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SaaS Management Drives Employee Effectiveness


As we approach our fifth anniversary, the Zylo team is looking back at some of our biggest learnings, which we’re happy to share with you. Here’s the Zylo App Catalog story.

Who would have thought a SaaS Management solution could help companies increase employee effectiveness? We’re proud to say Zylo did, as did our forward-thinking customers, even before the pandemic highlighted the critical role of SaaS in employee engagement and effectiveness.

According to a research paper published in Human Resource Management Review, employee engagement “commendably predicts employee effectiveness.” Zylo’s customers have shown that usage is an unexpected yet practical way to measure engagement. SaaS Management plays a role in driving effectiveness by helping CIOs deploy the right tools their companies’ employees need to be effective, while keeping the portfolio well-managed and secure behind an SSO firewall.

In 2016, we knew that CIOs were expected to provide the best software at optimal cost, risk

Zylo created SaaS Management five years ago to give IT and procurement the data they need to optimize their investments and reduce risk.

We also knew that employees want best-of-breed solutions, which inevitably leads to growing SaaS application portfolios. We also saw through conversations and data that allowing employees to purchase their own applications leads to faster growth in the number of SaaS applications, which can lead to redundant apps, increased risk, and growing costs.

And the stats prove this out. The average organization has 323 SaaS applications, only 23% of which were purchased by IT.

We also had a vision of SaaS powering employee effectiveness

While the idea of SaaS Management was new for most, we were already looking to the future. We knew that SaaS was the key to employee engagement and effectiveness.

According to HR Zone, “Employee engagement is the emotional attachment employees feel towards their place of work, job role, position within the company, colleagues and culture and the effect this attachment has on wellbeing and productivity.”

The Human Resource Management Review study goes on to state that employee engagement “is better conceptualized as a higher-order measure of job attitudes that is an effective and concise predictor of employee effectiveness.”

In short, employees who have the tools they need to get their jobs done feel supported by their organizations, which increases their engagement and, ultimately, their effectiveness.

That got us thinking – how could we go farther than simply managing SaaS portfolios and rein in Shadow IT? That’s when Zylo App Catalog took shape.

In early 2020, we delivered an employee effectiveness solution: Zylo App Catalog

In early 2020, we released Zylo App Catalog for empowering employee productivity. Well before the pandemic, we understood the value of self-service application deployment for employee effectiveness. When COVID-19 sent everyone to work from home, SaaS spend and digital transformation accelerated almost overnight, exponentially increasing the importance of our vision. Today, our customers use Zylo App Catalog to:

Publish a library of curated, licensed SaaS applications

To maintain governance over SaaS applications, IT teams can publish a library of pre-vetted solutions that meet their internal compliance and other requirements. Applications are held securely behind single sign-on, so IT can maintain standards for security and governance while serving employees’ needs for SaaS solutions.

Make it easy for everyone to access SaaS Applications

By giving employees access to the Zylo App Catalog, IT teams make it easy for everyone to  quickly acquire the tools they need to effectively perform their work. Users have direct visibility into approved SaaS applications, without having to hunt down who owns and can grant access to the licenses for each solution. Because of Zylo’s ability to categorize applications, employees who search for apps that aren’t in the company’s App Catalog are presented with the available solution with similar functionality.

Provide IT with data on which applications are really being used

In the struggle to maintain and rationalize SaaS portfolios, up-to-date data is critical. Without it, IT has no understanding of the redundant applications and duplicate subscriptions proliferating throughout the business as individuals and lines of business purchase software independently.

Conversely, approved licensed applications become shelfware as employees use the hot new apps they’ve purchased. Zylo data helps IT identify not only which new apps have been added but also which old apps should be retired and which popular ones should be expanded.

In 2021, the rise of hybrid working environments and a competitive hiring market are driving demand for SaaS apps

In the wake of the pandemic, many industries are finding it hard to recruit and retain good employees. Of course, keeping the good ones is key.

Technology greatly impacts their ability to get their jobs done and therefore their satisfaction. Employees also want a sense of ownership over the tools they use – they don’t want to be forced into a platform that delivers just some or most of what they need. They want best-of-breed solutions.

Our expectations as consumers are driving Enterprise Software requirements. We want software that’s easy to use and easy to buy. This means that employees and lines of business are now leading SaaS purchases. Individuals and lines of business now control 73% of SaaS spend and 77% of SaaS applications. Buying best-of breed software has never been easier.

Without a SaaS center for employees, costs and risks rise

Free trials and low monthly costs make it easy for employees to try and purchase new software, without IT’s approval or even knowledge. While great for employee engagement, this also introduces challenges.

Licensed applications become shelfware as employees use the hot new apps. The number of redundant applications and duplicate subscriptions grow as individuals and lines of business purchase software independently. And with no visibility into these purchased applications, IT cannot ensure that the new applications adhere to internal governance rules, which increases risk.

SaaS Management must balance governance with employee empowerment

Organizations need a curated catalog of SaaS applications and a SaaS Management Lifecycle that focuses on governance as well as empowering employees. The catalog must reflect the balance between governance and empowerment, which will be different for each organization.

That’s where Zylo comes in. We have the technology and the experts to deliver an effective SaaS management structure for your business. Our SaaS Consultants will guide you based on five years and hundreds of customers’ experience to set you up for success today and tomorrow.

Zylo App Catalog: The Future is Now

Zylo’s App Catalog is no longer a future vision, but a requirement for today. With the App Catalog, you can drive awareness of business-approved tools, fast-track employee onboarding, and create clear lines of communication. Employees can gain access to technologies they need to make their work easier, which increases engagement and, in turn, effectiveness.

We’re delighted to have created a solution just in time for an unprecedented era of need. Inspired by our customers, we’re continually driven by a vision for what comes next. Because that’s how market creators lead.