What Does Good SaaS Management Look Like?
SaaS management encompasses a wide range of use cases and capabilities to include:
- Detecting usage of shadow SaaS applications to identify security and compliance issues
- Finding budget savings by identifying licenses that are not being used
- Identifying redundant applications to reduce complexity, risk and spend
But, what does good SaaS management look like in practice? We’ve pulled together a few pointers based on real-life use cases to inspire your own SaaS management program at your organization.
Understanding the players involved
The short answer is it depends on your organization’s goals, who is motivated to invest in a SaaS management platform and time/internal resources your organization is able to devote to these objectives.
First, you’ll want to understand the objectives of your organization and who holds these responsibilities (and potential budget to help solve these challenges). Here are some of the most common priorities of key executives to consider as you explore a SaaS management solution.
- Chief Information Officer: CIOs want to drive efficiency in their organizations, which can be done by streamlining the number of applications in use, reducing costs, and improving end-user experiences with better application and service performance. End-users are rarely able to differentiate between on-premises and SaaS applications. When there is a problem, they simply call IT. SaaS management helps IT reduce complexity by identifying areas for rationalization, but it can also help understand adoption of SaaS investments.
- Chief Information Security Officer: According to a recent Snow survey of IT leaders, security was the top concern in managing SaaS applications. And for good reason: The average cost of a security breach is $4.35M, according to IBM. It’s impossible to secure applications you can’t see. While IT organizations have heavily pressure-tested corporate applications, the reality is end users are doing their own thing. For example, the corporate decision may be to use SharePoint for file sharing, but the marketing team may decide to use another file sharing tool that might be easier to use with external vendors. Automating the discovery of SaaS applications in use, including unsanctioned and free applications, will help your security team protect your customer and employee data and determine which end users need additional security education.
- Chief Procurement Officer: One of their top priorities is driving operational efficiencies measured by saving time, reducing spend and improving the organization’s cash position. SaaS management helps contracts and procurement staff gather and make sense of application usage data for all SaaS applications much faster than manually gathering details from multiple sources. With faster and more detailed insights, the team is better equipped to deliver more value to the business. They can also avoid costs by identifying overlapping applications, multiple contracts with the same vendor and application subscriptions purchased versus actually used.
Taking the next steps to great SaaS management
Once you’ve determined your top priorities, the second step in developing a top-notch SaaS management program is to scope the potential outcomes you are driving for. Here are some questions to help you narrow on where you can get the biggest bang for your buck!
Questions to ask when reducing waste on enterprise applications:
- What are your top SaaS contracts in terms of spend?
- Is someone managing those licenses consistently (particularly when employees join/leave the organization)?
- Or, has your organization had a lot of change in the number of employees, but no one has looked into potential savings for these apps yet?
- Do these applications have different license tiers based on feature usage?
- Do you have multiple divisions using the application but have multiple contracts for the application across your organization?
“Snow Atlas pinpoints those areas where we are paying for subscriptions that are not being used, either because employees have left Investec or because we are seeing low adoption. Thanks to Snow, we will be able to reduce our Adobe footprint and costs by 15 percent and our spend with Microsoft by 12 percent when we come to renew licenses.”Nathan Snyman, microsoft software asset manager at investec
Questions to ask when reducing license waste for long-tail applications:
- Are purchasing departments distributed across multiple geographies and divisions?
- Has your organization undergone heavy M&A in recent years?
- Does your purchasing department frequently get surprise renewals?
“…We have negotiated five new framework agreements with major vendors. We can procure licenses at a significant discount, assigning them to the Panasonic companies from a single pool, while ensuring compliance.”Ulf kuetemeyer, senior manager of contracting & procurement at panasonic information systems company europe
Questions to ask to mitigate your organization’s risk:
- Are you in a regulated industry? For example, healthcare organizations must obtain a business associate agreement from providers who store, create, receive, maintain or transmit protected health information (PHI). The business associate agreement provides assurances of how the provider will safeguard PHI data. To obtain this agreement, organizations must know about all applications employees are using that are storing, transmitting, creating and receiving PHI. There are numerous examples of organizations being fined for not assessing provider risk by obtaining a business associate agreement.
- Is your security team short staffed? According to a recent study, 84% of enterprises have less than five security analysts. Visibility to cloud applications used in your organization (free and paid), can significantly aid your security team on where to tackle SaaS security issues.
“We used Snow to help rationalize and validate our licenses with multiple vendors, including Prometheus GWOS, K2, OMADA, AutoDesk, AirWatch, OpenText, Oracle, Acquire Sentinel, Cloudera, VMware, and many more.”cobie nel, senior specialist, license and asset management at sasol
Putting great SaaS management into practice
We are inspired by transformational stories and are here to help you no matter what stage of your SaaS management journey you are on.
If some of the questions in this post were hard for you to answer, it might be time to try out our free SaaS discovery service.
This free, 14-day trial will:
- Configure SaaS discovery for 200 devices of your choice
- Report on discovered SaaS application usage across all 200 devices
- Provide recommendations on managing key SaaS applications to optimize and control risk and costs
You can get started today for free and be one giant step closer to achieving great SaaS management at your organization.