Using Saas

The Growth of Vertical SaaS & 7 Companies to Watch in 2018

These days, there are SaaS solutions for every business need. Whether it’s beautiful marketing campaigns, time tracking systems, or sales forecasting software, there’s a SaaS product that can help. Software as a service offerings allow companies to grow and thrive, because they tend to be less expensive up front than traditional on-premise software or perpetual licenses, and they are constantly updated with new features in response to changing regulations and needs.

“Horizontal” SaaS products serve the needs of particular departments or functions, but are not designed to be industry-specific. “Vertical” SaaS products, on the other hand, are built with the needs of a particular industry in mind.  

Here we take a look at what vertical SaaS is, discuss why it’s a trend in B2B software, and highlight 7 top examples of powerful vertical SaaS solutions listed on TrustRadius.

What is Vertical SaaS?

Vertical SaaS solutions focus in on one particular industry. These types of solutions might feature similar tools that horizontal platforms offer, but tailored to be industry specific. They may combine functionality from different departments or functions into one platform to help run a business in that industry (i.e. club management software for managing a gym or salon). Or, they may perform one function with the needs of a certain industry in mind (i.e. SharpSpring, which provides marketing automation for marketing agencies).

Vertical SaaS suites compete with a patchwork of horizontal solutions. Without club management software, for instance, you’d likely need separate software for scheduling appointments, accepting payments, managing staff, marketing, etc. Vertical SaaS point solutions compete with horizontal point solutions that perform the same tasks, but don’t use the language of your industry, may not offer best practices/training catered towards your industry, and may not prioritize new features that are important to your industry over features that are important to other industries.

Solutions offered by Vertical Saas

Vertical solutions are often customizable to fit companies’ needs and are paired with expert knowledge of the field. Vendor representatives can more easily act as trusted advisors since the product and their knowledgebase are more finely tuned to the user’s industry.

Not only will vertical SaaS providers know the ins and outs of regulatory processes, but they will also know the specific needs of an industry. Needs vary widely across industries, even for basic systems like cloud storage or HR. Researchers in biotech will need a secure and reliable data storage system with coding capabilities. Hospitality companies will have higher staff turnover and need to focus on efficient onboarding and communication, as well as regulatory compliance.

It is necessary for vertical SaaS companies to have expert knowledge on the industry the work in because their clients depend on it. In industries where regulation is heavily monitored, vertical SaaS companies will often feature compliance tools and support. International corporations must know the laws and standards working in different countries.

Working with customer support that understands industry-specific needs, language, laws, and norms can save companies time and effort when finding and implementing the right software for their teams.

The Growing Trend of Vertical SaaS

With the understanding that vertical SaaS solutions allow companies to use more tailored platforms that suit their needs more efficiently, it is no surprise that vertical SaaS is a growing focus in the B2B world.

In this past decade, the market size for vertical SaaS companies has tripled. Previously, many developers and thought leaders thought industries like agriculture, home health care, industrial, etc. wouldn’t quickly jump on board with new, mostly cloud-based software. Much to their surprise, they have.

One study found that vertical SaaS companies have a $1.3 B higher enterprise value than horizontals and are more profitable by about 30 points on an EBITDA margin basis.

Why are vertical SaaS companies thriving? There are fewer competitors within each industry and early leaders tend to dominate their field. Companies that achieve the golden standard for the industry tend to maintain that leadership role.

People in a particular industry network with peers in other companies, attending conferences and events together. People tend to invest in software that others recommend and are likely to remain loyal customers.

Vertical SaaS solutions tend to address problems that go unnoticed in the horizontal SaaS market. People across all industries want the latest technology. Perhaps cloud-based technology in certain markets seemed unnecessary or novel a decade ago, but it is now the expectation.

7 Vertical SaaS Companies to Watch

Vertical SaaS companies can be a challenge to study in and of themselves because they cross industry lines and are a subset of the general SaaS market.

To visualize how important and useful these types of SaaS can be, we take a dive into vertical SaaS platforms listed on TrustRadius. TrustRadius has SaaS category pages for various verticals. These are among the highest rated listings within each of these vertical categories.

Though TrustRadius does not have a Life Science category page, Veeva is included on this list because it is often noted as the most successful vertical SaaS case study.

Veeva homepage1. Veeva: Life Sciences Research

Veeva offers several cloud-based services for life science and pharmaceutical companies. It provides solutions across the whole life sciences industry, addressing clinical, medical, regulatory, quality, and commercial use cases.

Additioanlly, Veeva offers a content management vault, health science CRM, customer master data management, and open data on more than 16 million health care professionals and organizations.

Reviews praise Veeva for being a great platform for recording conversations between marketing teams and health practitioners. Data mining and storing make Veeva a strong asset for life science companies. Others also highlight how it makes compliance much easier.

Veeva CRM is used by our marketing team to record discussion they have with the Doctors, nurses and other staff members at the clinic/hospitals. The system is also used by the clinical research/medical affairs team to review the discussion the marketing team had with the investigators.”

~ Verified User | Contributor in Marketing | Pharmaceuticals Company

The healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries are complex fields with demanding needs. Compliance support, data on millions of healthcare organizations, secure data storage for researchers, and a coder system are examples of how this vertical SaaS has become an expert service for life science companies.

hot schedules homepage2. HotSchedules: Restaurant Management

HotSchedules is a restaurant management solution that offers tools for operations and scheduling. It features labor management, inventory management, intelligent forecasting, cash management, and talent development.

Users cite HotSchedules as a great tool for managers to make scheduling easier, communicate and train staff better, and to manage data more efficiently.

Well suited for any staff especially restaurants or larger than 20 staff members. Makes all digital- Notes, messages and goes right to their email or phone whichever they have set up.”

~ Nathan Miller | Operating Partner | CentraArchy Restaurants

Restaurants often have teams with different schedules, shift changes, and a unique working environment. Instead of notes on a whiteboard or texts late at night from managers (common default strategies in the restaurant vertical), HotSchedules allows for better team communication and scheduling, which still respecting the particular needs and culture of the service industry.

practice fusion homepage3. Practice Fusion: Medical Practice Management

Practice Fusion is a large electronic health record (EHR) solution that supports 30,000 medical practices across the US. This solution offers practice management, intuitive charts, e-prescriptions, electronic lab and imaging orders, and a patient portal.

Practice Fusion works on both desktops and iPads, making it easier for doctors to have access to EHRs at all times.

Users love that this SaaS solution makes practice management more efficient. Clients highlight that billing, referrals, lab work, and more are all in order and much easier to complete.

Great EHR for the size practice and the price. Referral process is easy. Reporting is exactly what we need. Constantly updating which is great. Support managers answer questions promptly.”

~ Lynn Reeves Hill | Billing Manager, CPC | Medical Office

Medical practices want to give the best care possible to their patients. New SaaS technology is enabling practitioners to keep medical records more organized and accessible.  

procore homepage4. Procore: Project Management for the Construction Industry

Procore is a project management software designed specifically for construction professionals.

The project management solution can be accessed from any device and at any time. This platform encourages collaboration, communication, and improved efficiency. All drawings, plans, and specs can be accessed and edited on Procore.

Features include bid packages, plan markups and sharing, issue tracking and punch lists, RFI tools, scheduling integration and more.

Reviewers praise Procore for making communication, project tracking, and collaboration easier. With this solution, users have seen their documents and files streamlined.

“As a main contractor, Procore is great for us to manage both upstream and downstream communications. We are able to manage all construction information within the toolset incl. drawings, RFI’s, CVI’s, Snagging (punch lists), submittals, instructions, photos, observations and a daily log.”

~ Steve Buchanan | Head of IT | BW: Workplace Experts

Construction projects are complex. The require immense planning, communication, and flexibility when unexpected changes arise. This solution addresses these unique needs that construction professionals face.

lucernex homepage5. Lucernex Lease Administration and Accounting

Lucernex Lease Administration and Accounting is a lease management solution. This SaaS features real estate and equipment lease accounting, real estate and lease administration, data migration, FASB/IASB compliance, and more.

Customers highlight this SaaS as a great solution for companies with many lease assets. It can be used across different teams in the same company.

A huge strength of this solution is that it helps companies comply with changing compliance regulations and has excellent customer support.

I believe Accruent is well suited for companies with a large amount of leased assets that need to be accounted for under the new accounting standard.”

~ Bryan Kelly, CPA, CFE, MBA | Sr. Financial Analyst | MSA – The Safety Company

Organizations that manage different leases have complex accounting processes and evolving regulations to abide by. This is an example of how a software and the expert customer support they offer blend into a specialized SaaS solution.

applied epic homepage6. Applied Epic: Insurance Agency Management

Applied Epic is an insurance cloud management system. This SaaS allows insurance agents to manage property and casualty insurance (P&C), benefits, and sales in a single platform.

It features customer relationship and sales automation, process management and automation, document management, omniservice customer service capabilities, and integrated mass text messaging to customers.

Customers use this solution as a centralized management system across departments. Accounting, P&C departments, employee benefits teams, and other teams can all access necessary documents, data, and workflows.

It is our central agency management system and has allowed us to consolidate our storage of documentation as well as streamline workflows across the organization.”

~ Verified User | Manager in Professional Services | Insurance Company

Insurance agencies provide a unique service and require distinct accounting software, team workflows, etc. This software is designed to meet those needs.

mycase homepage7. MyCase: Legal Case Management

MyCase is a all-in-one legal case management software.

Features include case management, billing cycle, a client portal for easy file sharing, customer support, and marketing tools to enhance firms’ digital presence.

Reviewers highlight MyCase as a powerful tool for small law firms to track billable time, do invoicing, organize documents, and improve communication and task management.

I have worked at several firms that use a mix of products… It was always a struggle to get the systems to work together and I always wasted a lot of time switching between programs. With MyCase 99% of what I need is right in front of me.”

~ D. Mathew Blackburn | Tax Specialist | Owlbear Works Limited

Lawyers juggle many responsibilities, appointments, contacts, and documents. They need to access all this information from anywhere. This is why MyCase is a powerful management solution specifically targeted for legal professionals.

Considering a Vertical Solution for Your Needs

Vertical SaaS solutions are based on expert knowledge and advanced software technology designed to equip specific markets. Considering all of the versatile needs of different industries, the potential for vertical SaaS solutions to gain traction and satisfy business needs is clear.

Didn’t see your industry listed? Browse TrustRadius to find more vertical SaaS companies that can enhance your organization.

Brooklin Nash

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.

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