Drive Visibility and Collaboration with Cost Center Reporting

Cory Wheeler

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SaaS changed the way software is purchased. Prior to SaaS, IT departments bought and deployed all applications, maintaining full control, visibility, and security of the software stack. Today in the subscription economy, individual business units purchase software of their choosing without notifying Procurement or IT.

The change in purchasing power brought a lack of visibility into the SaaS stack. On average, companies underestimate the number of SaaS applications in their stack by 2x-3x often with duplicative purchases throughout the business.

IT and Procurement need accurate visibility into the SaaS stack in order to drive strategy and collaboration within an organization. Zylo is the organization’s complete SaaS system of record. Zylo discovers all applications, provides visibility into application usage, assists in planning for renewals, and helps ensure a secure enterprise. Armed with the Zylo platform, Procurement and IT leaders hold a complete SaaS repository, enabling them to enter conversations informed and ready to strategize.

Introducing Cost Centers

Today, Zylo solves the macro-level strategy problem by overseeing the entirety of the SaaS stack. While this macro-level strategy is a necessary and fundamental component, granularity at the departmental level is needed to drive individualized strategy.

The functional layer of visibility is identified within cost centers and individual application costs — thus driving us to build Cost Center Reports within Zylo’s platform. These reports enable Zylo users to parse out application spend by cost center and identify all contributing cost centers to a particular application.

Cost Center Reports use existing cost center taxonomy from the ERP and Expense Management systems to report on which cost centers are responsible for what software and reveal opportunities to streamline purchases. These reports display applications, spend, and renewal dates across one or many Cost Centers.

With these reports, business units quickly identify what they are using and how they can optimize their SaaS stack. Users discover every cost center that pays for a certain application and all applications that are paid for by a particular cost center. The first discovery identifies duplicative spend across cost centers that is common in large enterprises. The latter reveals overarching spend strategy within a particular business unit.

Enrich Procurement Roadshows

Without full visibility into a software stack, Procurement meets blindly with business owners. Procurement roadshows are spent focused on gathering information on what software had been purchased, reactive and missed renewals, and attempting to plan for the coming year. Often times, the Procurement organization is viewed as a cop and another roadblock to business results rather than a necessary strategic tool.

With Zylo, Procurement teams are armed with an up-to-date report of attributed application spend. The ability to break down applications by cost centers enables the Procurement organization with a new level of execution. By simply displaying the Zylo Cost Center Report to a business unit during Roadshows, Procurement automatically provides insight into a business unit’s SaaS stack and a foundation for collaboration.

Saving time and energy, Procurement teams now focus on guiding the business in strategy rather than parsing out a SaaS stack. Coupled with the Views feature, Procurement teams are able to hold business units responsible by providing this level of visibility automatically in real time. Armed with accurate and timely information, Procurement is offered a seat at the table and is viewed as a strategic partner.

Cross-functional Alignment

Granular level visibility into application spend enables IT to drive cross-functional alignment. Business units are able to view spend across their organization, strategize, and roll-up their individual strategy into greater IT initiatives. Cost Center Reports equip IT to partner with the organization to drive efficiencies and best practices.

For IT, Cost Center Reporting further reveals Shadow IT and duplicative application functionality. For instance, one of our customers recently approached a Slack renewal. With our Cost Center Reporting tool, they discovered that four different cost centers were purchasing the same software. The Zylo admin contacted the necessary parties and began driving an enterprise-agreement of Slack — driving collaboration across the business, saving money, and ensuring application security.

Drive Strategy for the Future

The ability to break down applications by cost center enables business leaders a new level of execution at the functional level that drives cross-functional alignment

Being able to take a departmental level data approach allows each business to set and understand their strategy in a much clearer and faster way, enabling collaboration between IT, Procurement, and Finance to make the best decisions in a shorter amount of time.

While continuing to provide macro-level strategic solutions, Zylo is now a solution for every individual business unit that owns software. Zylo is for the business — at the macro and departmental level.

To learn more about how your organization can benefit from viewing application spend across cost centers, request a demo today.

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About the Author

Cory Wheeler

Cory Wheeler is the VP of Services and Customer Success at Zylo, where he helps tech-forward companies understand, manage and optimize their cloud-based infrastructure via the Zylo platform. Prior to Zylo, Cory spent 15 years in Finance and Procurement, managing categories and sourcing teams at Arthur Andersen, BearingPoint and both Takeda and Astellas Pharmaceuticals. Cory then built the Procurement organization at ExactTarget in 2012, and managed the integration of the new Marketing Cloud Procurement organization into in 2015. He and his family reside in Indianapolis, IN, where they can be found cheering for the Purdue Boilermakers and Chicago Cubs.