The best software as a service (SaaS) tools to grow your company

Inovasi dan Teknologi

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The best software as a service (SaaS) tools to grow your company

Oleh
Lim Wen Yi
,
February 9, 2023

Lim Wen Yi

Wen Yi is a freelance writer who works in strategy consulting. She is passionate about education, policy and graphic design.

October 4, 2023

What is software as a service (SaaS)? 

As the digital economy continues to boom, so has the number of software services available to users over the Internet. Software as a service, or SaaS for short, is a method of delivering applications over the Internet. 

SaaS is one of the most popular forms of cloud computing. Providers rely on a subscription-model to license out their applications to customers, while hosting everything on their own central server. 

Some familiar SaaS names might include Dropbox, Zoom, and Google Drive!

What are the benefits of using SaaS?

For businesses especially, SaaS are extremely appealing as they are affordable and flexible solutions to traditional software and brick-and-mortar systems. Many offer free access to their key functions, helping potential users to test out the market and mix-and-match services based on need.

Having your applications accessible over the Internet reduces the need to install software on individual computers (and makes it possible for you to access them on any device, at any time!)

Where do I begin?

Airtable

If you’ve ever used Google Sheets or Excel, you might be familiar with how tricky it can get trying to sort and filter through large volumes of data, or compare data across different spreadsheets. This is probably because the data and functions you’re looking for are better suited to a database. 

With its user-friendly interface and versatile functions, Airtable is a relational database tool made for everyone – even if you’ve never touched a database before. Be it a content calendar, project tracker or human resource planning, Airtable is a powerful solution for your team to create and share databases. 

How much does it cost? 

Users can choose from four plans: Free, Pro ($12/user/month), Plus ($24/user/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

Trello

Trello is a collaboration tool that allows you to organize, coordinate and track work as it moves through your company and different employees. Its popular Kanban-style boards help users visualize what is currently on their plate, as well as have access to view their colleagues’ current bandwidth. 

Trello also allows users to assign or co-create tasks, set deadlines, and attach a range of media for each task. In the words of co-founder Joel Spolsky, “Trello is for anything where you want to maintain a list of lists with a group of people.”

How much does it cost?

Users can choose from three plans: Free, Business Class ($12.50/user/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

ClickUp

ClickUp calls themselves a “productivity platform”, offering a whole suite of functions including lists, project management, docs, and chat. The list goes on! Its tools to track time, tasks, goals and finances are particularly handy for businesses looking for digital project management.  

To collate information already spread across other platforms, ClickUp has features for easy migration and integration from 1000+ other applications. For those who prefer all their work in one place, ClickUp might just be the solution you’re looking for. 

How much does it cost?

Users can choose from four plans: Free, Unlimited (RM20.54/user/month), Business (RM36.97/user/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

Slack

One of the most popular messaging platforms for businesses and organizations around the world, Slack is a reliable tool for team communication and collaboration. Users can create or join a “workspace” for their organization, and communicate via numerous “channels” that function as separate group chats. 

Users can also directly message each other, host video calls, and sync their applications with cloud platforms like DropBox or Google Drive. Slack is particularly useful for businesses/freelancers working remotely, as it saves your inbox and personal Whatsapp from being cluttered with internal communications!

How much does it cost?

Users can choose from three plans: Standard ($6.67/user/month), Plus ($12.50/user/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

Mereka.io

Mereka.io is a complete enterprise enabler, with a suite of enterprise-grade productivity tools for resource and community management. Geared towards businesses looking to grow in the creative and digital economy, Mereka.io operates in four main areas: Platform, Hubs, Spaces, and Experiences. 

In addition to being part of a like-minded community of entrepreneurs and digital learners, Mereka.io also supports talent and venue management, customer acquisition, community engagement, and content activation. Think of it as a way to complement existing operations and resources, so businesses can streamline their efforts and maximize their potential. 

How much does it cost?

Businesses can choose from four plans: Freemium, Business Starter (RM200/month), Hubs (RM500/month), and Academic Institution (RM1000/month).

Canva

For businesses engaged in the creative economy, the need for high-quality graphics goes without saying. Be it marketing, social media content or pitch decks, Canva is the easiest online graphic design software available on the market. 

The ideal Canva user is someone with little to no experience in design, looking for an intuitive ‘drag-and-drop’ interface with a wide range of customizable templates. Not saying that experienced design professionals won’t enjoy the stress-free simplicity of Canva!

How much does it cost?

Users can choose from Free, Pro (RM49.90/user/month), and Enterprise (RM125 /month).

Intercom

Intercom is a messenger-based Conversational Relationship Platform (CRP) for web and mobile businesses to manage customer relationships. Through real-time performance monitoring, businesses can view individual customers using their product and personally communicate through targeted emails and in-app messages. 

A key feature of Intercom is its use of reporting and metrics to help with audience segmentation. If you’re looking to improve your business-to-customer communication, Intercom might be the solution you’re looking for!

How much does it cost?

Businesses can choose from four plans: Start ($59/month), Grow ($119/month), Accelerate ($499/month), and Scale ($999/month).

Hubspot

If you’re on the hunt for an effective digital marketing and customer management strategy, read on! Hubspot combines marketing, sales and service software to provide the ultimate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform for digital economy businesses. 

Ever heard of inbound marketing? Hubspot helps businesses attract customers already checking out content related to your industry, via search engines, social media, and the like. (As opposed to traditional outbound marketing, which pushes messaging out to potential customers through door-to-door or cold-calling methods).

How much does it cost?

Businesses can purchase each software separately, or choose from three bundle plans: Starter ($50/month), Professional ($1343/month) and Enterprise ($4200/month).

Humanity

Humanity is an employee scheduling software to help businesses streamline their human resource management. The platform touts an easy-to-use design, particularly useful for SMEs without a dedicated human resources team.

A key feature is its ability to provide businesses with analytics and insight into their operations, to optimize staffing. Humanity’s creators claim the platform accelerates schedule creation by up to 80%!

How much does it cost?

Businesses can choose from three plans: Starter ($3.50/user/month), Classic ($5/user/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

UpWork

UpWork is a freelancing platform that connects enterprises, individuals and agencies to provide hiring solutions. It utilizes an AI algorithm to shortlist suitable candidates, while displaying profiles, portfolios and reviews of freelance professionals. Businesses also have access to Project Catalogs and Talent Scouts to help with talent management.

In 2019, a KellyOCG report stated that nearly 1 in 3 global workers are freelancers. In a workforce increasingly remote and diversified, UpWork has become the world’s largest talent marketplace.

How much does it cost?

Businesses can choose from three plans: Basic, Plus ($49.99/month), and Enterprise (separately quoted).

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