Rise of SaaS prompts Spark Digital NZ business app launch

"We’ve reached a tipping point where the applications you need to run your business are now available on your computer, phone or tablet."

Spark Digital has launched the first fully integrated app marketplace for business in New Zealand, designed to allow organisations to find, buy, manage and use business applications with Spark Digital Apps.

Labelled as the first fully integrated Software-as-a Service (SaaS) marketplace in New Zealand, Spark Digital Apps allows businesses to buy and manage a range of software from leading software providers, all using a single log-in and on one bill.

While consumers have embraced the use of apps, it’s taken longer for businesses to be able to easily access and manage the software they need in one place.

Spark Digital Apps works like a smartphone app store where business will buy and manage products from well-known brands. By embracing new agile delivery models and increasingly using digital technology to deliver its solutions, the telco aims to provide a customer experience which is simple and frictionless.

Spark Digital’s Head of Marketing Mark Redgrave says that Spark Digital Apps has been developed in direct response to customer feedback, citing it as an opportunity for the company to deliver “more relevant, affordable services” for small to medium business customers.

“This is such an exciting time for business,” he adds. “We’ve reached a tipping point where the applications you need to run your business are now available on your computer, phone or tablet.

“We want to help our customers to work smarter, from anywhere so that they can maximise their productivity and improve how they work with their own customers.”

According to Redgrave, SaaS offers several benefits over traditional on-premise software and when delivered online, it is easier to install and manage, and does not require highly technical IT skills.

From an industry level, SaaS is experiencing unprecedented growth in New Zealand with analyst firm Gartner predicting that by 2018, SaaS will be the dominant way of using application software.

Going forward, as much as 80 percent of organisations will use SaaS, and it will account for 25 percent of IT spending on software.

Adding further weight to the debate, Adam Dodds, IDC IT Services Research Manager and IDC Cloud Brokerage lead says telecommunication providers worldwide like Spark are building integrated cloud and network services to serve SaaS.

“Telecommunications providers have recognised the value of supporting organisations on their cloud journey through providing digital application marketplaces,” he says.

“New Zealand has been identified as the most mature country in the APeJ region (IDC APeJ Cloud Maturity 2014) with regards to Cloud adoption.

“With over 79 percent of businesses now using between two and five cloud solutions there is a strong expectation from New Zealand organisations for this type of service.”

Redgrave says Spark Digital is starting with a “tight set of world-class apps” that enable flexibility, security and mobile working.

“Businesses will be able to log in with a single password for business applications like Microsoft Office 365, Mozy backup and McAfee security,” he explains.

“They can see, assign and remove who is using what. Spark Digital Apps will eliminate the drama of having to pay each supplier separately by having them all appear on their Spark Digital bill.

“This is the first fully integrated SaaS marketplace in New Zealand, and reinforces our focus on enabling more businesses to unleash their digital potential.”

Spark Digital has partnered with Silicon Valley based AppDirect to build the app marketplace and it is available from today.