New SaaS Management Tools for SaaS Governance & Spend Visiblity

Ben Pippenger

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At Zylo, we strive to understand our customers’ challenges, motivations, and how our solutions will impact their business.

Based on invaluable customer feedback like this, we recently launched new features to make enterprise SaaS management more effective than ever.

We’ve had the opportunity to listen to customer’s goals for improving their enterprise SaaS strategy via the Zylo SaaS management platform.

We’ve incorporated that feedback into numerous new features that empower SaaS governance and enhance spend visibility.

These features will spur the next evolutionary step towards mature, scalable SaaS management at a time when the managing cloud-based subscriptions software consumes a growing amount of capital and resources.

Here are a few highlights:

Zylo Provides the Next Steps for SaaS Management

The new capabilities enable businesses to create a distributed model for SaaS management. This allows SaaS visibility, tasks, and ownership to be delegated to users throughout the organization, reducing administrative burden without sacrificing oversight or governance.

A large enterprise’s total investment in cloud-based subscription software now represents spending of about $10,000 per employee, according to Zylo data. In comparison, it costs about $14,000 per year to provide healthcare benefits to an average employee and their dependents according to the National Business Group on Health.

Business Units Level Up Enterprise SaaS Management

Technology leaders who deploy Zylo can now create and view multiple separate business units from within the SaaS management platform.

This allows users to curate separate, unique SaaS inventories for separate business units but also maintain a bird’s eye view of all SaaS applications throughout the business.

Example use case: A services firm expands globally, acquiring several new teams in multiple countries.

To understand their acquisition and start consolidating technology assets and practices, IT managers want to identify the total SaaS inventory throughout each new organization but prefer to monitor each location as a separate entity.

In this scenario, a Zylo admin can now create and monitor each team and its respective SaaS inventory as a discrete business unit.

Establishing a SaaS Governance Framework

As more companies embrace a mix of SaaS applications across an entire enterprise, new SaaS governance 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 “distributed management” approach for governance creates efficiency by reducing administrative burdens and constraints on the central IT team. However, distributing the controls for SaaS application management requires new governance controls to allow for granular, user-level oversight.

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 companies – manage SaaS applications the same way.

Example use case: Your Finance team may want to quickly see information about contract payment details, while your IT team prefers to prioritize the number of licenses deployed and each license user’s activity.

To address these factors, the Zylo SaaS management platform now allows administrators to reorder any SaaS application profile 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.

Distributed Management via Views & Access Controls

One new feature that we think signals the evolution of SaaS governance is the ability to distribute access to SaaS management functions across the organization.

By introducing views and role-based permissions to dictate what individual teams and users can see, edit, and manage in the Zylo platform, technology leaders can now delegate the administrative management of SaaS to users throughout the company.

Views & access controls create the ability to:

  • Improve SaaS visibility
  • Empower a proactive, distributed SaaS management strategy
  • Preserve data compliance and confidentiality
  • Automate processes for SaaS discovery and ownership

Within the Zylo SaaS management platform, administrators can now toggle permissions and access controls per team or user, customizing what each has access to. Now, customized access and permission sets for to subscriptions, team data, payment data, administration, and integrations can be toggled on or off for individual users.

This ability to distribute SaaS governance access controls to teams and individual users when appropriate can reduce administrative burden and process overhead.

For example, for teams who have access to SaaS application information – including contract terms, user activity, or license provisioning information, they no longer need to send IT requests for info about these application details.

Improve SaaS Visibility

Improve SaaS visibility for teams and users across the business by creating views that show the specific subsets of SaaS applications they own.

This allows technology managers to socialize SaaS application data in a secure way and distribute a portion of SaaS management throughout the business while retaining the oversight needed for an overall management strategy.

When teams and users have the ability to view and access key SaaS management info such as cost, renewal dates, licenses, and utilization data, they can help eliminate surprises and unplanned spend.

Example use case: Your Marketing team owns a large SaaS application inventory.

Today, they need to stay informed with frequent updates about upcoming renewals, license counts, and other key data.

Providing this team with access within Zylo of all Marketing-associated SaaS applications and their related data can enable them to make better decisions about their SaaS portfolio usage and composition.

Empower a Proactive, Distributed SaaS Management Strategy

Empower a proactive, distributed management strategy for SaaS applications by giving teams and users role-based permissions to directly control the management of their owned applications.

This includes the ability to switch specific Zylo platform functions on or off per user. Examples include the ability to add new applications to the platform, edit payment data, reprovision licenses, or integrate new applications.

Toggling these controls per user or team gives Zylo admins the ability to mix and match access controls and fine-tune a distributed management strategy based on the users’ qualifications.

Example use case: Your Finance teams should see, but not manage, all SaaS applications.

Finance is qualified to see all applications entering the organization and update payment information, but don’t need to make changes to API integrations or subscriptions.

A Zylo admin can now create a custom set of permissions for Finance users that allows them to view all applications throughout the business but only grants the ability to edit application payment data.

Preserve Data Compliance and Confidentiality

Preserve data compliance and confidentiality by combining the ability to restrict views and permissions to only the users who need it, technology managers can ensure sensitive company data remains secure and confidential.

Automate Processes for SaaS Discovery and Ownership

Save time by automatically making new applications visible to the right teams and users by automatically assigning new applications to certain views based on application attributes found in Zylo’s ever-expanding library of more than 10,000 application profiles.

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 the Zylo Discovery Engine, 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.

SaaS Management Maturity Demands Custom, Flexible Controls

Even though many organizations are just kicking off their SaaS management journeys, they are doing so with planning and intention for managing SaaS over the long term.

This is especially true for businesses operating at enterprise scale where the goal is to manage cloud-based subscription software so it maximizes value and minimizes reduces administrative burden.

We’re proud to make these new features available to our users and customers. We believe they empower the next step in the continuing evolution of SaaS management.

To learn more about Zylo, request a demo.

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.