SaaS platforms were already an essential part of most small-to-medium (SME) enterprise business models even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, since the public health threat has become more imminent and companies across the world have implemented strict work from home policies, it has become even more impossible for them to live without SaaS work.
Platforms such as Zoom, Slack, Hubspot and Salesforce are allowing businesses to run as normal – making team meetings possible, allowing teams to communicate and maintain client relationships – all from outside the office.
As the demand increases, TechCrunch reports that stocks for SaaS software are currently trading at around 10 times their trailing revenue. Group messaging platform Slack also reported in mid-March that their user stats were averaging over 2 million higher than normal.
In return, many of these platforms have pledged to give back, going above and beyond to help their customers, as well as their own employees, with the transition to remote work. Some SaaS platforms have even volunteered to support the humanitarian effort to combat COVID-19.
There’s no doubt that the moves being made by these companies are providing some valuable SaaS PR for the entire industry. They’re putting Saas business’ in a positive light and gaining themselves some valuable exposure, given the difficult circumstances that COVID-19 poses.
In that spirit, we’ve decided to take a closer look at how SaaS platforms are providing a much needed service while the world works from home.
Zoom, which enables video 1:1 meetings, daily check-ins for up to 49 people and company-wide webinars, has lifted its 40-minute limit on meetings with two or more participants for its basic users, allowing them unlimited time to chat.
In addition to constantly monitoring servers to ensure maximum reliability, Zoom is also scheduling information sessions to provide training for those now working remotely and who do not know how to use the platform.
The company also has several initiatives set up in China, the country originally hardest hit by coronavirus. These include mental health training, online education and telemedicine enablement for public hospitals.
This month, around 200 million people have been using Zoom, according to NPR, which is a large increase from the 10 million users the company recorded in December last year.
However, increased user demand has not been entirely plain-sailing for the video conferencing platform, which has been faced with a new privacy-threatening phenomenon: ‘Zoombombing.’
Any publicly shared links of calls mean that they are automatically available for any member of the public to enter. ‘Zoombombers’ have therefore started to drop into private calls sharing explicit material such as pornography.
The customer relationship management (CRM) platform, which provides marketing, sales, commerce and service products via cloud-based platforms, has put together a COVID-19 care response solution for its customers, many of whom are working remotely.
As part of this care response package, Salesforce is offering free access to its technology for emergency response teams, care management teams, health systems, health insurers and healthcare and life sciences organizations all responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
This free trial will be available to access for a total of six months, after which users can choose whether to deactivate their accounts or continue with the full-price contract.
For organizations helping to manage an increased volume of health-related requests via phone and chat, Salesforce Health Cloud has an emergency response contact center solution.
Outside of the organization, Salesforce is also donating large sums of money to the healthcare and humanitarian effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has made a donation of $1 million to the University of California, San Francisco’s COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as $500,000 to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Response Fund.
The company will also match any employee’s donation to NGOs such as UNICEF, Save the Children and Give2Asia and the CDC Foundation.
The messaging app that brings company communication together in one place began its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free 1:1 live consultations to help workforces with the sudden transition to remote work.
However, as the pandemic developed and remote working restrictions increased, Slack upped free upgrades to paid plans for those working on the response, research and mitigation of COVID-19. The SaaS platform is also offering consultations for best practices in remote team collaboration.
Outside of its customer base, Slack is also taking the way it helps its own employees with their transition to remote work very seriously.
“Don’t stress about work,” CEO Stewart Butterfield told his employees in a group slack message he sent out and then posted in a long Twitter thread on March 25. “It’s fine to work irregular or reduced hours,” he added, stressing that the company – which is worth over $20 billion – has their best interests at heart.
The CRM platform, which helps businesses grow their marketing, sales and service departments, is supporting small businesses as they take on the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and transition to remote work.
Firstly, Hubspot is making its paid functions for meetings, quotes, e-sign for documents and 1:1 video conference calls free for 90 days.
The company has also more than halved the cost of its ‘Starter Growth Suite’ and is offering all existing customers in this pay category a reduced price for a year, starting from the date of purchase.
In order to ensure that companies’ communication with their clients does not slip while they are working remotely, Hubspot has decided to suspend the send limits on marketing emails and increase call minutes for its Professional and Enterprise customers, for a 90-day period.
All businesses actively supporting COVID-19 relief efforts are encouraged to contact the platform directly to find out the ways in which Hubspot can help.
In short, although SaaS platforms are some of the businesses most likely to profit from this worldwide pandemic – besides already being strongly-positioned to deal with it – they are not looking to hoard their riches.
Whether it’s free upgrades, training sessions or reduced-price packages, these platforms are making life easier for their clients who are dealing with the transition to remote working, while also ensuring they look after their own employees.
All of this culminates to show how these SaaS platforms are using PR to help find digital solutions to the problems caused by COVID-19.