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Posts from the ‘SaaS Early Adopter Research’ Category

Key Take-Aways From The 2015 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey

  • Cloud Computing M&A40% of SaaS companies are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver their apps today.
  • Median subscription gross margins for SaaS companies in 2015 are 78%.
  • Overall, SaaS companies are projecting median revenue growth of 46% in 2015.
  • Channel sales and inside sales strategies delivered the highest revenue growth rates in 2014.
  • Companies in the $5M – $7.5M range achieved 70% revenue growth in 2014, surpassing the median 36% growth rate last year.

These and many other insights are from the 2015 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey published by David Skok of Matrix Partners in collaboration with Pacific Crest Securities. You can download a free copy of Part I of the study here (PDF, opt-in, 72 pp). 305 SaaS companies were interviewed, 31% from international locations and 69% from North America.  David Skok and Pacific Crest Securities will publish Part 2 of the results in the near future. SaaS Metrics 2.0 – Detailed Definitions provides a useful reference for many of the SaaS metrics mentioned in the study.

This year’s survey attracted an eclectic base of respondents, with median revenues of $4M a year, with 133 companies reporting less than $5M, and 57 over $25M. Annual Contract Value (ACV) across all respondents is $21K, with 17% of respondents reporting ACVs over $100K.  Please see pages 3 & 4 of the study for a description of the methodology. Key take-aways from the study include the following:

  • SaaS GAAP revenue growth is accelerating in 2014 and is projected to increase further in 2015 from 44% to 46%. Median revenue growth in 2014 for all survey respondents was 44%, with the aggregate projected growth for 2015 reaching 46%. When SaaS companies with less than $2.5M in revenues are excluded, median GAAP growth was 35% in 2014 and is expected to reach that same level in 2015.

grow SaaS Revenue


  • SaaS companies with mixed customer strategies are growing at 57% a year.  Excluding respondent companies with less than $2.5M in revenues, a mixed customer strategy dominates all others. Concentrating on enterprises and small & medium businesses (SMBs) both drove 33% revenue growth of respondent companies this year.

median growth rate as a function of customer


  • 40% of SaaS companies are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver their apps today. AWS is projected to increase to 44% three years from now, with Microsoft Azure increasing from 3% today to 6% in 3 years.

SaaS Delivered


  • 41% of all SaaS companies surveyed rely primarily on field sales.  Factoring out the companies with less than $2.5M in revenue, field sales accounts for 32%.

primary mode of distribution


  • Field sales dominates as the most effective sales strategy when median deal sizes are $50K or more. In contrast, inside sales dominates $5K to $15K deal sizes, and the Internet dominates deal sizes less than $1K.  The following graphic provides insights into the primary mode of sales by median initial contract size.

mode by initial contract size


  • 16% of new Average Contract Value (ACV) sales is from upsells, with the largest companies being the most effective at this selling strategy. One of the strongest catalysts of a SaaS companies’ growth is the ability to upsell customers to a higher ACV, generating significantly greater gross margin in the process. SaaS companies with revenues between $40M to $75M increase their ACV by 32% using upsells. Larger SaaS companies with over $75M in sales generate 28% additional ACV with upsell strategies.

ACV Value


  • The highest growth SaaS companies are relying on upsells to fuel higher ACV.  There is a significant difference between the highest and lowest growth SaaS companies when it comes to upsell expertise and execution.  The following graphic provides an overview by 2014 GAAP revenue category of percent of ACV attributable to upsells.

fast upsell


  • 60% are driving revenues with “Try Before You Buy” strategies, with 30% generating the majority of their revenues using this approach.  On contrast, only 30% of companies generate revenues and ACV from freemium.


Businesses Adopting Big Data, Cloud & Mobility Grow 53% Faster Than Peers

  • London sykline duskOrchestrating big data, cloud and mobility strategies leads to 53% greater growth than peers not adopting these technologies.
  • 73% of midmarket companies say the complexity of their stored data requires big data analytics apps and tools to better gain insights from.
  • 41% of midmarket companies are using big data to better target marketing efforts.
  •  54% of midmarket companies’ security budgets are invested in security plans versus reacting to threats.

These and many other insights are from Dell’s second annual Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI 2015) released last week in collaboration with TNS Research. The Global Technology Adoption Index surveyed IT and business decision makers of mid-market organizations across 11 countries, interviewing 2,900 IT and business decision makers representing businesses with 100 to 4,999 employees.

The purpose of the index is to understand how business users perceive, plan for and utilize four key technologies: cloud, mobility, security and big data. Dell released the first wave of its results this week and will be publishing several additional chapters throughout 2016. You can download Chapter 1 of the study here (PDF, no opt-in, 18 pp.).

Key take-aways from the study include the following:

  • Orchestrating big data, cloud and mobility strategies leads to 53% greater growth than peers not adopting these technologies. Midmarket organizations adopting big data alone have the potential to grow 50% more than comparable organizations. Effective use of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobility strategies has the potential to increase growth by 53% over laggards or late adopters..

orchestrating tech for greater growth

  • 73% of North American organizations believe the volume and complexity of their data requires big data analytics apps and tools.  This is up from 54% in 2014, indicating midmarket organizations are concentrating on how to get more value from the massive data stores many have accumulated.  This same group of organizations believe they are getting more value out of big data this year (69%) compared to last year (64%).  Top outcomes of using big data include better targeting of marketing efforts (41%), optimization of ad spending (37%), and optimization of social media marketing (37%).

top outcomes

  • 54% of an organization’s security budget is invested in security plans versus reacting to threats. Dell & TNS Research discovered that midmarket organizations both in North America and Western Europe are relying on security to enable new devices or drive competitive advantage.  In North America, taking a more strategic approach to security has increased from 25% in 2014 to 35% today.  In Western Europe, the percentage of companies taking a more strategic view of security has increased from 26% in 2014 to 30% this year.

security strategic

  • IT infrastructure costs to support big data initiatives (29%) and costs related to securing the data (28%) are the two greatest barriers to big data adoption. For cloud adoption, costs and security are the two biggest barriers in midmarket organizations as is shown in the graphic below.

security costs

  • Cloud use by midmarket companies in France increased 12% in the last twelve months, leading all nations in the survey.  Of the 11 countries surveyed, France had the greatest increase in cloud adoption within midmarket companies.  French businesses increased their adoption of cloud applications and platforms from 70% in 2014 to 82% in 2015.

Sources: Dell Study Reveals Companies Investing in Cloud, Mobility, Security and Big Data Are Growing More Than 50 Percent Faster Than Laggards. October 13, 2015


Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts And Market Estimates Q3 Update, 2015

  • cloud computing forecastThe global SaaS market is projected to grow from $49B in 2015 to $67B in 2018, attaining a CAGR of 8.14%.
  • Global spending on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is expected to reach $16.5B this year, an increase of 32.8% from 2014.
  • Cloud applications will account for 90% of worldwide mobile data traffic by 2019, compared to 81% at the end of last year.

These and other insights are from recent cloud computing forecasts and market estimates published by research and advisory consultancies including International Data Corporation (IDC), Forrester, Gartner, Ovum, Wikibon and others.

While the methodologies differ significantly, the findings from a recent Economist Intelligence Unit study provide the galvanizing thread across this diverse set of data.  The Economist found that the most mature enterprises are now turning to cloud strategies as a strategic platform for growing customer demand and expanding sales channels. The study found low-maturity or lagging cloud adopters focus on costs more than growth.

Key take-aways from the round-up are provided below:

cloud mobile data

  • 57% of IT architects and tech professionals are running apps on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform today.  Rightscale’s 2015 State of the Cloud Report found that AWS adoption is over 4X greater than Microsoft Azure IaaS and 5X that of Rackspace Public Cloud.  Rightscale found that AWS, Microsoft Azure IaaS, Azure PaaS, Rackspace Public Cloud and VMWare vCloud Air are the top five public cloud platforms used in enterprises today. Source: RightScale 2015 State Of The Cloud Report

Public Cloud Usage

paas market trends

PaaS Market Share

  • Goldman Sachs is forecasting the cloud infrastructure and platform market will grow at a 19.62% CAGR from 2015 to 2018, reaching $43B by 2018. Their recent market analysis also forecasts that the global market for cloud infrastructure and platforms will grow from $21B this year to $43B by the end of the forecast period.  Source:  How Big Can The Amazon Web Services Business Grow In The Future?

goldman sachs cloud computing

IaaS Market Window

cloud maturity

hosted private cloud computing adoption

  • 46% of surveyed firms in the European Union (EU) are using advanced cloud services relating to financial and accounting software applications, customer relationship management or to the use of computing power to run business applications. In 2014, almost twice as many firms used public cloud servers (12%) versus private cloud servers (7%). The following graphic illustrates the degree of dependence on cloud computing, by economic activity, EU-28, 2014. Source: Eurostat Statistics Explained.  Cloud computing – statistics on the use by enterprises.

degree of dependence

  • 64% of Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) are already using cloud-based apps, with average adoption being 3 apps.  78% of businesses indicate that they are considering purchasing new solutions in the next 2-3 years creating the potential to move the average number of applications used to 7, with 88% consuming at least one service.  Source: The small business revolution: trends in SMB cloud adoption.

cool infographic

  • Worldwide spending on enterprise application software will grow 7.5% to reach $149.9B in 2015, increasing to more than $201B in 2019 with accelerating cloud adoption driving new software sales. Gartner’s analysis of enterprise software spending shows that alternative consumption models to traditional on-premises licenses are accounting for more than 50% of new software implementations; these include SaaS, hosted license, on-premises subscriptions and open source.  Gartner also predicts that by 2020, about a quarter of organizations in emerging regions will run their core CRM systems in the cloud, up from around 10 percent in 2012. Source: Gartner Says Modernization and Digital Transformation Projects Are Behind Growth in Enterprise Application Software Market.

Additional resources:

2015 Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts And Market Estimates

AA046808Global SaaS software revenues are forecasted to reach $106B in 2016, increasing 21% over projected 2015 spending levels.  A Goldman Sachs study published earlier this year projects that spending on cloud computing infrastructure and platforms will grow at a 30% CAGR from 2013 through 2018 compared with 5% growth for the overall enterprise IT.

Centaur Partners and other firms mentioned in this roundup are seeing more enterprise-size deals for cloud computing infrastructure and applications. While each of these consultancies and research firms have varying forecasts for the next few years, all agree that cloud computing adoption is accelerating in enterprises on a global scale.

Key take-aways from the roundup are provided below:

  • By 2018, 59% of the total cloud workloads will be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) workloads, up from 41% in 2013.  Cisco is predicting that by 2018, 28% of the total cloud workloads will be Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) workloads down from 44% in 2013. 13% of the total cloud workloads will be Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) workloads in 2018, down from 15% in 2013.  The following graphic provides a comparative analysis of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS forecasts from 2013 to 2018. Source:  Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018. (PDF, free, no opt-in).

Image Cisco SaaS IaaS PaasS Results

  • Centaur Partners’ analysis of SaaS & cloud-based business application services revenue forecasts the market growing from $13.5B in 2011 to $32.8B in 2016, attaining a 19.5% CAGR. Centaur provides a useful overview of current market conditions including M&A activity in their latest market overview published this month, Introduction to Centaur Partners: SaaS Market Overview, (PDF, free, no opt-in).

centaur partners forecast

Top Five Tech Spending Increases

  • Global SaaS software revenues are forecasted to reach $106B in 2016, increasing 21% over projected 2015 spending levels.  Spending on integration, storage management, and database management systems are projected to experience the greatest growth in 2015. These and other key insights are from Forrester’s SaaS software subscription revenue by category show below.  Source: Enterprise software spend to reach $620 billion in 2015: Forrester.

Global SaaS Forecast Forrester

  • $78.43B in SaaS revenue will be generated in 2015, increasing to $132.57 in 2020, attaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.14%.  The following graphic and table provides an overview of Forrester’s Global Public Cloud Computing market size analysis and forecast for the years 2011 to 2020. Source: Institut Sage. 

Global Forecast Public Cloud Forrester

Goldman Cloud TAM

Goldman Cloud Disrupting Traditional IT

SMAC Areas

  • IDC predicts that by 2016, there will be an 11% shift of IT budget away from traditional in-house IT delivery, toward various versions of cloud computing as a new delivery model.  By 2017, 35% of new applications will use cloud-enabled, continuous delivery and enabled by faster DevOps life cycles to streamline rollout of new features and business innovation. Source: 2015-2017 Forecast: Cloud Computing to Skyrocket, Rule IT Delivery.
  • By 2018, IDC forecasts that public cloud spending will more than double to $127.5 billion. This forecast is broken down as follows: $82.7 billion in SaaS spending, $24.6 billion for IaaS and $20.3 billion in PaaS expenditures.  Source: Forecasts Call For Cloud Burst Through 2018.
  • By 2016 over 80% of enterprises globally will using IaaS, with investments in private cloud computing showing the greater growth. Ovum forecasts that by 2016, 75% of EMEA-based enterprises will be using IaaS.  These and other insights are from the presentation, The Role of Cloud in IT Modernisation: The DevOps Challenge (free PDF, no opt in). The graphic below provides an analysis of cloud computing adoption in EMEA and globally.

Ovum Cloud Adoption Forecast

SaaS for SCM

Enterprise cloud revenues

  • By 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms.  These and other are insights are from the keynote Cloud Business Summit presentation Digital Business, Rethinking Fundamentals by Bill McNee, Founder and CEO, Saugatuck Technology.  Source: Digital Business, Rethinking Fundamentals.

new platform

Roundup Of Cloud Computing And Enterprise Software Predictions For 2014

cloud computing predictions 2014 Alan Kay’s saying that the best way to predict the future is to create it resonates through the best cloud computing and enterprise software predictions for 2014. Constraints that held start-ups back from delivering sophisticated new apps and services are disappearing fast.  The dynamics of one of my favorite books, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, are in full force across the cloud and enterprise landscape.

There are many predictions being generated right now and instead of writing yet another set,  I’m providing a listing of those that are the most interesting and thought-provoking. They are listed below:

  • 10 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2014 – In-depth analysis of ten predictions including how more companies will realize they are really in the software business, private cloud computing having a moment of truth and continued adoption of cloud brokerages.  This set of predictions is an interesting read and provides useful insight.  I’d just add that as application developers go, so goes an industry, a point Bernard Golden refers to in this post.
  • Analytics Eats the World in 2014 – George Mathew of Alteryx is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met about analytics programming and development.  He’s very focused on breaking down constraints that hold analysts back from getting more value from their data. His predictions provide insight into how business analysts’ roles are changing based on rapid advances in analytics app development, model development and use.
  • Changing Cloud Scapes in 2014 – Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies provides ten insightful predictions regarding the continued adoption of cloud computing platforms in the enterprise.  His fourth prediction, “Although horizontal cloud solutions will continue to experience significant growth, vertical market solutions aimed at specific industries will grow even more rapidly” is starting to emerge today.  The recent success of Veeva Systems supports his prediction and points to next year seeing more vertical market solutions being successfully launched.
  • Cloud computing experts forecast the market climate in 2014 – Excellent summary of seven cloud computer experts’ predictions for 2014 including Mark Eisenberg, Roger Jennings, Paul Korzeniowski, David S. Linthicum, Tom Nolle, Dan Sullivan and Mark Szynaka.  Highlights include IDC analysts predicting the “Over the 2013 to 2017 forecast period, public IT cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate [CAGR] of 23.5%, five times that of the IT industry as a whole,” and PaaS will lead IaaS and SaaS with a CAGR of 29.7%. What’s useful about these set of predictions is the breadth of expertise reflected in market statistics, market and technology projections and insights shared.
  • Cloud Computing Predictions for 2014: Cloud Joins The Formal IT Portfolio – James Staten of Forrester Research has compiled an excellent series of predictions for the year with emphasis on security and SaaS becoming the de facto choice for new applications.  While he hasn’t quoted adoption figures of SaaS relative to on-premise, he does point out that Forrester believes HCM, CRM and collaboration will be the leading categories of SaaS apps in 2014.
  • My One Big Fat Cloud Computing Prediction for 2014 – I have been following the industry analysis, writing and research of Joe McKendrick for years based on the excellent insight he provides.  Joe predicts that cloud computing is set to become mainstream computing, period.  He cites Cisco’s research showing the majority of data center will be cloud-based and shares his perspective of the market.  Joe has an innate sense of how enterprises adopt and use technology and this post reflects that expertise.
  • SaaS predictions for 2014 – Chris Kanaracus is predicting that multitenancy will fade away as a major concern in SaaS, geographic depth of coverage will accelerate with cloud vendors announcing new data center openings around the world, and more vertical market adoption of SaaS.  He also prefaces his predictions with the Gartner forecast for SaaS (software as a service) quoting their figures of the total market will toping $22 billion through 2015, up from more than $14 billion in 2012.
  • Top Predictions about Software Companies in 2014 – In-depth analysis and predictions of which companies are going to be the most interesting to watch in 2014 and predictions regarding the enterprise software landscape.  This post provides a great overview of how industry veterans see enterprise software changing as a result of cloud computing as well.
  • Troubling, Challenging 2014 ERP Predictions – Brian Sommer’s predictions are the most thought-provoking and honest of any written so far this year. He writes “for an ERP vendor to sell CX (customer experience) software and then mistreat their own customers so badly is more than ironic (or moronic). It’s a death wish.  Yet, it happens.”  If there is only one set of predictions you read from this list, be sure to read this set.
  • What Should CMOs Do In 2014? IDC’s Top Ten Predictions – Gil Press provides in-depth analysis of IDC’s predictions of how the role of CMO will change in 2014.  He’s summarized the key points of the recent webinar including market forecasts from IDC, providing his insight and expertise in this post.  IDC is predicting that digital marketing investment will exceed 50% of total program budget by 2016, up from 39% in 2013 and that by the end of 2014, 60% of CMOs will have a formal recruiting process for marketers with data skills.

Why Salesforce Is Winning The Cloud Platform War

300px-Salesforce_Logo_2009The future of any enterprise software vendor is being decided today in their developer community.

Alex William’s insightful thoughts on Salesforce Is A Platform Company. Period. underscores how rapidly Salesforce is maturing as a cloud platform.  And the best measure of that progress can be seen in their developer community.

(To be clear, Salesforce and the other companies mentioned in this post are not clients and never have been.  I track this area out of personal interest.)


The last four years I’ve made a point at every Salesforce Dreamforce event to spend the majority of my time in the developer area.  Watching mini hacks going on in the DevZone, mini workshops, the Salesforce Platform and Developer keynotes over the last few years has been a great learning experience.  An added plus: developers are often skeptical and want to see new enhancements help streamline their code, extend its functionality, and push the limits of the platform. This healthy skepticism has led to needed improvements in the platform, including a change to governor limits on Application Programmer Interface (APIs) performance and many other enhancements.  Despite the criticisms of being proprietary due to Apex and SOQL, the crowds at developer forums continue to grow every year.

I’ve started to look at the developer area as the crucible or foundry for future apps.  While the Cloud Expo shows how vibrant the partner ecosystem is, the developer area is where tomorrow’s apps are being coded today. The Workbook, an excellent reference for developers, was just released October 1 and DeveloperForce shows how far the developer support is matured in Salesforce.  In addition a new REST API Developer’s Guide is out just last month.

The Journey From Application To Platform

In visiting the developer area of Dreamforce over the last four years I’ve seen indications that Salesforce is successfully transforming itself into a cloud platform business:

  • Significant jump in the quantity and quality of developer attendees from 2010 to 2012.  The depth of questions, sophistication of code samples, calls for more flexibility with governor limits, and better mobile support typified these years.
  • Steady improvement to visual design tools, application development environment and support for jQuery, Sencha and Apache Cordova.
  • The steady maturation of Salesforce Touch as a mobile development platform and launch of Salesforce Platform Mobile Services Launched in 2011, this platform continues to mature, driven by developer’s requirements that reflect their customers’ needs for mobility support.  HTML 5 is supported and the apps I’ve seen written on it are fast, accurate and ideal for customer service.  ServiceMax has created exceptional mobile apps including their comprehensive ServiceMax for iPad app on the platform.
  • 2012: Rise of the Mobile Enterprise Developer.  Salesforce’s enterprise customers in 2009 weren’t nearly as active as they were last year with questions on legacy systems integration and how to create web services capable of integrating customer data.  2011 was a breakout year in mobile app development with 2012 showing strong momentum on mobile web services development.  I expect this year’s Dreamforce developer community to reflect the rapidly growing interest in mobile as well.

How Enterprise Applications Make The Salesforce Platform Work For Them

In speaking with Salesforce developers over the years one of my favorite questions continues to be “what is the real payoff of having a native application in your company?”  Initially I thought this was marketing spin from enterprise software vendors attempting to use features as benefits, however after a closer look it is clear that the platform has significant advantages, especially for any solution requiring global deployments or large numbers of users.  Here is what I found out:

  • The investments has made in their cloud infrastructure over several years (and continue to make) has resulted in a platform that developers  are leveraging to rapidly deliver enterprise applications that deliver world-class performance, reliability, and security.
  • Of the many native applications that extend Salesforce beyond CRM, it’s been my experience the most challenging are Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and contract management.  Creating a single system of record across these two areas is challenging even outside of, which is why many companies in this space have two entirely different product strategies.  Apttus is the exception as they have successfully created a unified product strategy on alone.  I recently had the chance to speak with Neehar Giri, President and Chief Solutions Architect.  “Apttus’ strategic decision to deliver our enterprise-class applications natively on the Salesforce platform has allowed us to focus on our customer needs, meeting and exceeding their expectations in both functionality and speed of innovation,” said Neehar Giri, president and chief solutions architect, Apttus.  “We’ve seen the platform evolve rapidly in its capabilities and global scalability.  Apttus’ customers have and continue to benefit from the true multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance of the Salesforce Platform.”
  •’s multi-tenant architecture allows for optimization of computing resources resulting in savings and significant gains in efficiency for global enterprises even over applications deployed on private clouds.
  • Native applications share the same security model as Salesforce apps. chose to develop their accounting, ordering and billing, professional services automation and service resource planning entirely on the architecture due to shared master data, multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance.  This shared architecture also benefits enterprise consumers of native applications by providing best-in-class uptime.
  • Native applications are contributing to greater return on investment (ROI). IT often does not need to manage data integration or sync issues, upgrades to even large numbers of users are easily deployed, and users can remain in a familiar interface.   These benefits support faster and easier deployment as well as rapid user adoption both of which are critical to success and a high ROI for any solution. Enterprise developers have often mentioned the familiar interface and ease of deployment have led to higher rates of adoption than any other approach to delivering new application functionality.
  • Advanced APIs to support integration of legacy applications not on the platform.
  • Proven ability of to support global deployments.  The company has expanded its global support centers. also publishes real-time statistics on system status:
  • A continuing acceleration of new capabilities resulting from increasing numbers of developers driving the advancement of the platform through their collective input, suggestions and requirements.
  • Ability to design applications that respond with greater customer insight and intelligence across mobile devices.  ServiceMax has an impressive series of mobile applications that do this today.  I had a chance to speak with David Yarnold, their CEO about his vision for the company.  He wants to give ServiceMax’s customers the ability to deliver flawless field service where every interaction is perfect.  By building on the architecture he explained how each service customers’ contextual intelligence can be seen in real-time by everyone involved in serving customers.  Clearly ServiceMax is capitalizing on the mobile development platform area of as well.

Bottom Line: Enabling developers to attain greater revenue growth, while creating an extensive mobile app development platform is further proof Salesforce has turned the corner from being an application company to a platform provider.

Lessons Learned From The 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey

Pacific Crest SurveyDeveloping the ability to upsell existing customers into longer-term, higher value contracts that are multi-year in duration is one of the most critically important skill sets any SaaS business needs to attain.

These and other insights were gained from analyzing the 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey, published earlier this month by David Skok.   The survey is based on responses from 155 SaaS companies, compiled by Pacific Crest Securities.   David’s blog For Entrepreneurs provides excellent content on SaaS metrics, start-up advice and a wealth on insight in the areas of sales and marketing, business models and the specifics of how to manage a SaaS business model profitability.

Key take-aways from the 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey include the following:

  • Median GAAP revenue growth increased by 41% in 2012, projected to reach 47% in 2013 across all 155 SaaS companies included in the analysis.  When smaller companies whose revenue growth projections are excluded, median revenue growth for 2012 was 32%, projected to increase to 36% this year.  The following two figures illustrate distribution of revenue growth by number of companies.

  • The fastest growing SaaS companies have median contract sizes that are between $1K to $25K.  Companies’ with less than $2M in revenue were excluded from this analysis given the smaller deal sizes they generate.

  • The larger the median ACV (Annual Contract Value) the greater the reliance on field sales.  In results from previous surveys Pacific Crest found that mid-tier companies were more reliant on inside sales.  54% of respondents in the $5K to $25K ACV segment of companies this year are reliant on insider sales, up from 33% in 2012.
  • 13% of new ACV is generated from upsells across all SaaS companies, with the largest capable of expanding into other departments and divisions of existing customers.  SaaS companies with sales over $60M are generating 32% of new ACV from upsell strategies. It’s interesting to note that upsell is a more effective strategy at gaining market share versus marketing spending, and this hold true across sizes of SaaS companies.  The following graphic illustrates percentage of new ACV by size of SaaS company and an analysis showing the fastest-growth SaaS companies generate a higher proportion of new ACV from upsells compared to their peers.
  • 76% gross margins are being achieved across all respondents.  This does not change significantly when smaller companies are removed from the analysis.
  • Try-Before-You-Buy is used far more often than Freemium because it generates additional sales.  The following graphic shows the expected contribution of each to ACV in 2013:

  • Professional Services are 12% of 1rst year ACV across all customer segments.  Selling professional services into the enterprise generates 23% of first year ACV according to the study.  A graphic showing the distribution of first year ACV as a percentage of professional services by customer segment is shown below:

  • SaaS companies who primarily rely on Internet-based distribution methods are attaining the highest growth rates.  When companies with less than $2M in revenue were taken out of the analysis, those companies primarily based on inside sales grew 10% more than field sales.  The following graphic presents this analysis, excluding companies with less than $2M in revenue.

  • 37% of respondent companies rely on field sales as their primary means of distribution followed by inside sales (29%) and Internet sales (17%).  When smaller companies with sales less than $2M are excluded, field sales jumps to 50% of all respondents using this method as a primary means of distribution.  Inside sales (29%) and Internet sales (8%) are second and third.  While Internet sales is the cheapest form of distribution, it also leads to the highest churn rates (9%) recorded in the survey.

Predicting Enterprise Cloud Computing Growth

69% of enterprises who have separate budgets for cloud computing are predicting spending increases this year and into 2014.

This is one of several key take-aways from a research study published today by TheInfoPro, a service of 451 Research.  TheInfoPro Wave 5 Cloud Computing Study is based on research completed in the first six months of 2013, and relies on live interviews with IT management and primary decision-makers in midsize and large enterprises in Europe and North America. You can view details of TheInfoPro Cloud Computing Overview Program and methodology here.

Additional key take-aways from the study include the following:

  • The worldwide cloud computing market will grow at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5B by 2016.
  • 38% of enterprises surveyed break out cloud computing budgets, while 60% include cloud-related spending as part of their enterprise-wide IT budgets.  TheInfoPro asserts that cloud computing’s benefits of greater business orchestration and reduced time-to-market have led to a change in budgeting approaches.
  • The median enterprise cloud computing budget is $675,000 and the mean enterprise cloud computing budget is $8,234,438.  The study found the largest enterprise cloud computing budget at $125M.  The following graphic provides a distribution of cloud computing budgets by range.


  • Internal Private Cloud (35%), Cloud Provider Assessments/Strategy Planning (33%), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) (31%) and Software-as-a-Service (30%) are the top four cloud computing-related projects enterprises are working on right now.  Cloud Provider Assessments/Strategy Planning have seen the largest increase, attributable to more enterprises looking to better support strategic plans with more agile, efficient IT organizations.


  • 83% of enterprises face significant roadblocks that hold them back from moving beyond cost reduction to faster time-to-market and better orchestration of their businesses. Respondents mentioned that politics, budget, time and staff are the main sources of roadblocks to getting more value out of their cloud computing investments. The majority of these roadblocks are not related to IT.  They include lack of clarity regarding organization and budget (37%), resistance to change (16%) and lack of trust (visibility and reliability) (15%).  The following graphic illustrates the enterprise cloud journey as defined in TheInfoPro Wave 5 Cloud Computing Study.


  • Consistent with many other enterprise cloud computing surveys, security is the biggest pain point and roadblock to cloud computing adoption (30%).  Migration and integration of legacy and on-premise systems with cloud applications (18%) is second, and lack of internal process (18%) is third.  The following graphic shows a rank ordering of cloud computing-related pain points.


IDG Cloud Computing Survey: Security, Integration Challenge Growth

cloud computing survey 2IDG Enterprise recently published Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report, showing how enterprises continue to struggle with security, integration and governance while finding immediate value in collaboration and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

IDG’s methodology is based on interviews with 1,358 respondents, stratified across CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld, and Network World websites, in addition to respondents contacted via email, and LinkedIn forums.  58% of respondents are from executive IT roles; 17% from Mid-level IT; 14% from IT professionals; 8% from middle-level business management and 3% non-manager roles were represented in the study.  High tech industries are the dominant industry represented with 18% of respondents, followed by financial services, government and manufacturing (each accounting for 10% of respondents).  Education (9%) and telecommunications & utilities (6%) are the other industries represented.

Key take-aways from the survey include the following:

  • 49% of executive-level management see cloud computing as transformational to their business strategies.  40% are currently having their IT staff investigate the potential of cloud computing contributing to their businesses, 5% don’t see cloud as an option and 6% aren’t sure.
  • Amazon (32%), Microsoft (23%) and Google (20%) are most often considered thought leaders in the field of cloud computing by respondents to the IDG survey.
  • Enabling business continuity (43%), greater flexibility to react to changing market conditions (40%), speed of deployment (39%) and improving customer support or services (38%) are the top four drivers of investment in cloud computing technology according to the survey.  The following graphic provides an analysis of each driver by level of relative importance.   This image is from Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report.

  • Accelerating business value by providing access to critical business data and applications (56%); serving as a catalyst of IT innovation (56%); enabling greater employee collaboration (54%); and enabling greater levels of IT agility (54%) are the top four benefits enterprises are gaining from cloud-based applications.  The following graphic provides an analysis of how cloud computing technology is impacting each of the areas shown in respondent’s enterprises. This image is from Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report.

  • Financial Services and high tech companies are projected to have the largest cloud computing budgets based on the survey.  Enterprises are expected to invest an average of $1.5M in cloud-based services during the 2013 – 2014 timeframe.  IDG projects that large companies will spend $2.8M relative to small and medium-sized businesses investing $486K on average.
  • Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) (35%) are the hardest to convince regarding the value of cloud computing, followed by the board of directors or equivalent (24%), the CEO (24%), and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) (16%) third. Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) are the easiest to convince, with just 6% of respondents mentioning this group of executives being a challenge to convince regarding the value of cloud computing.
  • The percentage of organizational IT budgets allocated to SaaS increased from 8% in 2012 to 13% in 2013 according to the last two IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing surveys.  Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) increased to 10% of overall IT budgets, up from 7% in 2012.  In aggregate, 44% of IT budgets are spent on cloud computing today, increasing to 51% by 2015 in the base of enterprises interviewed for the study.
  • Enterprises continue to migrate applications to the cloud that increase collaboration and enhance customer relationships first.  Collaboration and conferencing solutions (38%), e-mail and messaging (35%) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/Sales Force Automation (SFA) (27%) are the top three applications being migrated to the cloud in the enterprises surveyed.  The following graphic shows which applications are moving to the cloud today and the plans for migrating applications in the next 12 months, and over the next 1 to 3 years.  This image is from Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report.

  • 59% of enterprises are still identifying which IT operations are the best candidates for cloud hosting.  33% have identified all IT operations that they are comfortable having hosted in the cloud, given the current security of cloud infrastructure and application design.
  • The three most important factors in selecting a SaaS application provider include the ability to configure and customize the cloud application to meet specific business needs (40%), consistent cloud application performance and availability (38%) and security certification and practices of the SaaS provider (34%).
  • 61% of enterprises have at least one application that is cloud-based in their organizations today.  This increased from 57% in 2012.  24% of enterprises are planning to implement cloud applications in the next 12 months and 15% are planning to between 1 to three years from now.
  • In enterprises with less than 1,000 employees, CEOs (52%) are the most influential role in cloud purchasing, followed by the CIO (39%) and IT/networking staff (33%).  In enterprises over 1,000 employees, the CIO (60%), followed by the IT/networking management (47%) and CTO or IT network architect (45%) are the three most influential roles in the cloud purchasing process.
  • 42% of cloud-based projects are eventually brought back in-house, with security concerns (65%), technical/oversight problems (64%), and the need for standardization (on one platform) (48%) being the top three reasons why.
  • The top three challenges to implementing a successful cloud strategy in enterprise vary significantly between IT and line-of-business (LOB).  For IT, concerns regarding security (66%), integration stability and reliability (47%) and ability of cloud computing solutions to meet enterprise/industry standards (35%) challenge adoption.    The following table compares the perceptions of IT and line-of-business leaders.  This image is from Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report.

Roundup Of Small & Medium Business Cloud Computing Forecasts And Market Estimates, 2013

Small & Medium Business cloud computing What sets apart the fastest-growing small businesses is their an innate strength at turning data and information into results.

It’s becoming easy to spot a smaller business who is going to break out and grow quickly.  They often have these qualities:  they highly value knowledge, expertise and speed over seniority or cronyism; they have successfully managed a geographically distributed supply chain, production and service operations early in their history; and long before they reach $20M in sales they have learned how to balance domestic and international customer demands.  In short, they learned fast how to compete and win business globally.

Over the last several months research firms and enterprise software vendors have released studies on cloud computing adoption in small & medium businesses (SMBs).

The following are the key take-aways from these studies:

  • Forrester forecasts that channel partners will increase their reliance on cloud software and services from 22% to 27% from 2013 to 2014.  The majority of this growth will be in SMBs. For additional details please see the free reprint of the report, Cloud Channel Trends, 2013 To 2014 by Tim Harmon and Jonathan Silber, February 28, 2013.  You can download the reprint here (no opt in required):
  • 61% of SMBs who responded to a recent survey are using cloud-based solutions today, with an additional 5% planning to add cloud services in the next six months.  69% of SMBs with fewer than 20 employees and 55% of SMBs with 250 to 999 employees are using cloud-based applications today. North American SMBs are more likely to use cloud-based applications co these services than EMEA (64% compared to 56%). Source: State of SMB IT 1H 2013 Semi-Annual Report On Small And Midsize Business Technology Plans & Purchase Intent (Opt-in required): The following is a graphic from the report:

figure 1 smb cloud adoption

  • SMB spending on cloud solutions will grow by almost 20% over the next five years, with 3 in 10 midsize firms adopting public cloud solutions.  IBM is offering a free download of the IDC report, Cloud Computing in the Midmarket: Assessing the Options in 2013 (no opt-in required):  IDC’s graphical definition of how their Primary Market and Secondary Market IT Product Taxonomy maps to the NIST Taxonomy is shown below:

figure 2 smb cloud adoption

  • Cisco predicts the U.S. SMB commercial-services market addressable by service providers will grow to more than $200B by 2015. Also included is an analysis of how fundamental differences in business segments drive IT behavior, as the following table illustrates. Source: What Do SMBs Want from Commercial-Services Providers? Insights from Cisco’s U.S. Research on SMB Services Delivery  Link: Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.

figure 3 smb cloud adoption

  • Hosting and cloud services provider Parallels projects that the worldwide SMB SaaS applications market was $14.5B in 2012 today and will grow to $33.8B by 2015, attaining a 32% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).  Please see the following illustration of a breakdown by region over the forecast period.  Source: Profit from the Cloud 2013 Global Parallels Global SMB Cloud Insights  Opt-in required, Link:  Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.

figure 4 smb cloud adoption

  • The latest research note from Bain & Company predicts revenue growth for SaaS companies will triple between 2011 and 2014.  The note also includes a revenue projection by category and is shown below. Source: The cloud reshapes the business of software by Ravi Vijayaraghavan  Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.

figure 5 smb cloud adoption

  • SMEs overwhelmingly prefer to buy or acquire  these critical systems (43%) rather than lease or pay for use (23%) in an SAP-sponsored survey by Oxford Economics.  The study found that the tools most commonly used by SMEs are business management software (48%), mobile (46%), and analytics (44%). Cloud computing adoption is expected to jump from 35% to 47% in three years. An infographic summarizing the results is below. You can get the survey results here: . Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.

figure 1a smb cloud adoption


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