10 SaaS Startups Every Enterprise Should Know

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Often thought of as a small-business tool, Software-as-a-Service offers plenty of potential for large enterprise customers, as evidenced by the 10 startups we're exploring here. Our list includes SaaS applications for big organizational challenges, such as supply-chain, payroll, sales, recruiting, and company-wide collaboration.

When it comes to cloud computing options, enterprise IT departments often focus on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). That's because, in my experience, IT professionals at large organizations think of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as something primarily catering to small- and medium-size organizations.

But SaaS indeed can, and does, offer plenty of potential for enterprise customers, as evidenced by the 10 startups we're exploring here. Our list includes SaaS applications for traditional organizational challenges, such as supply-chain, payroll, sales, recruiting, and company-wide collaboration.

If your company develops software or sells products or services online, you, too, will find SaaS startups to help you offload many IT tasks, including creating development platforms and running payment fraud protection. In addition, several startups on our list take on the latest and most complex IT services, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, and monitoring inter-cloud networks and applications.

[What's next for Platform-as-a-Service? Read 7 PaaS Startups to Watch .]

The biggest obstacle facing SaaS in the enterprise is the notion that applications and data residing in the cloud would not be managed directly by in-house staff. It made SaaS a tough sell early on, because data was difficult, if not impossible, to manage, track, and extract. SaaS also held the stigma of vendor lock-in. CIOs are wary of using proprietary software in the cloud, owned and operated by a single vendor.

SaaS providers are working overtime to assuage these concerns. Meanwhile, IT leaders are learning to embrace the cloud for a variety of functions and applications. The development opens the door for more SaaS options in the enterprise.

Data is becoming more easily accessible and portable -- as is the ability to move from one SaaS product to another through the use of a robust set of cross-platform APIs, which many SaaS providers are introducing. Due diligence should still be performed to make sure the SaaS product you're choosing is the right long-term solution for your organization moving forward. Still, you'll find most of your concerns about vendor lock-in are largely resolved.

Once you've reviewed our list of 10 SaaS startups fit for the enterprise, tell us what you think. Are you considering any of the SaaS products listed here for your organization? What is your overall opinion regarding SaaS in the enterprise? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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