With the rise of SaaS, today’s workers download apps almost on a per project basis. Zylo research shows the average company sees eight applications enter its environment and four exit every 30 days.
With such drastic ebbs and flows, maintaining visibility into an organization’s SaaS (and the associated costs) becomes increasingly difficult. Our recommendation? Say goodbye to spreadsheets, and hello to a license dashboard.
A license dashboard, which typically comes with a comprehensive SaaS Management platform, gives decision-makers an ongoing pulse on licenses and real-time usage metrics. Read on to learn the value of a license dashboard.
Importance of SaaS Visibility
The rise of remote and hybrid work skyrocketed SaaS adoption among lines of business and individual employees. IT now manages only 27% of an organization’s SaaS, while business units manage 66%.
Less oversight from IT increases instances of Shadow IT, which leads to duplicate and redundant applications, underutilized or abandoned tools, and wasted budgets.
The average organization now spends $65M on SaaS annually, and visibility proves key to optimizing that spend.
The Downsides to SaaS Spreadsheet Management
Pre-SaaS management platforms, most IT managers tracked SaaS in Excel or Google Sheets (and many still do). But relying on manual processes for license management invites numerous downsides, such as:
Lack of details. Basic data tools only offer high-level visibility. When tracking 300+ apps on average, sophisticated solutions allow SaaS managers to parse data in more meaningful ways.
Inaccurate data. Spreadsheet management remains largely a manual process. One copy/paste error or misplaced formula may throw off an entire workbook.
Time consuming. With new apps entering and exiting a business weekly (each with their unique billing cycles and expiration dates), building and maintaining spreadsheets consumes time IT teams could allocate to more crucial tasks.
Curbs collaboration. SaaS acquisition occurs among many departments and individuals, but spreadsheet tracking doesn’t lend itself to that collaborative nature. When multiple parties input data, add rows, or delete formulas, it makes it harder to understand the logic.
Compliance and privacy issues. Many apps contain sensitive or private company and employee information. Tracking them in spreadsheets leaves businesses open to potential General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance violations, which come with significant penalties.
Challenging to manage. SaaS subscription management contains many data points, including number of seats per tool, renewal terms and costs, invoicing details, and cancellation rules. It truly makes SaaS spreadsheets difficult to manage and analyze.
Benefits of a License Dashboard
Overcome the above challenges with a license dashboard, which gives visibility into:
- SaaS usage: The average organization uses only 60% of its provisioned SaaS licenses, according to Zylo research. A license dashboard shows real-time insights on the number of licenses, as well as utilization data.
- SaaS spend: A license dashboard tracks how much an organization spends on SaaS, which budget lines that money comes from, and the associated renewal costs and dates.
- SaaS compliance: Know whether your apps follow business protocol (up-to-date with single sign-on and IT vetting) and comply with GDPR and HIPAA regulations.
With real-time metrics on usage and spend, you can quickly find answers to questions like:
- How many [Salesforce/Asana/Microsoft 365] licenses have we purchased? How many of those licenses have been provisioned, and how many are we using?
- Which applications/licenses has [Marketing/Sales/Product] purchased, and did IT vet them?
- Which applications are being purchased both through AP and expense channels?
- Are there applications we aren’t properly utilizing?
Who Should Use a License Dashboard?
When adopted, a license dashboard benefits stakeholders across the company.
- CIOs: Provides insight into high spend apps and aggregates annual spend.
- IT/SAM leaders: Gives visibility into licenses purchased and used throughout the organization, allowing them to make smarter technology decisions.
- Applications owners: Helps optimize spend by giving insight into tools that were previously purchased for their departments.
- Procurement: Prepares them for negotiation conversations by giving visibility into application usage and contract terms.
As SaaS continues to grow, companies need advanced tools to keep up. A license dashboard provides crucial SaaS visibility—a key to optimizing time and spend.