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Cloud-Based Software License Management Applications: Everything You Need to Know

software license management applications

Software license management is critical for overseeing the full life cycle of a software license, from onboarding to offboarding. More and more, its focus is on Software as a Service (SaaS).

Organizations today have more licenses than ever due to the dynamic nature of SaaS. Yet, many SaaS stacks today are rife with waste due to the vast number of unused licenses.

We’ve found that the average organization is only using 56% of its licenses – leaving the rest unused or underutilized. These unused licenses are one of the key culprits behind the average $17 million of annual waste on SaaS software. 

That leaves plenty of IT and finance teams looking for a cloud-based software license management tool to help them prioritize their decisions and clean up their stack. 

Here’s everything you need to know about software license management applications — also known as platforms.

What is a Software License Management Platform?

Software license management applications provide a system that helps you manage your cloud software licenses (or SaaS licenses) effectively.

You heard that right: software to track other software.

Organizations have long needed software management and tracking—traditionally, these tools were known as Software Asset Management tools—even when software was on-premises and licensed.

IT, security, and finance teams recognize that these software license managers are necessary. Gartner, for example, has reported on how large the challenge is for organizations to manage their SaaS licenses. The firm recently published a Market Guide on the importance of tools that can help manage this spend: SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs).

These are one form of cloud-based software license management apps.

“Managing multi-SaaS environments with disparate consoles,” said Gartner, “results in sprawl, lack of control, and overspending. SaaS Management platforms simplify the process”. 

This is something we at Zylo have long known. Gartner’s latest report confirms it with these SMP core capabilities that specifically help you manage SaaS licenses.

  • Discover: Uncover both sanctioned and unsanctioned SaaS lurking in the tech stack. What’s more, an SMP provides this information alongside utilization and cost in the same place. 
  • Manage: Centralize control with multi-SaaS configuration and policy management within a single console. 
  • Automate: Simplify SaaS administration with turnkey configuration and policy templates, workflow engine, and intelligence-driven by AI and machine learning. Save time and focus on the important work. 
  • Optimize: Have analysis, insights, alerting, and automation to drive your optimization in SaaS license costs and entitlement.

Get insights from the report from our resident SaaS expert, Ben Pippenger, or download the report here to get a more in-depth look at what a SaaS management platform can do for your tech stack.

A Single Source of Truth that Becomes Actionable Insights

Effective software license management applications provide a single system of record to see all of your SaaS licenses in one spot. This visibility is the very core of your SaaS management practice. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t see. Comprehensive, ongoing SaaS discovery empowers you and your team with complete visibility – unlocking the full value of your SaaS.

From there, you can examine what optimization opportunities lay in front of you. What could take hours manually sifting through and prioritizing can be done straight in your SMP.  

For example, Zylo Insights surfaces personalized, prioritized, and actionable recommendations to drive rightsizing and savings initiatives. In a single view, you can see all of your suggested optimization recommendations, prioritized by greatest return, and take action on these insights right from the Insights dashboard.

In fact, one Zylo customer used these insights and found that 200 Zoom users weren’t meeting the time threshold for a paid account. They were able to downgrade those users. Then, when they renewed, they rightsized those licenses – resulting in a 50% cost reduction. And it was all made possible because they were able to see those insights in the first place. 

We’re making it easier than ever to demystify your SaaS license and subscription data and easily take action to optimize your SaaS portfolio.

Save Time by Automating Software License Management

“A decade ago, the biggest risk to software budgets was the over-provisioning of licenses,” says Zylo co-founder and Chief Business Development and Strategy Officer Ben Pippenger. “When vendors undertook the major task of auditing enterprises’ on-premise software licenses, IT leaders feared fines. Worst case scenario, vendors would uncover provisioned licenses to the nth degree, forcing the enterprise to cut a massive, and unexpected, check.”

In contrast, setting up a software license management workflow—with help from a SaaS Management Platform—can help you incorporate auditing, SaaS optimization, and spend management into your weekly and monthly processes.

It’s only a matter of building an effective workflow that automates license reclamation and downgrading with just a few clicks rather than hours to days of work. Here are some quick steps to do just that: 

  1. Build visibility: Begin with identifying your complete SaaS stack. You’ll want complete visibility, which can be difficult manually. An SMP can make it as easy with a few clicks of your mouse. 
  2. Review licenses: Once you see your complete portfolio, you can begin reviewing applications. Start asking the big questions. What are you using, why, and what for? Is there functional overlap?
  3. Measure Utilization: From here you’ll use data to measure utilization. Are all the licenses being used or are they underutilized? 
  4. Survey Users: Workflows can identify inactive licenses. Once found, survey users about releasing their unused licenses. 
  5. Deprovision: Take the deprovisioned licenses and make them available for redeployment. If there are no users to take them on, then it’s time to reduce your licenses upon your next renewal. 

This can be a time-consuming process, but working with an SMP like Zylo can make it quick and easy to automate these workflows. 

“If you consider something like a workflow that we use in Zylo,” said Samantha Griffin, Sourcing Manager at Genesys on SaaSMe Unfiltered, “being able to have access to the information and automate the sending out of emails to make sure that we’re reharvesting the right licenses from the right people, it saves me hours.” 

What to Look for in a Software License Management Application

Not just any software license management app will do. Take the time to find a solution that will both get you up to speed quickly and provide real-time updates as your organization grows, shifts, and matures.

If you’re looking for a software license management solution, we recommend ensuring that you look for four capabilities across the features offered:

  1. Visibility: Analyze real-time utilization data of each user, or at scale, application-by-application. Access and utilize historical license management reporting to drive informed provisioning decisions and strategies.
  2. Security: Ensure enhanced security capabilities through the ability to revoke permissions to applications that house sensitive enterprise or customer data, with the click of a button.
  3. Efficiency: Set utilization thresholds and expectations of your application investments. Then, automate the manual license deprovisioning process, including license deprovisioning across multi-organization Salesforce deployments.
  4. Value: With the measurement and visibility of organizational license use at scale, build the value of the enterprise-wide software investment through the deprovisioning and reharvesting of software licenses.

But where do you find an SMP with all these features? Look no further than Zylo. We offer a comprehensive SaaS management platform that makes getting the most out of your tech portfolio the easiest it’s ever been. Zylo gives you the power of complete, centralized visibility to optimize your SaaS licenses, rationalize your portfolio, and take control of renewals. 

If you’re ready to take control of your SaaS, schedule a demo with Zylo today. Smarter SaaS management starts here. 

Looking  for more information? Learn how to use a software license management app to reduce the cost of SaaS by bringing visibility to all your cloud-based applications, usage, and spend.

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