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Pandemic Boosts U.S. Demand for Cloud Solutions as Companies Seek Greater Agility

ISG Provider Lens™ report finds enterprises prioritizing spending on as-a-service applications over other IT investments during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. demand for cloud-based solutions has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies recognize they can better prepare for major disruptions by subscribing to software and infrastructure as services, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensEnterprise Application-as-a-Service Platforms report for the U.S. finds the pandemic led to more cloud adoption as companies raced to implement remote work and improve their customers’ digital experience. Cloud applications was the only segment of IT spending that did not decline due to the pandemic, and it continues to grow, ISG says.

In the second quarter of 2021, the annual contract value of large cloud-based, as-a-service engagements for the Americas region rose 33 percent, to a record $5.9 billion. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) rose 33 percent, to $3.9 billion, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) advanced 31 percent, to $1.9 billion, both records.

“The pandemic made companies realize they need more flexibility to respond to major challenges, including COVID-driven facility shutdowns, travel restrictions, workplace health and safety, and other business disruptions,” said Bill Huber, ISG partner, digital platforms and solutions. “Cloud-based applications and solutions allow employees to work from anywhere and help organizations become more agile and resilient to constant changes in market dynamics.”

U.S. enterprises are embracing next-generation SaaS solutions utilizing technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, edge computing and support for the Internet of Things (IoT), the report says.

Changes in customer requirements have caused the design of enterprise applications to shift, leading SaaS providers to build platforms with cloud-native technology, user-centric designs and modern application programming interfaces (APIs) for easy integration. As cloud-native applications also address dynamic workload and data requirements, they lead to growing demand for connected cloud infrastructure.

More advanced APIs are helping to drive SaaS growth, according to ISG. These APIs enable channel partners and integrators to easily combine sets of applications that meet the needs of specific customers. This shortens the time to market for new offerings, allowing providers to focus on their core capabilities and develop functions that set them apart.

Demand for vertical SaaS solutions aimed at specific industries is another major growth area, the report says. Providers are focusing on developing pre-built integrations for specific sectors and meeting each industry’s key performance indicators (KPIs). During the pandemic, demand has been especially strong for vertical SaaS solutions in supply chain management and ERP, ISG says.

While the SaaS market has a growing number of players, including small niche providers, industry consolidation to gain the advantages of scale is expected to continue, the report says. Nearly all companies covered in the report have acquired smaller vendors in the last three years. When looking at SaaS providers, clients should consider the chances of the company being acquired and be mindful of support options, ISG says.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensEnterprise Application-as-a-Service Platforms report for the U.S. evaluates the capabilities of 34 providers across three quadrants: Human Capital Management, Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management.

The report names Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Workday as Leaders in two quadrants each. It names Infor, Oracle CX Suite, Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, QAD, Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Customer Experience, SAP S/4HANA, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) and Zendesk as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Ceridian, Pegasystems and Ramco are named as Rising Stars—companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensEnterprise Application-as-a-Service Platforms report for the U.S. is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, the Nordics, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 700 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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