New SaaS Management Tools for Governance, Spend Visibility & Renewals

Ben Pippenger

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Throughout this year, we’ve had the opportunity to listen to customer’s goals for improving their SaaS management strategy with Zylo’s SaaS management tools. We’ve incorporated that feedback into numerous new features that empower SaaS governance, enhance spend visibility, and improve renewal strategy.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Empowering SaaS Governance

As more companies embrace managing SaaS across an entire enterprise, new strategies emerge. In particular, some firms choose to allow business units, teams, or individuals to manage some or all of their respective SaaS application portfolios directly, rather than via a centralized IT team.

This creates efficiency by reducing administrative burdens and constraints on the central IT team, but distributing SaaS application management requires new features to allow for granular, user-level controls that ensure oversight and governance.

Customize and Configure SaaS Application Details

We’ve learned quickly that even within a robust system of record like Zylo, no two companies (or even teams within those companies) prioritize or manage SaaS applications the same way.

For instance, your Finance team may value the ability to quickly view information about contract payment and renewal details while your IT team values the ability to quickly view information about the number of licenses deployed and how users utilize those licenses.

To address these factors, we created the ability for teams using Zylo to reorder any field and display the most important fields first. Now, Finance teams can see payment info at a glance or customize their application with dozens of other attributes, and other teams can customize and prioritize according to their unique needs.

Advanced SaaS Permissions and Access Controls

One product focus we think signals the evolution of SaaS management as a practice is the ability to extend distributed access across the organization.

Within the Zylo platform, administrators can now toggle permissions and access controls per team or user, customizing what each has access to. Now, access to subscriptions, team data, payment data, administration, and integrations can be individually customized as new users are added to Zylo.

Distributing access controls to teams and individual users when appropriate can reduce administrative burden (for example, for teams who have access, they no longer need to request info about application status).

It also secures sensitive company information from being inappropriately accessed by ensuring only properly credentialed users are granted view permissions (for information such as company-wide SaaS spending, for example).

RELATED: Zylo Answers the Call for Advanced SaaS Management Tools for the Enterprise

Enhancing SaaS Spend Visibility

One of the primary reasons for undertaking a SaaS management strategy is improving access to data that drives informed decision-making. Informed decisions thereby increase the value of SaaS applications as a resource for the enterprise.

To that end, we’ve released a number of measurement enhancements that unlock new insights into application value, including indicators for application engagement.

Identifying Duplicated Applications Instances via Cost Centers

After deploying Zylo’s patent-pending discovery process, customers frequently find they have more than one instance of the same application.

To continue to make this information visible, when viewing a single application, Zylo users can now see the total number of cost centers associated with it.

This allows users to easily identify which different business units who are expensing identical tools so teams can work to consolidate their usage of those apps and negotiate a more favorable deal.

Enhanced Insights into Transaction Frequency

An effective way to drive value from SaaS applications is by consolidating multiple expensed instances into a single enterprise license. The application then becomes more centrally managed and typically delivers more value than a smattering of one-off unmanaged instances.

But how do you identify the best opportunities for consolidation? We have found the frequency of application transactions is be a good indicator, so we enabled access to this data to the Zylo subscription dashboard.

Users can now see applications with the most or least amount of transactions to identify the highest expensed applications that do not have an enterprise contract. These applications can then be evaluated for opportunities to move to an enterprise contract.

Greater Visibility into Accounts Payable and Expensed Transactions

We know that shadow IT typically grows more quickly when teams and users can expense their purchases. We also know a thorough Accounts Payable approval process can help stymie shadow IT growth.

To help users understand their recent SaaS application payment activity, we added AP and Expensed spend attributes to the subscriptions dashboard, including the ability to see last transaction dates and the amount of spend.

This allows users to identify their top expensed applications and create a strategy to begin consolidating apps to a single contract and/or move SaaS acquisition into Accounts Payable.

Improving SaaS Renewal Strategy

Zylo started building SaaS management tools with the goal of creating a better process to manage all SaaS applications, but we’ve always had a specific focus on SaaS renewals. The default SaaS renewal management method – monitoring dates and notification in a spreadsheet or dedicated calendar – frequently fails because that information becomes outdated quickly.

The Zylo system of record helps solve this problem by putting all SaaS applications in one place, including renewal dates and notification information. If technology-managing teams can proactively manage a renewal calendar and pre-empt reactive decision-making, they can avoid missed renewals and their costs.

A Single Click to Activate Renewal Notification Alerts

One of the SaaS management tools that made the most sense was improving renewal notifications.It now takes just a single click to create a 30-, 60-, or 90-day alert notification for any SaaS application in their Zylo system of record.

Notification alert emails have been consolidated to show all upcoming alert notifications in a single message. For example, if five applications are due for renewal in the next 90 days, their information appears in one message rather than five unique messages.

A More Complete View of SaaS Renewal Management

When approaching SaaS application renewal management, taking all contract term details into account informs decision-making.

To help Zylo users improve their SaaS renewal strategy and avoid missed renewals, we added the ability to see contract start dates, end dates, and the required notification period. This provides at-a-glance details for contract information within a specified time period.

We’re excited to continue to evolve the concepts and practical framework for managing SaaS applications.

We believe that as more organizations tackle the challenge of SaaS through discovery and collaboration within a system of record, the value of SaaS applications as a business resource and tool will continue to improve.

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About the Author

Ben Pippenger

Ben Pippenger, VP of Product, has a passion for driving innovation and delivering value. Ben believes that transparency, visibility, and clear communication allow you to solve the most complex challenges.