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Why A Spreadsheet for SaaS Management Makes Your Life Harder

For simple data analysis and presenting numbers to colleagues, spreadsheets offer a helpful, user-friendly interface. But when it comes to dynamic data sets contributed to from all corners of the business and affecting the bottom line, it’s best to opt for something more advanced. 

Modern businesses increasingly rely on SaaS to power their operations. Gartner predicts 30% of organizations will depend solely on SaaS applications for mission-critical workflows by the year 2025. And SaaS is no small investment. In fact, software accounts for the second-largest operating expense in an organization, behind headcount.

While SaaS may have started out with an expensed app here or there, today’s SaaS landscape requires increased management. Read on for six reasons why a SaaS management spreadsheet doesn’t suffice when it comes to tracking your organization’s application portfolio.

6 Reasons a SaaS Management Spreadsheet is Ineffective

1. Lack of Details

Each SaaS application comes with a trove of information: 

  • How much did the application cost?
  • How many seats does it come with?
  • Is the organization using all the seats?
  • When is the renewal date?
  • What budget does it impact?

Tracking down these details creates a time-consuming, manual process. Consider this: Your CMO wants to know how their team is utilizing a project management tool. Without usage data, you have to hunt for answers. You’ll find yourself conducting internal surveys and digging through expense reports and your ERP system in search of insights that could be at your fingertips with a SaaS management platform. And that’s only for apps that are actually tracked. 

Decentralized purchasing

Because of the decentralized nature of SaaS adoption, anyone and everyone is a buyer. And oftentimes, expensed apps don’t get added to a tracking spreadsheet. In fact, over a third of application quantity is shadow IT, according to Zylo data. And 51% of those expensed apps are miscoded – meaning they fly even more under your radar.

2. Inaccurate Data

While spreadsheet formulas conduct advanced calculations and slice and dice data in countless ways, a human inputs the initial numbers, making the data prone to errors. One copy/paste mistake or misplaced formula has the ability to throw off an entire workbook. When you ask the CMO to turn in their budget forecast for the next quarter or year, inaccurate data could result in significantly underestimating your upcoming software spend. 

3. Inefficient Use of Time

From tracking down the owner of an app to finding usage and renewal terms, building and maintaining spreadsheets wastes valuable time that could be spent on more strategic work. And with an average of 6 new apps entering the environment every month, the process never ends.

Shadow IT also contributes to a lack of productivity, because without usage metrics, it’s difficult to know what tools are and aren’t working for your team. Visibility proves key to ensuring employees are equipped with the right tools to perform their best work. 

4. Collaboration Breakdowns

While SaaS acquisition occurs among many departments and individuals, spreadsheet tracking doesn’t lend itself to that collaborative nature. Understanding the logic and data becomes complicated when multiple parties input data, add rows, or delete formulas. Spreadsheets often become hidden or forgotten, and collaborators don’t grant access to new hires, creating siloes. 

Compare that to a streamlined App Catalog, in which all employees gain equal access to the same set of tools. The tools integrate with each other, creating synergies and efficiencies. The App Catalog also houses details about each app, including its designated function and whom to contact with questions or for access.

5. Compliance and Privacy Issues

Spreadsheets offer limited safety measures, which makes companies vulnerable to security issues and compliance risks, especially when used to store sensitive data. Not only does a spreadsheet create risk, but apps that fly under the radar due to insufficient management expose your company, too. When employees expense apps that haven’t gone through an InfoSec review, there’s no visibility into the apps’ security posture, including whether they’re HIPAA- or GDPR-compliant.

6. Challenging to Manage

For all the reasons above and more, employing a SaaS management spreadsheet just doesn’t cut it. A spreadsheet won’t provide the rich utilization and benchmark data required to make informed business decisions around SaaS acquisition, rationalization, and renewal. No matter how often you update a spreadsheet, it remains out of date, because you lack complete SaaS visibility

zylo benchmarks

Level Up SaaS Management with Zylo

When companies first began adopting SaaS, a spreadsheet may have been enough. And even today, tracking SaaS in a spreadsheet is better than no solution. But it doesn’t provide the complete picture. 

Zylo’s Discovery Engine automatically finds and tags SaaS application licenses in real-time with always-on monitoring. The platlform centralizes key data, such as spend and usage metrics, to empower leaders to make data-driven decisions and uncover cost savings or avoidance opportunities. And those insights are actionable, thanks to automations that deprovision or downgrade unused licenses in accordance with parameters you set. All of this allows organizations to govern their SaaS and proactively manage renewals.

Ready to ditch the spreadsheets? Learn why organizations large and small trust Zylo’s comprehensive, data-driven platform to discover, optimize, and govern their SaaS. Request a demo today.

How the Zylo Discovery Engine Powers the Most Comprehensive SaaS Management Platform

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