Gartner Forecasts Robust Growth in Global Public Cloud Services

Gartner forecasted continued growth of global public cloud services.  The analyst firm projected 17.5% growth in 2019 to $214.3 billion.  The fastest growth rate will be in Infrastructure as a Service which will jump 27.5% to $38.9 billion.  Platform as a Service is expected to rise by 21.8% this year.

“Cloud services are definitely shaking up the industry,” said Gartner Research VP Sid Nag.  “At Gartner, we know of no vendor or service provider today whose business model offerings and revenue growth are not influenced by the increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies in organizations.  What we see now is only the beginning, though.  Through 2022, Gartner projects the market size and growth of the cloud services industry at nearly three time the growth of overall IT services.”

Gartner research found that a third of organizations listed cloud investments as a top three investment priority.  Thirty percent of technology providers new software investments are shifting from cloud-first to cloud only.  Thus, SaaS and subscription cloud models will continue to replace license-based software sales.

SaaS Market Valuations

Venture Capital and Private Equity firms place a higher valuation on companies with recurring revenues. In Q1, software companies with a SaaS model received multiples of seven times revenue while other software companies received a multiple of 6.1.

“Any firm with recurring revenue is extremely attractive to investors,” said Rohit Kulkarni, head of research at SharesPost. “The subscription model translates to greater visibility of revenues, less volatility.”

According to PitchBook Data, Software-as-a-Service deals grew 217% between 2010 and 2016.

“SaaS is a more predictable and reliable revenue stream than if you had to go out and sell the software — the perpetual license model,” said Peter Fair, managing director at Golub Capital LLC.

Michael Larsen of Cambridge Associates said that SaaS models provide a “better measuring stick” as “these companies are moving toward more attractive, more readily transparent ways of selling products and they have attractive, meaningfully recurring revenues.” Employing a SaaS model does not prevent firms from failing but “it creates a more intensely analytical and measurable way of determining how a company is doing.”

For example, subscription firms that employ discounted offers to lure new customers may suffer from churn and see their business model unravel quickly. Subscription length needs to be carefully factored into valuing a firm and estimating its viability.