HomeRegional NewsAfricaEd's note: Predicting the future using ones and zeros

Ed’s note: Predicting the future using ones and zeros

There is a language that has become a valuable skill to have on your résumé. It’s not Spanish, Russian or Mandarin—but it is very useful in commercial and public domains. 

The language I’m referring to is that of coding, the ones and zeros that make up the software that automates the tech-enhanced world for us. Now, the area where coding has blossomed is in tech companies renting out their software in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Let’s examine the SaaS market place, which has given rise to pay-as-you-go (PayGo) systems and much more.

The SaaS business model is already commonplace in homes, businesses, government departments, and the utility playing field.

The ones you’re probably familiar with are the many Google Apps that are available. The scope of services extends to customer relationships, supply chains, enterprise resources, and business processes.

Also known as on-demand software, hosted software or web-based software, SaaS eschews traditional software installation. It also administrates the maintenance and management of the service through cloud-based applications via the internet.

It sounds rather commonplace, but this market is booming. According to the Global Software as a Service (SaaS) Market report published by research company KBV, the industry is anticipated to reach $185.8 billion by 2024. This speculation shows a growth rate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.4% during the forecast period of 2018 to 2024.

I’m confident of this anticipated growth and it reaching even higher numbers.

Who wouldn’t opt for a model that allows users to access various components and features of software through a subscription without worrying about product licenses?

With SaaS, the service provider shoulders the burden of security, availability and performance of the application. If managed internally, these areas alone cause private or public company strain on resources and eat into revenue. Having the option of someone else (in this case, the SaaS company) take responsibility for cybersecurity, an increasingly commonplace and complicated threat, is strengthening the demand for this type of product.

Notably, the significant pace of change will continue in the SaaS environment as mobile-first and artificial intelligence (AI) influence this market.

The scalability and diversity of SaaS are also astounding.

It’s not only about cloud-based CRM. For example, US-based SenseHawk uses SaaS to help design, build and operate solar projects. The mobile app also supports onsite navigation, enabling users to easily navigate to allocated tasks on sites that can be thousands of acres in size.

While AMMP Technologies, a Netherlands-based company focusing on emerging markets, last year secured investment from leading B2B SaaS investors to scale up its platform for renewable energy operators. The platform enables remote operations for nearly 1,000 renewable energy generation systems across 17 countries on four continents.

The business case for SaaS companies (and start-ups) lies in the product’s ability to do more with less, but the future of SaaS lies in its capacity to be predictive. Giving users software-empowered information to act immediately on the analysis will clinch the deal for IPPs, mini- and off-grid operators, and state-owned utility companies.

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.