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5 Takeaways from SaaSMe 2023

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaways


SaaSMe 2023 is another great event for the books! The third annual conference is still the industry’s only dedicated SaaS management event.

On May 16-17, IT and finance leaders gathered (virtually) to learn, network, and exchange ideas on how to manage, measure and maximize the value of their SaaS. This year’s event attracted more than 1,000 registrants from 23 different countries representing companies ranging from some of the world’s most recognizable enterprises – to the most innovative startups. 

Day One centered on the power of SaaS management to drive business impact. Sessions covered a range of topics, such as:

  • The Role of IT and Finance in the Era of Responsible Business Growth
  • Unlocking Business Value with SaaS Optimization at Scale
  • Desperately Seeking SaaS Visibility: The Reality of Our SaaS Stack
  • Ask Me Anything: Q&A with the Architect of Adobe’s Software Management Program
  • Why Now? How SaaS Management Became a Priority
  • Empowering the Future of Software

Day Two was exclusively for Zylo customers. Through hands-on learning experiences, attendees discovered how to get even more value out of Zylo platform and services. Not to mention, a deep dive into the product roadmap for the coming year.

Clearly, there are organizations doing amazing work creating innovative software management strategies and driving incredible value with SaaS. If remember anything from SaaSMe 2023, it’s these five takeaways.

SaaSMe 2023 On-Demand

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaway #1: You Really Don’t Know How Much You’re Spending on SaaS

The saying might be overused but it’s worth repeating. It’s impossible to manage what you can’t see. Visibility into your SaaS portfolio – every app, dollar, and potential risk – is foundational to SaaS management. However, the average organization underestimates the size of their SaaS portfolio by 2-3X.

Our panelists from Desperately Seeking SaaS Visibility: The Reality of Our SaaS Stack, Jason Carney, SVP at FIS, and Jason Owens, Sr. Director, Asset Management at Salesforce, not too long ago didn’t have full visibility into their SaaS. 

Unlocking full visibility into their SaaS footprint has been key to driving organization-wide impact.

“Zylo enabled us to provide value we’ve never been able to before,” said Carney. “All of a sudden we are armed with data to allow the business to make a better decision.”

Owens expanded on the sentiment with this advice. “If you’re in the early stages of a startup, you need to have software asset management visibility and you need to build that process, build that muscle. Don’t wait to where you are at 85k employees. Save yourself so much pain down the road.”

Consider visibility as your launch pad for optimization. In fact, Carney said, ‘The surprising part about discovery is how many of everything we’ve had. We are viewing it as an opportunity to save money and get more efficient.”

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaway #2: Optimizing Your SaaS at Scale Unlocks Tremendous Business Value

How well are your apps being used? Knowing what applications you have and how they’re being used is vital to measuring and driving adoption. After all, unused software is the number one source of waste, with 45% of licenses sitting unused or underutilized. That equates to a whopping $17M on average per year – and more for large enterprises.

Organizations that use a SaaS management platform are able to optimize their apps at scale and drive bottom-line business value. But, you must have a framework for realizing that value.

Zylo Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer Cory Wheeler firmly believes that data-driven SaaS management can deliver that value. “You have to define and be able to measure that overall value. If you’re not doing that, you are fighting fires. You’re reactively managing software. Define the value, measure the value, operationalize your program, and get a handle on all of the SaaS inside your business today.”

Zylo customers have experienced incredible results and driven value through their SaaS management programs.

  • In Eliminating SaaS Waste with Laser Precision, Renee Turco shared that AbbVie reduced expense spend by 47% and avoided $2.2M in cost avoidance by optimizing their Salesforce licenses.
  • Industry innovator, Adobe, has seen more than $60M in cost savings and avoidance through their efforts, as shared by Ash Rai in his Ask Me Anything session.
  • SADA has saved more than six-figures in just the last 6 months, using Zylo pricing benchmarks at negotiation.

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaway #3: SaaS Is Risky But Possible to Mitigate

As we learned in takeaway #1, visibility is mission critical. Beyond knowing what applications you have and how much you’re spending, it helps you uncover potential risks. 

Let’s take shadow IT, for instance. If you didn’t know about the application to begin with, it likely didn’t go through a security and compliance review. That could open you up to massive fines, security and compliance violations, and data leaks, among other risks. 

During Reducing Risks by Remediating Shadow IT, Principal Business System Analyst Ali Najeed explained the challenges shadow IT creates at Intuit. “Business units and employees have the ability to purchase whatever software they require. This creates a perfect opportunity for shadow IT to creep into the organization as a whole.”

After implementing governance measures, Intuit reduced its ratio of expensed applications to total spend. Now, it is less than 1% of total SaaS spend.

Even David Stoicescu, Chief Information Security Officer, shared his perspective. “You don’t know the unknown,” said Stoicescu, “so you really need to plug something into the procurement workflow from an IT and security perspective to understand what’s coming in the door and what your risk from a third-party vendor risk perspective is.”

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaway #4: A Team That Works Together, Wins Together

Working with our customers day in and day out, it remains that successful SaaS management is a cross-collaborative effort. Or, a team sport as we like to call it. That looks like IT and Finance working together on aligned business objectives.

Casey Santos, CIO at Asurion, said it perfectly in our keynote The Role of IT and Finance in the Era of Responsible Business Growth

“CIOs and CFOs are actually kindred spirits in the sense that we both sit across the organization. We see all the lines of business, we support the entire organization, and we can connect the dots with different angles. Many times it’s helping each other see what’s important.”

There’s also the concept of business intimacy, which must be established to work together. 

“We really believe in the concept of business intimacy,” said Sam Chung, Chief Transformation Officer at Salesforce. “It is ensuring that both [the IT and Finance] organizations are talking to each other and other business units.” 

IT and Finance must truly be partners for the organization, as they understand the broader business priorities. As Chung put it, “It is like they are extended members of the family… They really need to understand the full context of what is happening across the enterprise. And that’s the only way they can really be effective.”

SaaSMe 2023 Takeaway #5: The Time Is Now to Manage Your SaaS

SaaS management is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a critical business practice. Without it, you are wasting money, overspending, and increasing risk for your organization. 

We’re seeing a few trends that emphasize the importance of SaaS management, shared by Co-founder Ben Pippenger.

Further, organizations that are actively managing their portfolio see positive results. According to the 2023 SaaS Management Index, organizations have an average of 291 apps and spend $50M annually on SaaS. That’s a 10% and 4% decrease respectively from last year.

Steve Gentry, Chief Information Security Officer at FIS shared the sentiment, saying, “The earlier you can solve a problem, the easier it is to solve.”

Often, we find our customers have an “oh shit” or Eureka moment that validates their need for SaaS management. For Partha Ray at Nintex, that came after manually analyzing their apps and license usage.

“The key tipping point for me was Box. The rep said we were using 1,000 licenses, but we only had 500 employees. [I had this] feeling like, ‘where is this information coming from?’”

Clearly, now is the perfect time to get started managing the chaos of your SaaS.

Watch the Sessions On-Demand

There are more great takeaways and insights from SaaSMe 2023. Hear directly from some of the brightest minds in SaaS management by watching SaaSMe On-Demand here.