SaaS Sprawl Is More Than a Money Problem

When it comes to getting work done, users have more options than ever before. But with this freedom, comes a whole new set of challenges for IT teams.

At the start of the pandemic, businesses went to extraordinary lengths to remain productive. The workforce went home to work, and IT got busy bringing on new collaboration tools and cloud apps to support the forced new normal. This rush to cloud at least partly explains why worldwide spending on public cloud services is expected to reach $332.3 billion in 2021 – an increase of more than 23% over 2020, according to Gartner.

Within Gartner’s forecast, they also point out SaaS remains the largest market segment with a prediction of hitting $122.6 billion. Any hesitation corporate IT may have had about cloud reliance before 2020 was ushered out with the onset of COVID-19. IT essentially gave their users a free pass to the buffet and now, one year later, organizations are asking, do we still need the buffet? Or can we be satisfied with the few things we like and leave all the rest?

Optimizing spend

The collaboration tools that proved so valuable in keeping companies connected – Zoom, Teams, Slack, Skype and others – were likely onboarded with blanket subscriptions. But now, it’s time to question those costly subscriptions and look for ways to optimize your SaaS spend.

One common example of this is if your organization relies on Microsoft 365, you also have Teams. In this instance, is Zoom also needed? Likewise, if you’re a Salesforce shop and using Skype, you might consider using Slack instead, given the Salesforce purchase of Slack late last year.

These and other examples illustrate the opportunity for optimizing your SaaS investments. Every IT budget could use a little money back, but another critical consideration often missed has to do with your data. Where is it? And, how will you access it if you decide to cancel the use of that service?

Managing siloed data

When it comes to getting work done, users have more options than ever before. This includes countless applications that may be accessed via your business or any number of personal email addresses. The lines have blurred even further this year as people did what they could to get their jobs done from home and away from the helpdesk. While choice keeps people productive and happy, it can also create complications and chaos. Eventually, choice can be a productivity killer.

Many of us have worked long and hard on a project, saved and closed it only to forget where we put it. Is it in OneDrive? SharePoint? Maybe all the documentation is still in Slack or even your email archive? Keeping your hands on your data is a challenge and this common reality is only amplified when you consider it from the corporate viewpoint. Whether it’s customer information, corporate IP, or anything in between, tracking data is critically important. Just ask your compliance officers.

Introducing too many SaaS applications leads to confusion over how they should be used in a corporate environment. They also create siloed data. Many of us rely on Dropbox, for example – both personal and business versions. While an effective collaboration tool, it also hosts all the valuable data you’ve stored there. And if in your decision to optimize your SaaS sprawl, you decide Dropbox will no longer be used, pulling out all that data isn’t a pleasant task. But if you don’t, Dropbox will delete it.

Introducing technology intelligence

Siloed data is a real problem and escalating as the number of applications your users rely on grows. The need for true technology intelligence — or a clear line of sight into the applications used, by whom, and how often will tell you where your data sits. In this way, you can improve the efficiency of its use and better guard against data and security risks that may arise. Constantly evolving global data privacy regulations and the costly implications of a data breach require not only careful tracking of your data but strict guidelines for how it is used and shared.

Learn more about rightsizing your SaaS costs and see how Snow can help address issues created by SaaS sprawl.