Proof of platform: SaaS companies have a median of 15 integrations each — app platforms have 500+

SaaS Integrations: Apps and Platforms

As Forrest Gump might say, “Platform is as platform does.”

Pandium, a fascinating kind of app-marketplace-as-a-service company, released a State of Product Integrations at the SaaS 1000 report this week. They examined integrations, public APIs, and “app centers” offered by the 1,000 fastest growing SaaS companies from 2019.

Their analysis provides empirical evidence for two truths:

  1. Nearly every SaaS company now integrates with other SaaS companies in the cloud. For the SaaS 1000, the median is 15 integrations each.
  2. Admiral, there be app platforms here! In the chart above, you can see the subset of SaaS companies, about 3%, that have around 500 or more integrations. Demonstrably, these are app platforms, centers of gravity within the SaaS landscape.

It’s remarkable how clear the delineation is in the above scatterplot: specialist apps on the left, app platforms on the right. It’s not coincidence that the median number of integrations for a SaaS app is in the ballpark of the same number of app platforms with 500+ integrations.

This research validates the model that I described for platform dynamics driving martech app expansion and consolidation earlier this month. (It also provides a more precise definition of the terms “specialist app” and “app platform.”)

App Platforms as a Fulcrum

Pandium’s research also analyzes different categories of SaaS products, including, of course, martech (with a shout-out to the marketing technology landscape). Here are some of the stats for martech SaaS, excerpted directly from their report:

  • The fastest growing martech companies have an average of 46 product integrations. The median number is 17 integrations.
  • 96% of martech companies have at least 1 integration.
  • 61% of martech companies have an “app center” featuring all their integrations.
  • 89% of martech companies provide their customers with an API.
  • 58% of martech companies provide public documentation for their API.
  • 11% of the fastest growing martech companies explicitly encourage third party developers to build integrations into their product, reflecting the growing importance of building a tech ecosystem around martech companies.

So martech has a higher number of integrations than SaaS in general — and a higher number of companies vying to be platforms in the space. But pretty much all of them offer APIs for customers to use and at least one integration to another SaaS app or platform.

The case for platform ecosystems driving The Second Golden Age of Martech is growing.

But it’s not only martech.

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