India’s got ‘SaaS’

The software-as-a-service industry is set to be worth $144 billion by 2022, and India has a seat at the high table

Five years ago, a company scripted a remarkable turnaround. Its market cap had plummeted from $1 billion when it listed to $8 million following the 2001 crash, trading at less than a $1 per share. The company Concur, which had begun by selling applications on CDs and floppy disks, decided to dismantle its business model and try a whole new one called SaaS (software as a service). It was essentially a change in delivery. Instead of shipping across bubble-wrapped CDs, their updates and newer version of the business-expense-reports application could now be accessed by their clients online, like you would a shopping site, on a browser. It drove up their revenue to $600 million in little over a decade and then SAP bought it in 2014 for $8.3 billion to bolster its presence in cloud computing, an area it could no longer ignore. SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott had called it the best business case he had ever put forward to the board.