“The best subscription companies in the world are not trying to push you something you don’t want. They’re not trying to sell you stuff at late night infomercials. They give you a service that actually changes your lives, right, that’s better than just receiving the product, that gives you the outcome without having to deal with hassles of asset management. These are the services that are changing your life.”

These words from Zuora CEO, Tien Tzuo, in an interview with Jim Cramer of Mad Money are an excellent endorsement of the value of SaaS and a reminder of the fact that the way businesses operate is being altered and improved on a daily basis by innovative, well-designed and carefully implemented SaaS solutions. Here are five such apps which have improved and altered the marketplace:


Slack – the SaaS app aiming to put an end to email




Described as an “email killer”, Slack aims to solve the problem of chaotic business communications caused by a lack of consistency and integration between varied digital platforms such as email, IM, text message etc.

Slack focuses upon conversation channels which can be specific to a department, project or office location. Any files or links uploaded on Slack, stay there, making locating a file or document far easier than struggling to remember whether you saved that document in an email or a file transfer link.  Slack works across a variety of devices and offers adjustable notification settings, enabling users to stay as informed as they wish to, wherever they are. In their words: “More productive, more transparent, more efficient, and no more email.”


Zuora – simplifying finances for subscription businesses




Now a major player in the SaaS marketplace, Zuora offers a comprehensive toolbox for running a subscription business. Zuora offers businesses the ability to price and package products in a meaningful way, through a range of tested pricing models – enabling a business to find the model which works best for them. Online account management enables businesses to access financial data whenever they need to, enabling them to have informed conversations with their customers and stakeholders. A range of performance metrics is also available to keep the finance department happy. There can be no doubt that Zuora has made the process of running a SaaS business a great deal easier.


GitHub – enabling collaboration between developers




Github provides a centre for storing Git projects and networking with other developers. Git is an open-source version control system used for storing and keeping track of code modifications during development. Since its inception in 2008, GitHub has soared in popularity, now featuring 27.9 million repositories and gaining $100 million of investment to date, as well as being included in CNBC’s Disruptor 50 in 2014 – a selection of companies whose innovations have revolutionised the way we live. Features include: integrated issue tracking, allowing developers to stay on top of bugs and fixes; pull requests which streamline and enable a collaborative process of discussing and managing changes to code; compatibility with 200 programming languages and integration with mobile devices.


SurveyMonkey – making market insight cheaper and simpler




Ruffling feathers in the sphere of market research and insight, SurveyMonkey offers an alternative to large and expensive market research projects by allowing users to design and implement their own surveys; offering tools for each stage of the process. In designing a survey, users can purchase a targeted audience, choose from over 15 types of question and brand surveys with their logo and colours – mobile app compatibility is also available. At the analysis stage: real-time results, data analysis tools and SPSS integration are among a range of features which make this a real contender in the market research world and an invaluable tool for any business wishing to know more about their customer and the market in which they operate.


Zendesk – bringing businesses closer to their customers




Founded in Copenhagen in 2007, Zendesk now has over 60,000 paid subscriptions to its customer service and support ticket app. Zendesk is a ticket based customer service solution which streamlines the process of dealing with customer questions and feedback. Starting with an initial customer question, Zendesk provides an easy to use platform for support agents, allowing them to highlight questions which require urgent attention and engage the necessary resources to answer that question. The app then tracks and keeps a record of all communications relating to that particular ticket and offers valuable performance data on metrics such as response time, to allow companies to compare their performance with that of their competitors. The app is designed to remove barriers to communication between businesses and their customers, bringing them closer together.


SaaS apps changing the business world


These companies and others like them are transforming the way we do business – discovering unexploited gaps in the marketplace and filling them with ingenious and effective SaaS solutions. The fact that many of these products are now an integral part of our lives is a testament to their success.



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