As it turned out I was right about 50% of my predictions last year, so here’s my educated guesses for what is going to happen to the SaaS market in 2012:
#10 Oracle will buy Netsuite.
I know this isn’t much of a surprise since Larry Ellison owns approximately 65% of Netsuite, but with the RightNow acquisition, this type of move makes more sense as part of coordinated Cloud acquisition strategy.
#9 SaaS IPO window remains open.
There are a number of SaaS firms who have either filed, like Eloqua, or are seriously considering going public in 2012, like Workday, Dropbox, Box, and Guidewire. This window can be opened even wider by successful IPO’s from companies like Yelp and Facebook. The only problem is that there are over 100 companies who have already filed to go public in 2012, so it might be difficult for smaller SaaS firms to do their IPO.
#8. Master brands will continue to chase SaaS offerings.
IBM just purchased DemandTec and SAP bought SuccessFactors, while Oracle bought RightNow. This is a big change from 2010 when most of these companies were not interested in the Cloud or SaaS. All of these master brands have tried to build their own SaaS businesses, but I think they have now finally realized that SaaS is a business model, not just new technology. The smart firms will keep their SaaS businesses and their core license businesses separate and not try and merge them. Good luck.
#7. Workday will have a monster IPO.
There is no doubt that the 2012 IPO of Facebook will set all sorts of records but for enterprise software, I think Workday will be one of the biggest on record. The company just took in $85 million in funding over the past few months, in what was termed an IPO preview round. Workday could raise as much as $500 million in an IPO, which would force the big ERP players to start building out their SaaS businesses as a defensive strategy at the bare minimum.
#6. SaaS starts to go global.
I was involved in an Oracle SaaS webinar a couple of weeks ago for an audience in Europe and the response was really impressive. I initially thought that most of the registrants would be from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia. Actually there were attendees from almost every country in Europe. I have also started to hear about strong SaaS interest in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, China and many other countries. 2012 will just continue to build on the SaaS market’s growing global momentum.
#5. Salesforce continues to expand beyond CRM.
During 2011 Salesforce purchased several firms that added new capabilities to their platform including DimDim (collaboration), Radian6 (social analytics), Model Metrics (mobility) and then they bought Rypple in December, which launched them into the Human Capital market. I predict that Salesforce will add several other HCM tuck-in acquisitions (JobScience, Jobvite), financial applications (FinancialForce, Zuora), or even supply chain management (Glovia OM, Kenandy).
#4. IT Management and Security SaaS offerings emerge.
Companies like CA have been successful in launching their new Nimsoft ITM SaaS offering during 2011, but there are also many other firms that are beginning to gain momentum with their new SaaS offerings as well. This is a very big market opportunity to replace existing legacy infrastructure and security offerings. Companies to watch include Service-Now, Trustwave, Splunk, PingIdentity and Proofpoint.
(Note: CA/Nimsoft and PingIdentity are Montclare clients)
#3. SaaS continues to be social.
With Jive going public during December 2011, they are just the most recent example of SaaS social applications gaining market acceptance. Salesforce has been very successful with their Chatter and Radian6 offerings. Independents like Yammer, SocialCast, Lithium and CentralDesktop will continue to see increased demand for their social/collaboration platforms.
#2. More big VC rounds for SaaS firms.
2012 will continue to see VC’s put a lot of money to work with leading SaaS companies. We saw some major investments during 2011 including Box ($81 million), Dropbox ($250 million), HubSpot ($32 million), Marketo ($50 million), Workday ($85 million) and Zuora ($35 million). This trend will continue in 2012 and companies will be putting a lot of money to work to build out their platforms and distribution capabilities.
#1. Storage is a major story for 2012.
As more and more data is stored in the Cloud, consumers and businesses are looking to all different types of on-line storage services. During the year that Apple launched its iCloud small business and music storage service, we also saw major funding rounds for SaaS companies including Dropbox and Box. We even saw a new IPO from Carbonite that provides a small business/consumer Cloud back-up service. This is definitely a segment of the SaaS market to keep an eye on in 2012.