How Many SaaS Apps Do You Have, Anyway?
We recently conducted an online survey asking business leaders a simple question: How many SaaS apps are being used in your organization? This shouldn’t be a guesstimate, by the way. Our respondents had this to say:
- 52% said anywhere from 11 to more than 50
- 27% had no idea
Do you fit into one of these buckets? If you have more than a few SaaS apps, you likely have a management problem. If you are part of the one-third who can’t answer, you’re in trouble, or will be if you don’t take action now. SaaS isn’t going anywhere. Either keep up or get burned. We’re here to help you put out those fires.
We already know, from a previous poll, that many people are still using spreadsheets to track SaaS apps. They are using online calendars to track contract renewal dates. Sound familiar? How’s that working for you? If you’re still reading this blog or visiting this website, I think I have my answer.
SaaS Isn’t a Fad
No matter the size of your company, SaaS apps are dominating the software space and isn’t a trend.Cloud apps are here to stay. Gartner estimates that this year, more than 50 percent of large-enterprise North American adoptions will be composed of SaaS or other forms of SaaS-based solutions.
If you don’t consider yourself a “large enterprise,” don’t turn a blind eye. You’re still on the hook. Gartner says midmarket and small enterprises are even further along in the adoption curve. The lack of red tape and a culture of innovation are among the drivers.
In either case, SaaS is no longer a new idea, but an efficient option to leverage the best of technology at a fraction of the effort and upfront cost. While maintaining a cloud infrastructure from a technical side may be simplified, managing it can be a beast. It’s constantly evolving and there are many moving parts. Spreadsheets are like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.
What companies need is a modern, cloud-based software solution that keeps all SaaS information from across the enterprise (large or small) in one place. Stop adding lines, columns and sheets to your already unmanageable spreadsheets. Don’t rely on calendar reminders or vendors to notify you of upcoming contract renewals. You can do much better, with less effort, risk and frustration for you.
Risks for Not Implementing Unified SaaS Management
Unified SaaS management software was developed as soon as SaaS applications began to evolve and scale. Companies believed they could manage SaaS applications like they did any other software. Unfortunately, SaaS apps don’t behave as their more stable siblings. Unlike on-premise software you can touch and feel, cloud applications are more virtual and ambiguous. If you can’t see them, are they really there?
And there we have the problem. Without a mechanism to follow these elusive apps, how do you know they are there? Some may rely on governance policies, believing if a policy is in place, employees will follow it, notifying IT before a cloud application is purchased. IT, of course, wants to know if any cloud applications are brought into the platform, but self-reporting doesn’t always happen as it should.
Related: 3 Ways to Zero in on Unsanctioned IT
At the most basic level, employees are often confused as to what is considered a cloud app or not. They may not understand that something as seemingly benign as Dropbox needs to be reported to IT. When employees go rogue, they introduce risk, unnecessary costs and added complexity.
Some of the issues associated with unreported cloud applications begin with risk. Cloud applications only run on data. Where is that data coming from and what does it reveal? Does the transfer of this data break any data privacy regulations, such as HIPAA, FERPA and the upcoming GDPR? Is there any proprietary company data being shared? What access and authorizations may put the company at risk? What happens when employees who use the apps leave the company? What happens to the data if the cloud app provider goes under?
Another problem is cost due to duplicate or underutilized applications. When employees do not have access to a centralized system, a database of sorts, that catalogs all of the various cloud apps in use throughout the company, they don’t know that there may already be available licenses for that same app. Instead of purchasing another instance, they can utilize existing ones, saving the company additional and unnecessary costs.
Underutilized apps drain money as well. Apps are so superfluous, they are frequently abandoned after only a short time, yet companies still pay for those licenses until the contract expires. If the employee agreed to auto-renewal, companies can continue to pay long after the app’s usefulness. If companies aren’t tracking this in real time, they can pay indefinitely, even after the employee who purchased it is no longer employed by the company.
The Benefits of Unified SaaS Management Software
If companies want to curb the chaos, they must invest in a unified SaaS management solution. With every vendor, contract, fee structure, renewal date, user detail, and utilization metric in one place, all of these challenges are resolved. It brings transparency, clarity and control. Bring on the SaaS apps! Unified SaaS management software can handle it (and a heck of a lot better than those spreadsheets).
It only makes sense: use the cloud to solve the cloud problems. Cloud-based SaaS management software makes it simple to identify duplicate and underutilized cloud applications. It’s easy to track who is using which apps and how.
Are “users” simply automatically logged on, as with single sign on, or are they actually using the app on a regular basis? Receive automatic notifications of upcoming contract renewals, in time to negotiate better terms based on actual utilization data. See which contracts are coming due on a timeline, instead of scrolling through calendars or manually searching.
Can your spreadsheets do that?
But wait, there’s more!
Unified SaaS management software allows employees to see which licenses have room to grow before they purchase new ones. When real-time utilization data is at hand, it’s easier to right-size contracts. When employees leave, their access to apps can quickly be revoked and their license can be transferred to someone else.
Instead of asking: “What can I do with SaaS management software” you’ll be asking: “What can’t I do with SaaS management software?”