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We've just joined Flexera, the global SAM leader! Flexera is changing the game for companies everywhere. They’re finally demanding more from their technology assets and suppliers. They expect – and deserve – faster time to value, more complete solutions and trustworthy data to drive better business outcomes. By teaming up with Flexera, we're now one company strong, helping you manage all your technology assets-- from SaaS, software in the cloud and cloud infrastructure, to IoT, on premises and datacenter.

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If you’ve been following our recommendations, you’re probably feeling a great sense of accomplishment. The SaaS landscape can be a complex beast at any company, and you’re on your way to taming it.

Not only have you created a SaaS governance policy for your organization, but you’ve invested time in understanding SaaS usage patterns, per-vendor SaaS costs, and SaaS contractual obligations.

It might feel like you’ve reached the top of the mountain, and you can just coast down the other side. But the challenge is this: in order to use all the information you’ve gathered to decrease costs, you have to monitor changes in all areas on a regular basis. Otherwise, all that actionable data you pulled together will just sit there, gathering dust.

So how do you stay proactive about SaaS vendor data without losing a huge chunk of time in the process? Here are a few strategies to try:

Conduct quarterly audits. Don’t worry - the word “audit” doesn’t mean this has to be an arduous process. It’s simply a way to understand if anything has changed since you last checked in.

And this quarterly audit or review can be as comprehensive or as lightweight as you want to make it. You could cover all the areas we’ve mentioned, or you could just use the quarterly audit to make sure each department is adhering to the SaaS governance policy. (The other areas - usage patterns, per-vendor SaaS costs, and SaaS contractual obligations - will be better served by more frequent reviews.)

When putting together this audit, keep it simple. Going to your department heads with a handful of questions will yield better results than a laundry list. And providing some scenarios may help jog their memories. Here’s a sample question:

“Have there been any changes in compliance to the SaaS governance policy? Here are 3 examples we’ve seen recently in other departments.”

Create alerts in your SaaS platforms to notify you of increased or decreased usage patterns. You spent all that time going through eachThe challenge of SaaS vendor management: being proactive SaaS platform and understanding how different employees use it. With that understanding, go into each SaaS tool and look for ways to alert yourself of usage changes.

Alerts may be configured in various ways. Per-user alerts may tell you when a specific user hasn’t logged in in a certain number of days (which you can specify). Usage-based alerts can notify you when the overall account dips below or goes above its usage limits. And you may be able to set up a notification any time a new user is created. A conversation with the internal owner of the SaaS tool and/or your account rep may help point you in the right direction, in terms of alert options.

Require departmental owners to notify you of changes in SaaS costs. Put the onus back on the group that reaps the benefit of the SaaS tool to let you know about increases or decreases in cost.

Depending on the platform, this process could be manual or automated. Departmental owners may just send you an email letting you know that they purchased additional accounts or bought extra capacity. If you have a change management system in place, you could have them notify you through your current process (and cut down on email).

And you never know - there may be alerts in the SaaS platform (like the ones mentioned above) than can notify you when costs increase or decrease. Whatever you do, make sure it is an action item on someone else’s task list - not yours.

Hold SaaS sales reps accountable to notify you of any contractual updates. This is where establishing relationships with SaaS account reps will really pay off. You’ve already been introduced to them, and confirmed that your interpretation of the contract terms is correct.

Go back to each account rep and let them know that you need to be notified of any changes to the contract. This gives you a backup, in case the signing party at your company fails to let you know. And it also reinforces your oversight to each specific SaaS vendor. They now know you’re not asleep at the wheel.

These strategies will help you proactively manage your SaaS vendors, and push most of the work to other parties. However, it still may be a good chunk of time to keep the program running in the background.

If you’re strapped for time, designate a member of your team to lay the groundwork. They can pull you in on an as-needed basis, when a specific department is not adhering to the governance policy, or there’s a significant cost increase and you weren’t notified.

SaaS vendor management is a process that never really ends. Think of it like a car: you can either drive it until it breaks down, or conduct regular maintenance to optimize it’s performance. Learn more about how Meta SaaS can help optimize SaaS management by managing renewals and reducing spend.

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