Dec 23, 2019

What are the top challenges facing a SaaS industry? ›

Challenges in the SaaS industry
  • Commoditization of SaaS. ...
  • Market consolidation. ...
  • Usage-based pricing and monetization reengineering. ...
  • Hybrid work and dispersed team management. ...
  • Service decentralization and unbundling. ...
  • Privacy and compliance changes.

What are the 5 key security elements of SaaS model? ›

Seven security risks to discuss with your SaaS supplier
  • Access management. Access management is critical for every SaaS application due to the presence of sensitive data. ...
  • Misconfigurations. ...
  • Regulatory compliance. ...
  • Storage. ...
  • Retention. ...
  • Disaster recovery. ...
  • Privacy and data breaches. ...
  • Risk assessment.
Dec 4, 2022

What is an example of a SaaS product? ›

Examples of popular SaaS products include: Salesforce. Google Workspace apps. Microsoft 365.

Is Amazon a SaaS company? ›

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform provided by Amazon that includes a mixture of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and packaged-software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

What are some SaaS ideas? ›

Micro-SaaS ideas for 2023
  • Workforce and time management.
  • Process automation in marketing, sales, and other operations.
  • Invoicing, accounting, and financial planning.
  • Email management.
  • Training and learning.
  • Analytics.
  • Plugins and add-ons.
  • Apps.
Jan 2, 2023

Why is SaaS the best model? ›

With lower overhead costs, a simplified sales process, more efficient operations and shockingly high multiples when you sell the company, it's hard to beat the SaaS business model. SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a part of almost everyone's lives today.

Why do companies prefer SaaS? ›

Lower Cost: SaaS applications usually reside in a shared environment, so the hardware and software licensing costs are lower than traditional models. Another significant benefit is that you can scale the customer base, whether it's for small or mid-level businesses.

Which cloud is best for SaaS? ›

IBM Cloud is one of the most used cloud providers. IBM Cloud focuses on IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS services mainly. Since it is a customizable platform, you can use it according to your business needs.

How do SaaS attract customers? ›

11 Ways to Attract New Customers to Your SaaS Business
  1. Clearly Define Your Ideal Customer. ...
  2. Set SMART Goals. ...
  3. Determine The Best Acquisition Channels For Your SaaS. ...
  4. Publish Relevant, Useful Content. ...
  5. Ask For Referrals. ...
  6. Tap Into Your Network. ...
  7. Build A Community Around Your Product. ...
  8. Invest Into Email Marketing.
Jul 28, 2021

What makes SaaS attractive investment? ›

Investors like SaaS companies because their subscription fees, which recur every month or year, make the revenues predictable. Well-run SaaS companies are also inherently scalable, as the cost of serving each customer goes down as SaaS companies grow.

What are SaaS platforms? ›

SaaS stands for “Software-as-a-Service.” This kind of software is hosted in the cloud and customers access their applications remotely, often through a subscription package. In this environment, the SaaS platform serves as a key piece of technological infrastructure.

Is Google an example of SaaS? ›

From a network that spans the globe to innovative solutions that transform organizations, Google Cloud has SaaS built into our DNA.

Is Netflix a SaaS application? ›

Is Netflix a SaaS? Yes, Netflix is a SaaS organization that provides on-demand videos using the software.

How many SaaS platforms are there? ›

SaaS Company Stats 2022 (Top Picks)

There are currently approximately 30,000 SaaS companies. Globally, there are about 14 billion SaaS customers. The US has the largest proportion of SaaS companies (around 60%). Salesforce has the largest SaaS market share at just under 10%.

What is the most important barrier to SaaS? ›

Lack of adoption strategy. A lack of a clear adoption strategy and budget is the single biggest reason that businesses fail to make the most out of SaaS, and ultimately lose money.

What are the elements of SaaS? ›

5 Essential Elements of Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Cost Per Acquisition. What does it cost to acquire one customer? ...
  • Churn Rate. How many customers do you lose per month? ...
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue. ...
  • Revenue Per customer. ...
  • Lifetime value.
Aug 19, 2016

What are different types of SaaS products? ›

Here are some common SaaS software types that can benefit your business processes and users:
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software. ...
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software. ...
  • Accounting Software. ...
  • Project Management Software. ...
  • Email Marketing Software.
Mar 3, 2021

What are SaaS models? ›

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a cloud provider hosts applications and makes them available to end users over the internet. In this model, an independent software vendor (ISV) may contract a third-party cloud provider to host the application.

What are the challenges in SaaS? ›

SaaS Customer Challenges
  • Data Loss. Organizations have less control over and visibility into their data when using SaaS. ...
  • Unauthorized Access. ...
  • Insecure Application Programming Interfaces. ...
  • Shadow IT. ...
  • Vulnerability Management. ...
  • Third-Party Risk Management. ...
  • Risk Mitigation. ...
  • Event Visibility.
Jul 26, 2022

What are the characteristics of SaaS company? ›

SaaS — Software-as-a-Service

There are a few major characteristics that apply to most SaaS providers: The service is purchased on a user subscription basis. No additional hardware is required to be installed by the customer. Updates are applied automatically without customer intervention.

What are the most important points in SaaS monitoring? ›

While monitoring uptime, performance, critical issues, and product usage is essential, it is only one aspect of a dashboard. Your SaaS monitoring dashboard should also include sales, marketing, analytics, software development, support, and project management insights among many other things.

What do you think is the most important SaaS metric and why? ›

Customer lifetime value is one of the most important SaaS metrics because it allows you to predict how valuable customers will be to your business over time. This gives you a long-term perspective on customer engagement strategies.

What are SaaS best practices? ›

10 SaaS Architecture Best Practices to Implement Now
  • Leverage microservices vs. ...
  • Enable self-service and customization. ...
  • Build multi-tenant. ...
  • Design SaaS with data security in mind. ...
  • Build regulatory compliance into the SaaS. ...
  • Make scalability a part of your SaaS architecture from the start. ...
  • Ensure minimal downtime.


1. Entrepreneurial Strategies & Anti-Patterns for a Calm SaaS Business — TBF #151
(Arvid Kahl — The Bootstrapped Founder)
2. When and Why Should a SaaS Startup Start to Build a Brand, Natasha Ratanshi-Stein, Founder Surfboard
3. Workshop: Maximising SaaS Revenue With Existing Customers
4. SaaS-Sourcing - Why Software As A Service Is Dominating Industries - Part 1
(Dr. Amy Messegee)
5. The Perfect Market For a SaaS (That No One Talks About)
(Simon Høiberg)
6. Software Project Management - Why it's Different!
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 04/30/2023

Views: 5967

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.