Close Menu

Search for Keywords...


2 Ways Redis Sharpens Its SaaS Optimization Strategy with Benchmarks

Sharpening SaaS Optimization Strategy with Chris Asing


As the saying goes, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” Yet deciding when and how to offload important tasks like SaaS renewals to a third party can be difficult. This was the challenge at hand for Chris Asing and his team at Redis.

He leads the IT, SaaS, procurement, and corporate real estate and facilities groups at Redis. Redis was a relatively small company (at 400 employees in 2020) so Chris and his team had the challenge of getting a tech company through the pandemic with optimal efficiency from minimal manpower.

As such, Asing and his team needed an optimized and efficient SaaS portfolio. Pursuant to this need, they were early adopters of Zylo’s Benchmarks and Managed Services. Asing talked in-depth about what Redis’s SaaS optimization strategies were and how Zylo’s services enabled them to make the most of the challenges they were presented with.

At SaaSMe 2023, Zylo’s flagship industry event, Chris Asing spoke about Redis’s SaaS optimization journey. Read on for three key takeaways from his session.

A SaaS System of Record Lays a Critical Foundation for SaaS Management

Asing and his team knew that they needed better optimization and management of all things SaaS: procurement, organization, documentation, and utilization. But knowing you need something and knowing how to get that something are two very different things. They realized that they needed data and a lot of it.

They discovered that SaaS applications and changes were coming faster than they could react to, and they had little insight into understanding the composition and characteristics of each SaaS license acquisition or renewal. They needed to lay a foundation for SaaS recording and cataloging. To this end, they went with Zylo—in large part because the company already had it, it was just under-utilized.

Asing and his team set about properly utilizing Zylo as a system of record, and they determined a few key benchmarks that they wanted to reach:

  • First, they wanted 95% data accuracy on important SaaS attributes, like start and end dates, renewal clauses, auto-renewals, annual spending, and who had what SaaS contracts. They needed an in-depth catalog that would allow them to look at Redis’s SaaS portfolio holistically.
  • Then, they decided what SaaS applications to focus on. When they first updated their Zylo catalog, Chris and his team had over two hundred SaaS applications to filter through. The need to trim was obvious, but they needed benchmarks to determine where to start.

Asing shared how, “because we had to deal with [SaaS applications], it was just survival. Nothing magical, nothing highly strategic, nothing really, really smart about it. It was really just operating and executing.” With these benchmarks, Asing and his team could identify SaaS applications that needed to be cut quickly and operate on that need.

Next, Asing focused on data risk and spending. This was during COVID, so cutting spending was hugely important. With these in mind, they could cut a large number of the company’s unnecessary SaaS applications.

But those were just the necessary first steps toward healthy SaaS optimization on a company-wide scale. Redis still had a long way to go, and their next big hurdle was achieving sustainable software license optimization.

How Redis Achieved 90% Software License Optimization

Setting up your license management software—Zylo, in Redis’s case—is one of the most important aspects of SaaS license optimization, yes. But it can’t be the only thing your company does. Asing and his team knew this. They had the data and the holistic overview of Redis’s SaaS portfolio now, and they had taken the chainsaw to their library to thin it out once. Next, they needed to achieve long-term and sustainable SaaS license optimization.

For this, they needed new benchmarks. They looked at their trimmed-down SaaS stack, looked at what other companies tend to shoot for, and decided on a goal that would work for Redis. This is huge: there is no one-size-fits-all solution to SaaS license optimization. 

There are trends and typical benchmarks but each company is different. Adobe, for example, allows zero shelfware in any department. Your company may not be as aggressive, and Asing knew Redis certainly wasn’t.

Instead of an optimization benchmark that would take micromanagement and cutthroat contracting, Asing and his team settled on a benchmark that would cut excess spending but leave a margin for error and discrepancies in usage. For them, that benchmark was 90%. They determined usage by looking at whether or not a license had been used in the last 90 days. 

With their Zylo Management Services, maintaining vigilance over license usage was much easier. They could simply look at all their licenses and see how much and when they were being used. If they had one hundred licenses and ninety had been used in the last ninety days, then they were hitting their benchmark. If they weren’t, they had the data to make decisions on renewals and cancellations.

Have A Strategy for Utilizing & Understanding Data

We’ve talked a lot about Asing and his team’s use of their data and how important it is. But what was their actual strategy for utilizing and understanding their Zylo catalog and the data it provided?

It was a simple one: looking at their license utilization and the cost/term of their renewal contracts, they could do an easy cost-benefit analysis of individual SaaS applications and renegotiate or cancel their contracts, if needed. When it came to this renegotiation, they used two main reference points:

  1. First, they just reached out to friends and colleagues in other companies. Seeing what other companies are being charged for the same license is important, and having that anecdotal data to backup your hard data can put things into perspective. You can also ask them about the details of their contract, like renewal periods and clauses. This can help you contextualize why your prices may be different.
  2. Second, they looked at overall data, both from their Zylo catalog and from market research. “It’s really helpful to know where you stand against your cohort,” mentioned Asing. He explained that marketplaces change and SaaS contractors can be fickle. Prices change and they will overcharge your company, so utilizing and understanding price data is hugely important to negotiating good SaaS contracts for your company.

Final Thoughts

Asing had so much to share from his experience optimizing Redis’s SaaS catalog. He talked about how much they ended up saving—and how much of that was thanks to Zylo—and all the little details that enabled him and his team to do amazing work with relatively small manpower. Bottom line, leveraging data from benchmarks is instrumental in making informed renewal decisions that allow you to rightsize your licenses and save money.

Learn more about benchmarking with Zylo. Watch the session on-demand here.