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Small Business Software Trends for 2012

Are you confused by the terms SaaS and cloud computing? In their simplest forms, software as a service (SaaS) is the application, and the cloud is the place where you store the data from that app (and in most cases the application itself). Many of the latest technology announcements have implications for SaaS and cloud development that will serve small businesses everywhere.

tablet cloud

Note:  This is not a “predictions” post. I’m simply sharing what I’m seeing in the software marketplace.

Scheduling staff and workers is increasingly important to business owners, but so is letting customers set appointments based on openings in your schedule. Back in 2009, I wrote about Shiftboard for staff scheduling [5]. For appointment setting, I would suggest Tungle or BookFresh.  Large companies may care about being able to access software from anywhere more than the smaller company, but given that small business is the lifeblood of the economy, remote access to applications is rapidly becoming mission-critical.

All in all, SaaS is still on fire and growing fast. According to Forrester Research data, SaaS total revenues will reach $21.2 billion in 2011 and more than quadruple to $92.8 billion by 2016. This is 26 percent of the entire packaged software market. However, Forrester predicts SaaS will reach a saturation point in five years, and growth will slow between 2016 and 2020. Hat tip to CMS Wire [10] for their summary of this report.

Tablet Cloud Photo via Shutterstock