Uncovering the Reasons Professional Services Organizations Benefit from Vertical SaaS Solutions
The latest episode of Kantata’s Professional Services Pursuit Podcast, hosted by Banoo Behboodi, features Charles Gustine, Brand Evangelist at Kantata. This episode focuses on key results from new research from Kantata and Salesforce, which was conducted by Forrester Consulting. The resulting study, Vertical SaaS for Professional Services is Driving Material Benefits, reveals current trends shaping the professional services industry and examines why shifts in the market are driving organizations to transition from horizontal approaches to vertical SaaS solutions.
This blog will look at some of the key insights Banoo and Charles cover in the episode. To hear the full episode, or read the episode transcript, click here.
Defining Vertical SaaS for Professional Services
According to Charles, the impetus for this research was understanding how buying behaviors in the professional services industry were evolving, and how vertical SaaS played into that evolution. “Obviously vertical SaaS is not a new concept,” he says. “There’s long been this concept in the technology industry of horizontal and vertical. So in defining vertical SaaS for professional services, we are not necessarily breaking new ground here, but I think we’re trying to understand a shift that has happened in other industries before, and what we wanted to really understand is how is that happening in the professional services industry?”
As defined in the study, a vertical, professional services SaaS solution is “a cloud solution that has been purpose-built by domain experts with configurable out-of-the-box capabilities that are specifically designed to address the unique needs of services organizations.” To conduct the research, Forrester Consulting surveyed 383 global technology decision-makers for professional services firms to understand their perspective on the current challenges and opportunities in the industry today.
Operational Challenges Driving the Need for Vertical SaaS for PS
One of the goals of the research Kantata and Salesforce commissioned was to determine what the key priorities were for services organizations, and what business challenges were standing in the way of those priorities.
Regarding these priorities, Charles says: “The strategic imperative for business that we’re seeing is how do we scale our business – and that could be scale up or scale down – while growing profits, but also while creating loyal customers and while growing and retaining our workforce? Those are not always the most complimentary goals. And oftentimes they’re at odds with each other and businesses have a tough time balancing those.”
The study validated that these are indeed top priorities for services organizations, with 87% of respondents saying creating loyal customers is a critical or high priority for their business, 85% saying maximizing profits is a critical or high priority, and 85% saying growing and retaining their workforce is a critical or high priority.
But the research showed that the majority of businesses face challenges that stand in the way of those priorities:
- 55% of respondents say they’re challenged with lower-than-expected profits
- 53% say they’re challenged with poor retention of clients
- 53% say they’re challenged with poor retention of employees
- 51% say they find it challenging to collaborate directly with clients on engagements
- 51% say they find it challenging to conduct resource planning and project team collaboration across the entire services workforce
How Vertical SaaS for PS is Helping Businesses Achieve Their Goals
On the episode, Charles and Banoo discuss the material benefits that vertical SaaS for PS drives according to the research, and how those benefits align with top priorities for services organizations. “Once we defined vertical SaaS for the survey base, we asked businesses, is this something you’re currently using?’ said Charles. “And for those that said ‘Yeah, this is something we’re currently using.’ We asked them ‘Okay, what’s it doing for your organization? What are the benefits that it is driving?’ And so some of the things that they said that it was driving for their organization were the kinds of things that a) you would want, no matter what, and b) tied directly into those strategic imperatives.”
Some examples of benefits that vertical SaaS for PS users said they had experienced include:
- Increased client retention (47% of users)
- Increased employee retention (44% of users)
- Increased services revenue (43% of users)
- Improved average project margin (43% of users)
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about why 9 in 10 users say vertical Saas for PS has driven material benefits for their organization and 89% of users say they believe vertical SaaS for PS is the way of the future, check out the full episode at this link, or dive into the full study, Vertical SaaS for Professional Services is Driving Material Benefits.