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Chris Asing: Powering IT SaaS Governance with Partnership, Flexibility & Data

IT SaaS governance


Chris Asing is VP and Head of IT at Redis and passionate about SaaS governance. Get an inside look at his progressive approach and the power partnership, flexibility, and data have in SaaS transformation.

Episode Summary

Listen and learn. Redis VP of IT Chris Asing lives by this mantra in his approach to SaaS governance. But it’s not all just policies and procedures. 

“The model and the framework has to be able to change. I think that’s key. You have to be able to understand what the needs and maturity of your business is and be able to iterate when appropriate.”

Leveraging partnerships across the organization can make or break the success of your SaaS management program. And being on the same page as Finance and Legal is critical.

“Partnering with the controller/finance [and legal] was key for us in the beginning because they also shared a similar interest and could easily buy into the discussion.”

In this episode, Chris gives an inside look at how IT SaaS governance can help companies scale, increase productivity, and proactively manage compliance and security risks.

Guest Spotlight

Name: Chris Asing

What he does: VP and Head of Information Technology at Redis

Connect with Chris online: LinkedIn 

Episode Highlights

Embrace Flexibility in Your Governance Model

“The framework has to be able to change. I think that’s key. You have to be able to understand what the needs and maturity of your business is and be able to iterate it when appropriate. The business knows their area best. They’ll know which tools do the right job for them, and I would hope and trust that they look to our organization, IT, to do the same thing for the IT and business services function.”

Managing Risk Must Be Straightforward and Efficient

“We don’t want to create tickets to provision Salesforce. We know every salesperson will need it. I think this is the start of that framework and saying, ‘You know what, there will always be exceptions to this and accepting these exceptions as they are.’ And, then just sort of making sure that we’re compliant and we’re risk aware, and we’re actually making decisions with a pretty consistent and systematic method for analysis and due diligence. I think that’s key. It can’t be heavy or overly cumbersome. It has to be very clear, straightforward, and efficient. So in the same way, our own governance process has to be performant, not just the tools and the processes itself, but it’s the process and the framework for SaaS.” 

IT’s Partnership with Finance and Legal is Critical

“We partner with finance and legal and recognize that there are always these three parties. Partnering with your financial and legal counterparts in the flow of SaaS management is really key. You’re buying a lot of things, you’re using a lot of things, and typically you’re stuck in it for a year or more. Asking the business: what are you using this tool for? What job needs to be done with this tool? It’s the same sort of thinking around, what do I need and who needs to be part of that discussion? Well, we need it to be price competitive. We also need it to be secure and compliant, but we have to sort of check a lot of boxes in this flow. Partnering with the controller and finance was key for us in the beginning because they also shared a similar interest and it could easily buy into the discussion. So too with legal. Why would they want to start a whole other process when they could just join mine? By doing that, we made it less frustrating for a business user because it was consistent and systematic. Now, is it perfect? No, it’s not perfect. We’re always striving to make it better, more relevant, and faster, but I’m happy with where we’ve come.”

Having a Procedure Creates Consistency

“I love policy and procedure. Not that I like to hide behind it, but it gives me something to stay consistent with and to be fair about and not forget. So, we do need a policy, we do need a stance on it, we have to pick a side first. Then we need a procedure to do the work. The procedure is important because like anything, inconsistency is the cause of a lot of errors. We have a maniacal focus on consistency. Then, we can start focusing on automation and efficiency. Consistency is key for us… and truly is about scaling a company. How do you do things faster, better, cheaper? Well, first you write it down and two, you do it consistently. Then you make it better and better over time, you iterate it, and you engineer out the waste and the errors.”

One System to Rule All SaaS

“As long as we have companies, we will have to manage what it is we buy – whether that’s a piece of hardware, a piece of software or an entitlement. I think for us, it’s been having that data, drawing on conclusions and categorizations and insights that the platform has provided us. Then on our own terms figuring out what’s important for us. Are we trying to just get the data correct? Because that was the first step. Do we have all the contracts in? Are they still relevant? Are they still in the period of term? And then we can look at: are they duplicative, and are we looking at everything or just things above a certain dollar threshold? And so just trying to figure out what are your business objectives. Use that data to assist you and commit to using a system, not many systems. By doing that, we’ve been able to really understand our portfolio. We know what we have right now. We know where we’re duplicative.”

Intelligent Decision Making Requires Data and Alignment

“It’s really about the data. It’s using that data then to make some intelligent decisions and then continuously iterating off of that and then pulling the business in. What’s meaningful to me I know is also meaningful to other departments. So helping them understand you’re a sales organization, you have a lot of tools. Are you sure you want to buy this other one? Isn’t this one like the other one, or am I missing something? Do I have something to learn? And, it actually brings people together a lot of times.” 

Top Quotes

6:41 – “One of the very first things that we speak about with any new, significant SaaS investment is, have we put a basic level of thought and rigor around the end-to-end process of what we’re investing in?”

8:23 – ‘“[When it comes to leading IT], I think the willingness to continuously accept being wrong, making mistakes, and iterating from your lessons is important.”

19:31 – “We do need a policy. We do need a stance on it. We have to pick a side first off. Then we need a procedure to do the work. And the procedure’s important because, like anything, inconsistency is the cause of a lot of errors. If we have a maniacal focus on consistency, then we can start focusing on automation and efficiency.”

20:08 – “Security often gets a black eye, but they’re doing the right thing for the right reasons. They’re there to protect the company. We just need to do it in a way that’s performant.”

Recommended Resources

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Cory Wheeler

As Zylo’s Chief Customer Officer, Cory is responsible for helping our customers drive ROI and SaaS Management success with Zylo. He helps companies of all sizes effectively discover, optimize, and govern their SaaS through Zylo’s platform and services. Prior to founding Zylo, Cory spent 15 years in finance and procurement, managing categories and sourcing teams at Arthur Andersen, BearingPoint, and both Takeda and Astellas Pharmaceuticals. He built the procurement organization at ExactTarget, and managed the integration with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud procurement organization in 2015. He and his family reside in Indianapolis, IN, where they can be found cheering for the Purdue Boilermakers and Chicago Cubs.

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