Indian SaaS companies has to buckle up on the back of increased demand

The use of artificial intelligence, adoption of cloud computing, and remote work has been the key for the growth of the Indian SaaS industry

Akashdeep Arul
New Update
Indian SaaS companies has to buckle up on the back of increased demand

Software as a service (SaaS) is a model of delivery in which a particular software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. Through SaaS, any data can be accessed from any device with a stable internet connection and a web browser.


The technological advancements and innovations to boost business productivity, along with the growing number of internet users, has been driving the growth of the software as a service market in India, according to Expert Market Research report.

These advancements include the use of artificial intelligence, adoption of cloud computing, and others. Further, the growing adoption of remote work and work from home models and the increasing reliance on technology amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a surge in IT spending by various industries. This is likely to be a key trend fostering the growth of the Indian SaaS industry in the forecast period, it added.

To understand the Indian SaaS industry better, CIOL roped in Vara Kumar, Co-founder, Whatfix to analyze the ins and outs of this industry and to talk about his his start-up Whatfix.


Whatfix is a SaaS based platform and offers a digital adoption platform (DAP) that helps with simple in-app walkthroughs, videos, and guides for using new software solutions and features.

The platform is designed to ease customization and its content can be easily integrated with the learning management system (LMS) of the organizations and the entire engagement can be tracked in analytics for further modifications as well.

“I grew up in a village. Most of my family and relatives are into small retail businesses. I was an average student and was destined to get into the family business,” Vara said.


It was during graduation when my entire view of the world and interest in education changed. I had fallen in love with computer programming and had a passion to start my own business to make an impact on people’s lives, he added.

Rather than a person, it was Vara’s circumstances that influenced him the most. Falling in love with computers and going through a rough patch in his personal life during post-graduation left a strong influence on his personality.

“People on the internet want to solve their own problems, they prefer self-service over being told what to do. We simply made it easier to enable this kind of help and instruction in the form of videos and texts in a data-intensive world,” Vara said.


We initially started out with an idea to support marketing for SMBs. We developed a solution that would crawl across the interwebs for data points, analyze it and identify marketing recommendations. While the solution was successful, customers required instruction and support to use the solution, he said.

Before launching Whatfix, Vara had worked for almost nine years at Huawei and had a passion for building a global product company from India with innovation at its heart. He has over 20 years of experience in information technology, high-tech, enterprise software, and SaaS companies.

“The Whatfix journey began in 2010 when Khadim and I decided to start our marketing DIY product called SearchEnabler, targeting SMBs. This was an on-demand SaaS tool that businesses could use to implement recommendations for enhancing their organic search visibility,” Vara said.


While SearchEnbler received good traction, we faced a newer challenge as the product was not being adopted effectively as most customers wanted extensive support and hand-holding, he added.

The Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) market is growing at a significant rate, as an increasing number of enterprises realize the urgency to reap the benefits from their digital initiatives.

With DAP’s help, enterprises can successfully drive up adoption and provide a superior user experience. This becomes increasingly relevant amid the current pandemic when there is a ubiquitous need to provide remote training and support experiences.


Whatfix is a B2B SaaS start-up and a digital adoption platform. It overlays on top of applications and allows employees to use applications faster and better.

The company uses disruptive technologies such as big data, AI that can play a huge role in improving the experience and productivity. It is a micro learning platform that creates sequential, contextual, and bite-sized curriculum in preferred learning styles for delivering training that sticks.

While talking about the industry as a whole, Vara says, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an accelerated pace of digital transformation across industries. A great part of digital transformation is the adoption and optimal utilization of critical platforms and tools.


In the current remote or hybrid working environments, users no longer can turn to the person on their left, or easily reach out to a colleague to walk through sophisticated solutions.

At such a time, it become even more critical that we enable independent production and make everyone more efficient to sustain business momentum.

Since no industry is a fool-proof way to earn money by starting a company, the SaaS industry comes with its own set of challenges. However, these hurdles can be overcome overtime.

“The one thing I would like to change about the industry is the barrier to product adoption. While many understand the problems we solve, they do not necessarily understand that there is a solution available to them. The main challenge that we are currently tasked with is solving this,” Vara said.

We need to lead the pack of technological innovations and advancements. At rank 48, India stands among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 with a score of 35.6, he added.