B2B SaaS Solutions: The 'SaaS' is unnecessary

The New Wave Tech

Technology has a way of reinventing itself. 20 years after the Y2K fears, the Y2KK bug is lurking again. We had full stack developers before, who were in turn displaced by specialists, but are again back in demand. The same goes for software stacks, programming languages, data analytics etc.

However, in the B2B software world, some things have changed permanently. And one of them is migration to the cloud. It is a very rare enterprise that does not have some of their IT in the cloud (public, private or hybrid: a definition from Microsoft). If you are not familiar with the term SaaS, here is a link to the Wikipedia article.

  • There are a number of vendors available to meet your privacy, security and compliance needs (here is a white paper from Symantec). 
  • The quality of cloud infrastructure can support really critical applications, including telecom billing, at scale. I remember hearing from a CTO in 2015, that "billing solutions will never move to the cloud". It just shows that technology changes can disrupt a lot of planning and strategy.
  • The skills to manage such infrastructure were scarce even 10 years ago, but are ubiquitous now. Most people have re-skilled, and are able to handle this change very well.
  • Even governments have recognized the consumer privacy and security needs and have framed laws to support this transition. The E-privacy Regulation, GDPR and similar laws 
  • Every single digital transformation initiative, across industries, talks about moving to the cloud. I do not know of any case where digital transformation requires buying physical servers or building desktop based applications.
So why are recruiters, candidates and hiring managers still talking about B2B SaaS as a separate category of work? There is hardly any other option viable, if you want to build a scalable, secure and distributed application for any category of users (employees, vendors, consumers, internal teams). Even mobile apps can be powered from cloud servers securely. And if your people are not skilled at planning, building, deploying or maintaining cloud solutions or mobile apps, then you can always use the time proven product management strategy - "Buy, Build or Partner".

https://medium.com/@JenBonhomme/build-partner-or-buy-4168d48d8412
In fact, here is one slide from a medium.com article talking about it. This is a pretty important product management topic, so I will post more about this in future.

Bottom Line

In 2020, in the B2B software category, the word 'SaaS' is redundant. Every software solution is, or will be cloud driven, and people associated with these services (systems engineers, web developers, product managers, infrastructure teams) will need the necessary skills to deliver these services.