SaaS startups see force multiplier in Covid as software adoption jumps among digitally naive businesses

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Updated: October 13, 2020 8:18 PM

According to an IDC survey published in June this year around Covid-19 impact on IT spending, 64 per cent businesses in India are likely to increase demand for cloud computing while 56 per cent for cloud software to support the new normal.

business, post pandemic, coronavirus effect, 4D forces, what may drive businessWhile de-globalisation will force companies to discard low-cost imports and shift to local vendors, diversification of supply chains will become important as an insurance policy.

Even as Covid has to an extent proved to be a godsend for multiple consumer-facing sectors such as e-commerce, online education and healthcare, the enterprise software entities have also been able to ride the unfortunate pandemic wave. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud startups have also seen enhanced adoption of its services among sectors and industries they serve including data security, logistics and supply chain, collaboration suites, education, media and more. For instance, Pune and California based cloud data protection startup Druva, which last year turned unicorn, said that it has seen years’ worth of digitization happening in the past several months of Covid.

“In June this year, we reported that the company has experienced a 70 per cent year-over-year increase in recurring revenue for its data centre workload protection solution, and a 50 per cent growth in overall data under management,” Milind Borate, Co-founder & CTO, Druva told Financial Express Online.

Covid has accelerated the pace of realization among enterprises that it is becoming harder to manage their own data centres if they are unable to reach it. Hence, this is leading to faster acceptance of SaaS and public cloud. “And because of that we are also seeing more demand for our products because our products are in the backup as a service space,” added Borate. Druva’s Cloud Platform, which is on Amazon Web Services, helps cut down costs by up to 50 per cent by doing away with customers’ need to manage unnecessary hardware, capacity planning, and software management.

Similarly, for supply chain SaaS startup NebulARC, Covid has emerged as a catalyst as e-commerce managed to recover back to pre-Covid level in five-six months after it struck. The startup helps businesses weed out inefficiencies in supply chain and quality through complete control of goods and assets when they are in transit, at-rest at warehouses or engaged in manufacturing. “Covid-19 is pushing the delivery business further ahead. We are on our targeted trajectory to achieving $1 million YoY growth,” Alok Sharma, CEO and Co-founder NebulARC told Financial Express Online.

During the pandemic, warehouse and supply chain industry have faced increased pressure and scrutiny as they have been in need of back-end technological systems and operational capabilities in place to effectively manage omnichannel fulfilment seamlessly and effectively. Another segment where NebulARC observed maximum traction was “container freight station and shipping ports. These were under tremendous pressure since non-essential transport services were affected badly in Covid-19 times.

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Also, for another logistics intelligence platform ClickPost, which helps businesses use data science to optimize supply chain performance, Covid has enabled it to add 3x more business month-on-month as compared to last year. “The company has become profitable, processing more than 10 million shipments per month and growing at a rate of 600 per cent YoY,” Naman Vijay, CEO and Co-founder ClickPost told Financial Express Online. For Classplus too, which offers coaching Institute management software including video portal to reach out to students, online test portal, and mobile app for coaching, the customer base on the platform has “grown 10X since the start of the year – usually grew only 3-4X a year. The daily user base grew by 6X while the transactions have also seen a 4x increase since lockdown,” Mukul Rustagi, Co-founder Classplus told Financial Express.

According to an IDC survey published in June this year around Covid-19 impact on IT spending, 64 per cent businesses in India are likely to enhance demand for cloud computing while 56 per cent for cloud software to support the new normal. “We expect an accelerated adoption of cloud, as organizations explore testing of many new initiatives natively on cloud. As industries move away from infrastructure of ownership, pay-per-use models are likely to see an accelerated demand. Public cloud services will be among the few technologies that are positively impacted by the COVID-19,” said Rishu Sharma, Principal Analyst, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence, IDC India.

The significance of remote working is pushing the need for SaaS-based solutions to enable on and off-site presence for businesses without any disruption. “Industries like media, education, and IT/ITeS are likely to see an increased uptick primarily because of online entertainment, virtual classrooms, and increased need for collaboration as a result of increased remote working,” IDC said in its survey statement.

“The sales cycle has decreased as there is no need to meet in person any longer. Since companies are buying more SaaS tools like zoom etc., to enable work from home, their general tendency to purchase cloud-based software products has improved,” said Vijay. There is definitely a shift in the customer mindset. Companies like Druva are witnessing more and more companies turning to the cloud in order to ensure business agility and continuity. Borate added that businesses look for technology that can help them scale efficiently, minimally impact employees, improve business resilience, and can be deployed easily within today’s restrictive work environment. Druva recently announced beta support for Kubernetes workloads, which delivers application protection accessible by all teams, including the central IT team and DevOps.

Similarly, NebulARC has created a one-stop-shop for its customers, catering to their needs right from vendor assessment and optimisation, inventory optimisation, the tractability of high-value assets, freshness and shelf-life management for perishables, route planning, etc. Classplus, on the other hand, introduced video conferencing to allow teachers to take classes in real-time and also share more types of content through the platform.

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