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

SaaS security

Gartner predicted that cloud-based subscription software will be a more than $482 billion market in 2022. The firm also reported that nearly half of surveyed companies listed SaaS as a priority.

With the work environment’s complete shift and the likelihood that plenty of teams will remain remote, it’s not a surprise that SaaS spending has only accelerated through the pandemic.

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

Here’s everything you need to know about software license managers.

What is a cloud software license manager?

Software license management apps 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-premise and licensed.

RELATED: SaaS Software Audits

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.

The report concludes: “Managing SaaS applications with disparate admin controls decreases IT’s ability to track usage, automate management tasks and establish consistent security posture across the portfolio.”

Gartner notes that, within their core set of capabilities, SMPs help manage SaaS licenses with:

  • Discovery: leveraging data from systems like SSOs and expense management platforms to uncover and create a central repository or system of record for all SaaS apps in use.
  • Management and Automation: centralizing SaaS application controls to enable automation of key SaaS management workflows to enable optimization of licenses and proactive renewal management.

A single source of truth that becomes actionable insights

In a phrase, good software license tracking solutions provide a single system of record to see all of your SaaS licenses in one spot.

Once you have your insights collected, you can move to action to quickly rightsize those licenses and get notified for upcoming renewals.

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.

This new feature is an exciting evolution of the License Optimization Insights and the License Optimization Workflows that we released earlier this year. Other solutions make you sift through mountains of data to understand what’s important.

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

Software license management workflows

“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.

But 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.

Looking for more? 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.