Not all SaaS providers are created equal. If you work with vendors, you probably already know this. The same goes for your SaaS management provider.
SaaS management providers can be wildly helpful in helping you achieve your SaaS management goals. But they can also fail critically and hinder your company’s SaaS management strategies.
In this blog, we’ll examine red flags to look out for and signs that your provider might not have your best interests at heart. Then, we’ll show you what you should expect from a true partner in SaaS management.
Red Flag #1: They Don’t Prioritize Visibility
Any SaaS management provider who’s worth their weight knows that visibility is king. We will preach this sentiment to long avail. You can’t manage what you can’t see.
There are providers on the market that don’t prioritize complete visibility. They get by with partial visibility – or get a “just good enough” view of your SaaS estate.
When you don’t turn over all the proverbial rocks, those gaps in visibility leave your organization susceptible to financial, security, and compliance risks. You must have complete visibility to:
- Understand the composition of your portfolio
- Identify and act on optimization opportunities
- Ensure your environment is secure
- Maintain regulatory compliance
Don’t just take it from us. Gartner predicts that your organization will be 5X more susceptible to cyber incidents if you fail to centrally manage SaaS lifecycles. The analyst firm also adds that companies will be overpaying by 25% due to lack of visibility.
Can you afford to let a stone go unturned with your SaaS? Don’t compromise with a provider that doesn’t give you complete visibility.
Red Flag #2: They Offer Technology or Services, Not Both
You can’t just throw technology at a problem. Likewise, services aren’t as powerful without technology behind them. A common red flag in SaaS management providers is they fail to harness the power of both technology and services.
First, let’s look at those that only provide a SaaS management platform. They may offer a great tool but not any of the services to back them up. It takes substantial change management and resources to enact a SaaS management strategy at your organization. A platform is a helpful tool. But, to really hit the ground running, you need experts to help you get started.
On the flipside, some providers lead with services. They may offer cheaper prices than other providers on the promise of fleshed-out customer service. Getting a good deal is great, but without technology, you can’t view the full picture. If you don’t have the visibility a platform provides, you’re probably leaving money on the table.
The Best of Both Worlds: Technology + Services
The best SaaS management providers meet their customers where they’re at on their SaaS management journey. Together, technology and services can get you started with your best foot forward and achieve long-term success.
On one side, a SaaS management platform will collect, house, and analyze all your SaaS data. Then, paired with robust services, the partner helps you execute your management strategies. For instance, Zylo offers both a platform and services (SaaS Manager and SaaS Negotiator) to help customers maximize the potential of their program.
You want a provider who gives the best of both worlds. Look for one that can help support what you need and meet you at the stage you’re at.
How Versapay Leverages Zylo’s Platform and Managed Services to Take Control of SaaS
Learn how Versapay’s IT team taps into the Zylo platform and a dedicated SaaS management resource to optimize its SaaS portfolio and drive cost and time savings.
Red Flag #3: They Take a Transactional Approach with Your Vendors
A huge benefit of good SaaS management is negotiating better deals with your SaaS vendors. While many of us are focused on cutting costs these days, we’d be remiss to ignore the relationship side of the equation.
However, there are companies in the market that do. Their focus is intent on getting the best deal rather than maintaining and developing relationships. Unfortunately, that can threaten your standing with your long-term vendors and partners.
The last thing you want is for a relationship to turn sour over an aggressive price negotiation.
Dylan Margonari is a procurement professional who negotiates SaaS contracts and renewals every day. Here’s the advice he shared with us on the SaaSMe Unfiltered podcast:
“Never beat up your vendors on price. That’s just going to put your relationship owner in a bad, sticky situation if you’re just beating them up for the best price possible. If I can give any advice, please avoid that at all costs.”
Red Flag #4: They Don’t Offer Dedicated Customer Support
A SaaS management provider should not leave you out to dry when it comes to implementing your strategy. From Day One, you should expect a dedicated resource to help you implement a tool, provide guidance, and help execute the initiative.
This isn’t a consistent experience within the industry. Especially when it comes to managed services, a dedicated resource is rare, if non-existent.
For instance, you have a renewal that needs to be negotiated. You submit a support ticket, and the next available resource picks it up. It’s possible you don’t know this person, and they don’t have much context about your relationship with that vendor. And it’s likely they’re heavily focused on getting the best price (see red flag #3).
Moving to the next renewal, you repeat the process. The problem here is that next time, you’re not sure who will be negotiating your renewal. It feels like a delivery service, where you never know who is going to show up at your door.
The ideal services partner is one you can trust – and who maintains that trust with your vendors on your behalf.
Ryan Johnson, former VP of IT at Versapay, shared, “Our Zylo resource is an embedded member in my team. The reception has been remarkably positive and we’ve seen immediate value.”
Red Flag #5: Their Optimization Recommendations Are Biased
When it comes to optimizing your SaaS applications and spend, you want to prioritize what will make the greatest impact.
That can be a challenge with providers who play for both teams. Meaning, they have agreements with SaaS vendors while managing their customers’ SaaS stacks. They’re incentivized to recommend specific products with marginal list-price discounting so that they get kickbacks from the vendor.
Would you rather have a provider that fights for you or one with ulterior motives?
SaaS management providers without strings attached to SaaS vendors can commit themselves fully to fighting for you.
“With Zylo, I think a big advantage is the agentless approach,” said Gibson Schnurr, IT Ops Lead at Juni.
At Zylo, we’re vendor agnostic – meaning we do what’s in the best interest of our customers and help them achieve their business goals.
Red Flag #6: Their Platform Is Built for a Single Persona
SaaS management is a comprehensive business practice that requires inventory, renewal, and license management. As a result, IT and Finance both have big stakes in it.
Your SaaS management platform needs to work for both; however, there are platforms built for only IT or Procurement.
Because there are multiple stakeholders, single-persona platforms create data and collaboration silos. In contrast, a central source of truth for the entire organization breeds better collaboration and drives greater results for your business.
At Zylo, we like to say that SaaS management is a team sport. Gordon Atkin, VP of Technology and Business Platform at Salsify, echoes that sentiment.
“I think that when you bring together more and try to operate as one versus one trying to operate as many, there’s much more power in that.”
For instance, Zylo brings together key stakeholders to centralize your SaaS inventory, optimize licenses, and manage renewals.
Listen below for Atkins’ take on cross-collaboration in SaaS management.
Pick a Better SaaS Management Provider
Going for “just good enough” greatly hinders the potential of your SaaS management program. From stymied collaboration and tarnished vendor relationships to greater susceptibility to financial, security, and compliance risks.
You deserve a provider who will go at bat for you in terms of giving you complete visibility, robust tech and services, and committed customer service. If you’re tired of just good enough, request a demo with Zylo. Expect more out of your SaaS management partner.