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SaaStr 2018 and the future of the cloud

UserTesting  |  February 23, 2018

SaaStr Annual 2018 was teeming with record numbers, impactful conversations, powerful thought leadership and even puppies as I walked around. They had it all this year, including a session with our very own CEO, Darrell Benatar, and Accel Partner, Vas Natarajan. The two provided insights into how to move your company upstream by keeping current users happy and captivating new buyers. Here are some of the key soundbites they shared:

  • You need to truly understand the pain points that your potential new buyers are having. Show them how your product is the solution to those issues.
  • There’s a huge difference between the cost of your product and the value of what your product provides. Make sure people understand the value of your product, not just the cost.
  • It’s important to not forget the frontline user that made you a company. While the people higher up in the company are the decision makers, it’s important to stay in tune with the users that are in your product day in and out.
  • Involve as many decision makers as possible in the process of understanding what your product does and how it can be of value to the company on both a macro and micro level.

The State of the Cloud

I also attended the “State of the Cloud: 2018 Edition” keynote led by Byron Deeter and Kristina Shen, both partners at Bessemer Venture Partners, to learn more about the biggest trends and predictions for the year – many already impacting us here at UserTesting. Byron and Kristina conveyed that while 2017 was dominated by talk of tech, bitcoin, and bots, 2018 would be defined by these eight predictions:

1. The screenless software movement

Voice is the next software battleground. By creating great software, screen interfaces will start to disappear. We recently discussed this topic here at UserTesting when one of our customers declared that “the screen is dead.” It caused us to pause and dive into what she meant and take a hard look at where technology is headed. It became clear that screenless interfaces will increasingly have success.

2. Values create value

This prediction focuses on employees and company culture. It’s important to iterate and reiterate company vision and values and to start early. Times are changing and it’s important for companies to stay in tune with their employees. When companies create a culture that leads to an environment that people want to join and continue to work for, they’re creating value that benefits the business in the future.

3. The cloud is flat

Innovation is no longer relegated to Silicon Valley and that’s causing a huge wave of change. Companies and individuals can create a “unicorn” anywhere in the world and we’ll see that grow this year.

4. The rise of serverless computing

Simply put, serverless computing relieves developers of the burden of worrying about infrastructure which in turn increases developer efficiency. It enables applications to be built in more agile ways. With serverless computing, we can focus more on capabilities and develop quicker and better than before. We’re already seeing companies like Amazon roll out their serverless computing with AWS Serverless Application Repository.

5. APIs Drive Innovation

Internal and external developers will work closely, pulling resources together to create innovative solutions. The quicker companies can create a space for developers to work together, the more successful they’ll be with access to fresh ideas and perspectives.

6. Blockchain finds a home in the enterprise

Blockchain is bringing a new wave of innovation and this will be the year that it finds its place within enterprise—particularly in the food, retail, aviation, and financial services industries. They’ll take blockchain technology to enrich their security and business functions, making operations safer and faster.

7. Payment-as-a-Service

Software and payments used to live apart, but that’s no longer true. If you have the user interface, platform, and have earned consumers’ trust to handle payments, you’ve earned the opportunity to expand. We’ll see applications label themselves in “payments capabilities” and then upsell from there.

8. The move from a system of record to a system of results

This year will be all about how companies can save their users time on their application. Users want to be able to get what they need efficiently and without sacrificing their experience. This is where AI and machine learning will come into play and help support this system of results.   

Looking ahead in 2018

2018 will be a year full of exciting changes throughout the SaaS world. It’s time for all businesses and brands to keep a close eye on how these trends and predictions will impact their companies this year.

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about how UserTesting can help you understand your customers through real-time human insights, contact us at

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