As we move towards a modern business era, SaaS has become an inevitable part of IT companies. According to Statista, global SaaS workloads are expected to reach 380 million by 2021. Moreover, in the upcoming time, the number of SaaS apps used by a company will increase significantly.
Managing SaaS subscriptions is a time-consuming and complex process. To streamline and monitor hundreds of SaaS applications, companies need to have a robust SaaS management platform.
SaaS management is a modern-day business practice of managing and monitoring the purchase, integrations, usage, renewal, licensing, and off-boarding of SaaS apps. It is similar to maintaining a company’s technology portfolio for diverse applications.
However, with the growing number of SaaS apps, such as Zoom, Salesforce, etc., enterprise SaaS management has become a more significant challenge.
Challenges of SaaS Management
Having multiple subscriptions often makes it hard for the IT department to implement the SaaS management best practices.
According to a Hosting Tribunal survey, 68% of enterprise companies consider themselves “intermediate” or “advanced.” With such high utilization of SaaS applications, it is essential to keep track of how employees use and manage SaaS tools.
Let’s check out the key challenges companies face concerning SaaS operations when they don’t use a SaaS management platform.
1. Lack of Visibility on App Usage
Only one-third of the companies can perform a routine check on their corporate network and SaaS subscriptions. In addition, when anyone has access to download and use SaaS apps, it becomes difficult for the IT team to check the actual usage data.
Lack of visibility on app usage can pose security threats to the company’s data and increase the overall expense. For example, two individuals can subscribe to the same SaaS tool by mistake in the absence of enterprise SaaS management.
2. Slow and Manual SaaS Management
User Lifecycle Management (ULM) is complex as there are several aspects to track. In addition, as every employee is using a unique set of SaaS applications, tracking and updating the employee’s status in the SaaS directory becomes chaotic.
Without SaaS management best practices, the ITAM team is forced to spend substantial time to log the current status of SaaS tools used in the organization and plan for future subscriptions. In addition, there are high chances of human error in updating the details, creating more complexities during the final audit.
3. Data Security Risks
According to an IDC survey, eight out of ten organizations in the US have experienced data breaches due to a lack of SaaS tools monitoring and cloud misconfiguration. When companies use cloud and SaaS services, data breach possibilities may increase if there is no centralized control.
4. IT and Financial Challenges
In some cases, employees subscribe to the SaaS tool, which they find helpful as per their convenience, and then stop using the existing ones. The major problem in this scenario is that the IT team can’t track when the employee has stopped using the app and renews the subscription regularly.
It becomes a financial burden, and the company ends up paying more for the limited services used by its employees. Since an average company has at least 80 applications, the financial loss could compound significantly. Therefore, SaaS spend optimization is a crucial requirement in this situation.
SaaS Management – The Key Business Needs
As the business grows over a period, process management becomes essential, especially in enterprise SaaS management. As a result, companies need to manage multiple requirements to run their internal operations seamlessly.
1. Avoid and Minimize Shadow IT
Shadow IT is the practice of buying and using tools, resources, and subscriptions without approval from the IT department. Companies need to avoid and minimize shadow IT as it incurs a high cost and can lead to data security issues.
It is a common practice where many employees have the right to purchase a SaaS subscription without approval.
Shadow IT can cause financial damage to the company and leak the organization’s sensitive data. Therefore, the organization needs to route all SaaS procurements via the IT department to avoid shadow IT practices.
2. SaaS License Management
SaaS license management is a pivotal need for businesses, and most companies struggle to centralize their licenses. For effective SaaS adoption, the IT team needs to manage multiple vendors, track actual usage & cost, and negotiate the terms with the providers. With a proper license management tool, the team members can see what tools they are often using and the ones they don’t require.
Understanding the fine print of SaaS contracts is also crucial for businesses to maximize the value derived from a SaaS subscription and minimize risks and liabilities.
3. SaaS Renewal Management
Manual or spreadsheet-based tracking of SaaS subscriptions might result in missed renewals and automatic canceling of one or more SaaS tools. So, to ensure all the subscriptions are up and running, companies need to have a SaaS renewal management tool to keep track of renewal and cancellation dates of tools.
4. SaaS Spend Visibility and Analysis
When employees use the pay-as-you-use SaaS model, the IT team finds it difficult to track down the actual usage compared to the charges billed by the vendor. Sometimes, SaaS vendors may charge a higher amount based on actual usage. For managing this challenge, companies need to analyze their SaaS spending and manage plans accordingly. This situation is different from traditional software management or SAM, wherein the costs are one-time with no impact of usage.
5. Data Security, Risk Mitigation, and Compliance
SaaS application misconfiguration can lead to security breaches that can affect the privacy of employees and customers.
Unsecured SaaS purchases may cause serious compliance issues and might not allow the company to negotiate the terms effectively. Therefore, companies need to pay close attention to compliance management and risk mitigation while auditing the SaaS subscription. A SaaS management tool comes in handy to make this job more manageable.
6. SaaS Utilization and ROI
Companies need a SaaS management platform to generate greater ROI and make the best use out of all the SaaS subscriptions. When an organization has multiple subscriptions, they also pay for subscriptions that they rarely use. Overlooking such parameters can affect the overall operational cost of the business.
With enterprise SaaS management, the IT administration can get accurate insights into the actual usage of SaaS tools. Based on the usage analysis, the administration team can optimize SaaS licenses with ease.
7. SaaS Governance and Shared Access
Lack of efficient governance and controlled access leads to shadow IT, and business owners need centralized control to manage SaaS subscriptions and shared access. Organizing the shared access within the organization brings more agility in operations and lets the administration make quick changes for improving the team’s performance.
Deploying a robust SaaS management system helps the company monitor the SaaS application inventory and improve the overall security. In addition, SaaS management empowers company owners to take control of their SaaS application stack.
SaaS Management Platform – Tackling Challenges and Meeting Business Needs
A SaaS management platform can help businesses mitigate the above risks and meet business goals in several ways. For example, using a SaaS management platform, companies can analyze their usage, curtail shadow IT, and renew future SaaS subscriptions optimally.
1. Discover Your SaaS Footprint
SaaS management platforms help understand the usage of SaaS tools across different teams and departments and allow optimal utilization. It gives businesses the necessary space to plan SaaS tools implementation. By discovering the SaaS footprints in your business, you can establish a completely transparent process across teams.
2. Maintain a System of Record
Without centralized access to a system of records, it becomes difficult to track critical information regarding every application. For example, who’s using the tool, what permissions are granted to SaaS platforms, and other essential details that need to be on the system.
SaaS system of record is a centralized location that stores all essential details and data of every SaaS application. Using a SaaS management platform, an IT administrator can track details including SaaS utilization & spending, licenses & contracts, overall functionality, ownership, and renewal information.
3. SaaS Spend Analysis & Optimization
Spending analysis and optimization of SaaS subscriptions help companies save money in the long term. A SaaS management platform can have 24×7 access to how the tools are used within the organization. Only when the IT team has this complete information can they optimize the spending and negotiate the terms with the providers.
4. Centralized Administration: Unified View of SaaS Vendors
SaaS management platforms help company owners to merge administrative actions and critical business data into a single platform. It enables the administrator to manage SaaS policies, visualize users & assets, mitigate policy violations, and audit the billing invoices.
Having a centralized administration helps companies scale their operations and efficiently manage the access distribution. In addition, as the business grows, the IT team can easily manage different SaaS vendors through a single and unified platform.
5. SaaS Contracts & Renewals Management
Management of SaaS contracts and renewals is prone to human error. Using a SaaS management platform eases the work by enabling the IT team to have flexible & automated control over the licensing and renewals.
Renewal management ensures that a SaaS service doesn’t stop suddenly as the subscription expires. It also sends renewal reminders which can prompt the users to rethink the tool they are using and explore new ones before the renewal date. With a SaaS management platform, you can organize subscriptions easily using an intuitive UI.
6. Usage Tracking and License Management
SaaS licensing management and usage tracking options help company owners offer an uninterrupted experience to their teams and departments. In addition, license management lets the IT team go through crucial fine prints of the SaaS terms & conditions and keeps the security intact.
Usage tracking allows organizations to track and optimize SaaS licensing with proactive vendor management.
7. IT Workflow Automation
Automation streamlines several repetitive challenges that consume substantial time. Workflow automation helps companies focus on essential tasks and scale their business faster.
IT workflow automation is a boon to ensure that business protocols are followed, and human errors don’t hinder the operations.
8. Administrative Control
Administrative control plays a pivotal role in managing the SaaS tools and subscriptions. SaaS management platforms help business owners to have complete control over every crucial aspect of the SaaS tool.
From defining the usage levels for every user to keeping track of shadow IT activities, aSaaS management tool offers excellent control over various activities.
9. Real-Time Reporting
Real-time reporting is essential to understand how the tools are performing and how much value they add to the team’s work. The real-time reporting feature of the SaaS management platform helps you decide which subscriptions you need to renew and which can be replaced with better alternatives.
SaaS Management – Best Practices
SaaS management best practices let you take full advantage of the software’s features and manage your subscriptions. Below are some beneficial SaaS management practices you can adopt to optimize your company’s SaaS ecosystem.
- Track down all the financial logs and map it with the actual usage to find the exact utilization.
- Identify, record, and maintain super admins of every SaaS application your IT team subscribes.
- Find and study the contracts of every SaaS application and bring them to a centralized repository.
- Have a master renewal calendar that will help you with quick subscriptions renewal and save time.
- Check the SaaS management platform at regular intervals to review the updates and suggested improvements.
End-to-End SaaS Management Platform
CloudEagle is a full-stack SaaS management platform that offers AI-based capability to optimize SaaS spend and manage vendors, maximizing the returns on your SaaS subscriptions.
Whether you are a small- and medium-sized company or a large enterprise, CloudEagle can simplify your SaaS ecosystem, minimize the Shadow IT risks and maximize operational efficiencies.
Want to experience CloudEagle SaaS Management technology and understand its benefits for your business? Request a Free Trial now!