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While the old saying “do it once and do it right” may be worth something in a variety of scenarios. However, evaluating and monitoring a SaaS technology stack is not one of those scenarios. In fact, CIOs and IT leaders must constantly evaluate and monitor their SaaS apps on at least a monthly, if not a more regular basis. Certainly it’s not the “one and done” mindset.
Enterprise companies that have hundreds of SaaS applications across departments may need to monitor their SaaS apps on even a weekly basis. This ongoing SaaS discovery ensures there isn’t oversight of spend, utilization, and a variety of other factors.
Why must organizations go through such regular, comprehensive evaluation of their SaaS technologies? Why doesn’t a once-a-quarter audit cut it? What should company executives and leaders look for when evaluating their SaaS technology stacks? What are the risks if they don’t? Let’s explore those questions and more:
Why Regular SaaS Audits Are a Non-Negotiable
SaaS usage is at an all-time high for organizations—especially enterprise organizations that may have hundreds (if not more) subscription-based services being utilized across departments and employees. So it’s critical to constantly monitor your SaaS apps. A regular audit is really a non-negotiable.
While new technologies and SaaS products are being introduced to the market more rapidly than ever before, executives are purchasing these tools and implementing them at a faster pace, too, due to the value they see in each new platform or tool. Take for instance this staggering statistic from a recent Gartner report:
“Cloud application services (SaaS) is forecast to grow 20.3 percent in 2016, to $37.7 billion. As software vendors shift their business models from on-premises licensed software to public cloud-based offerings, this trend will continue.”
And often times, CIOs and IT executives aren’t even aware of all of the solutions employees are using (or purchasing on their credit cards). Decisions to move forward with renewals and upsells of SaaS subscriptions are often made at the department level within their respective budgets, creating a disparate view at the top level. Those subscription costs, whether $99/month or $500/year, add up quickly—especially when multiple employees or teams across the organization may be purchasing the same subscription as other teams without their knowing, causing redundancy and potential overlap in unnecessary features.
The consequences? Organizations that don’t constantly monitor their SaaS tech stacks are spending more by not getting discounted enterprise deals, have overlapping and often unnecessary technologies, see a spike in underutilized licenses, increase their security risks, and have a difficult time budgeting for future projections.
What to Look for When Monitoring & Evaluating SaaS Apps
When monitoring your SaaS apps, there are several factors that should be considered to alleviate the pains mentioned above. What are the questions your organization should be able to answer at any given time? Here are a few that CIOs and IT departments must consider:
- What is the total cost spent on SaaS applications each year as an organization?
- How much was budgeted and how much represents Shadow IT?
- What is the total cost spent on SaaS applications each year across each department?
- How much was budgeted and how much represents Shadow IT?
- What is your utilization of SaaS (in terms of usage or licenses) across the organization?
- What is your utilization of SaaS (in terms of usage or licenses) across each department?
- Are there specific SaaS products that are used across various departments that could be rolled into a master agreement?
- How do employees like using each of the SaaS applications? What don’t they like?
- How should your company be allocating budget for next quarter, next year and beyond?
Risks for Organizations That Don’t Monitor Their SaaS Apps
CIOs and IT departments that only monitor and evaluate their SaaS apps on a quarterly or even annual basis could be blind-sided—or completely unaware—of how their organization is purchasing and using technology. Without a proper handle on what SaaS applications are being used, and in what way they are being used, how can CIOs and IT teams protect against potential security issues and ensure that all systems are interconnected so data is fully transparent across departments? In addition, CIOs also need real-time visibility in order to proactively roll one-off agreements into a master agreement so they can view spend and utilization in its entirety, identifying gaps and areas of over-spend.
CIOs and their respective teams have a big task: to keep up with the changing landscape both externally, and perhaps more challenging, internally. If an organization fails to keep up-to-date with its own internal SaaS usage to truly understand how departments and employees are engaging with technology, then how are they expected to make the right decisions for the business?
Leverage a SaaS Optimization Platform for Real-Time SaaS Information
With so many new subscription-based applications being added into a single organization on almost a daily basis, along with purchases and renewals being managed at the departmental level, executives need a new way to manage SaaS and gain complete visibility. And not just quarterly or annual visibility that an ad hoc audit can provide. Without insight into how SaaS applications are being used and how they are performing in real-time, how can CIOs and IT departments ensure that their SaaS tech stack is what it needs to be both now and in the future?
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