Why It’s Important to Constantly Monitor Your SaaS Apps

Eric Christopher

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While the old saying “do it once and do it right” may be worth something in a variety of other scenarios, evaluating and monitoring a SaaS technology stack is not one of those. In fact, CIOs and IT leaders must constantly be evaluating their SaaS tech stacks on at least a monthly, if not a more regular basis, and certainly must not have the “one and done” mindset. Enterprise companies that have hundreds of SaaS applications in place across departments may need to evaluate their technologies on even a weekly basis to ensure there isn’t oversight of spend, utilization, and a variety of other factors.

What is the reason that organizations must 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.

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 Evaluating SaaS Tech Stacks

When evaluating SaaS tech stacks, there are several factors that should also be considered to help alleviate the pains mentioned above. What are the questions an 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 Evaluate SaaS

CIOs and IT departments that only evaluate their SaaS tech stacks 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?

Interested in unlocking the power of SaaS at your organization? Visit zylo.com to sign up for our newsletter or follow @getzylo on Twitter for more information.

 

About the Author

Eric Christopher

Eric Christopher is CEO and Co-Founder of Zylo, the leading SaaS management platform. After 14 years of buying and selling software, Eric knew there had to be a better way to manage cloud applications within a company. Eric started his career in sales at ExactTarget from 2002 to 2010. He spent the next six years in Chicago leading sales teams at Shoutlet and Sprout Social Inc., and founded Zylo in 2016.