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Blog | Nov 9
WRITTEN BY Reetta Heiskanen
A key driver behind the adoption of AI has been its increased accessibility. For instance, generative AI, currently being experimented by over 54.6% of organizations, has significantly expanded the reach of AI transforming it into a mainstream tool for many businesses. For example, ChatGPT reported already in this February, only two months after launching, that they’ve reached 100 million monthly active users. According to an IBM survey, over 35% of companies reported the use of AI in their business in 2022, showing a four-point increase from 2021.
How is AI reshaping the B2B SaaS landscape? We sat down with Ultimate's Reetu Kainulainen to find out. Ultimate is a customer support automation platform powered by AI that helps companies like Zalando, Zendesk, and GetYourGuide to improve their customer service.
The surge in AI integration has paved the way for establishing new micro-SaaS partnerships. These collaborations present exciting opportunities for businesses within the B2B SaaS sector.
"In the beginning, Ultimate started as a micro-SaaS partnership too. We developed something 'headless', seamlessly integrating with help desk solutions. Essentially, we've always been about plugging into CRM systems”, Reetu describes.
However, while these partnerships open doors for new developments, the increasingly accessible nature of AI has allowed tech giants to develop their in-house AI tools, creating a market filled with both opportunities and challenges for smaller companies.
As the demand, excitement, and investment in AI integration continue to soar, competition may be fierce. But, the potential for growth is equally vast.
“90% of our customers are integrating AI for the first time”, shares Reetu.
To race to the top, it's crucial for smaller players to focus on developing new solutions, niche offerings, and strategic collaborations.
“AI integration into B2B SaaS does two things: it enables new possibilities and simplifies existing processes”, says Reettu.
Among the various AI technologies, generative AI stands out as a versatile, single-paradigm technology capable of transforming multiple aspects of business operations. Generative AI is continually evolving, offering the promise of specialized models tailored to support various organizational functions. Whether it's marketing, sales conversion, or optimizing complex internal processes, generative AI holds the key to simplifying operations across industries.
As generative AI matures, we can anticipate tailored solutions designed explicitly for the B2B sector. It is estimated that generative AI’s impact on productivity could add up to $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy. Businesses will be able to leverage AI in previously unimagined ways from, for example, streamlining workflow automation to enhancing customer engagement. We are already starting to see the impact this technology is making in numerous sectors.
“AI is like your co-pilot, whether you're a developer, in support, or simply composing an email. It understands your needs and executes the tasks for you.”
Subscription- and seat-based pricing models have been traditional fixtures in the SaaS industry for years. However, the ever-increasing adoption of Large Language Models (LLMs) and the use of OpenAI and third-party APIs have raised concerns about skyrocketing costs for businesses. To address this cost escalation, traditional pricing models are giving way to a more dynamic, usage-based approach deeply rooted in value creation.
"Ultimate's pricing model has been usage-based from the beginning. We agree with our customers on the value we'll provide, and they pay as they consume AI-powered conversations."
This approach has gained momentum, with several billion-dollar CRM companies, like Salesforce, now moving in the same direction. This shift reflects the evolving landscape of AI-powered solutions, ensuring that businesses pay for the services they genuinely utilize and derive value from, rather than adhering to fixed subscriptions or seat-based pricing.
As the use of AI continues to expand, it's becoming clear that the risk of data and security breaches is a pressing concern for businesses. Almost 1 in 5 IT professionals cite difficulties ensuring data security as a key hindrance to adopting AI for their organizations.
However, this issue is predominantly associated with OpenAI;
“We exclusively use models within Europe to ensure we have control over it in the future. I believe that every company will develop their own models and architectures, enhancing their security protocols.”
In the long term, as awareness and education on this subject grow, we can expect consolidation in the AI security space. Companies will invest more in robust security measures, and industry-wide standards and best practices will emerge to protect sensitive data and ensure the responsible use of AI in the B2B SaaS sector.
Operating in this space? Reach out to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com