With ever-growing SaaS portfolios dominating tech stacks, it can be difficult for enterprises to keep a handle on application management. Individual players drive a successful SaaS management strategy. Encouraging proactive collaboration and participation from these stakeholders is essential.
To set your organization on the path for SaaS management success, and encourage a healthy dose of IT collaboration, engage these team members.
CIO or CTO
C-Suite leaders are the obvious top of the food chain for any new technology initiative. These individuals lead the strategic helm and help define tactical goals to ensure smooth and secure operational success.
CIOs and CTOs are instrumental in selecting and deploying enterprise-wide IT tools. Still, they’re increasingly expected to help define and optimize the specialized, but smaller toolsets of business units, departments, and teams.
Engaging executive technology leadership is critical for SaaS management because top-tier representation is necessary if you hope to gain any footing for introducing a new or improved application management process.
Here are some ways to garner CIO or CTO support for your SaaS management initiatives:
- Highlight the cost-saving potential from better contract negotiations and improved license management.
- Outline the security and compliance benefits of strengthened controls and improved IT collaboration.
- Discuss how a forward-thinking SaaS management strategy will position IT as an innovative leader within the organization.
Successful SaaS management necessitates active engagement with Procurement and Sourcing. When enterprises need to adopt a new application, they look to Procurement or Sourcing teams, if available. These teams exist solely to ensure that best practices are followed for any new tool acquisition, which maximizes purchase value and contract negotiations.
Procurement and Sourcing investigate options, document application requirements, negotiate contracts, secure purchases, and help kick off implementation.
Ongoing SaaS management benefits organizations by keeping costs contained and ensuring you receive value for your purchase, which overlaps with the primary goals of Procurement and Sourcing. As a result, these teams often have existing processes in place to help gather the needed support for a SaaS management program.
Developing a streamlined SaaS management strategy will simplify the job of Procurement and Sourcing for these reasons:
- Maintaining a central repository for all SaaS details allows Procurement and Sourcing teams to maintain real-time insight into contract details.
- Greater transparency allows for more efficient contract negotiations.
- SaaS metrics are essential for identifying cost-saving opportunities and enable improved license management.
- Full visibility into contract details allows for proactive discussions and reduces the chances of unwanted renewals.
- Measuring end-user utilization via a SaaS management platform can inform future purchasing decisions and help determine return on investment more accurately.
All company purchases eventually make their way through Finance.
Finance is responsible for reporting on accounts payable and expense items. To implement an effective SaaS management strategy, spend-based discovery based on financial data provides a comprehensive view of all purchased SaaS applications within a company. As a result, having the support of Finance can have a far reach.
To get Finance on board with your SaaS management strategy, try the following talking points:
- SaaS management provides enhanced insight into application spend, allowing for improved forecasting, spend management, and budgeting.
- Enhanced visibility reduces wasted spend.
- A successful SaaS management strategy maximizes the value of software purchases.
- SaaS management enables a cross-functional approach to the review process or board for new application purchases. If pursued, the review team can include Finance to ensure all new SaaS applications get rationalized and costs vetted.
Legal is another vital team to engage as part of your SaaS management strategy. Software adoptions often intersect with compliance and regulatory requirements, making Legal a useful ally to ensure software meets these standards.
A considerable part of SaaS management involves contract negotiations, and Legal can also be very beneficial for assisting in contract negotiations and in reaching a more favorable agreement.
To help convince Legal to participate in your SaaS management strategy, outline the following benefits.
- A SaaS management system provides a quick and easy, centrally governed platform which provides a quick reference for all contract details.
- Effective SaaS management can be customized to include a running, real-time tally of which applications have and have not been vetted for compliance to regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA.
- A software review is an excellent opportunity for Legal to review questionable agreements and have full visibility into contractual obligations.
Business Unit Leaders
Business unit leaders are in charge of the functional teams within your organization. These may include, but not be limited to, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, and Customer Service. These teams perform a diverse set of functions within your organization and, therefore, typically have unique software needs.
More and more, SaaS applications are becoming available that target specific business unit functionality. For example, in 2011, there were approximately 150 marketing-specific applications compared to more than 7,000 today.
Engaging these teams as part of your SaaS management strategy is critical to ensure adopted tools get utilized and costs remain contained. As these team-specific tools become more mission-critical, it’s also vital that they are managed appropriately for optimal usage and spend.
To get buy-in from business units and promote IT collaboration, try highlighting the following benefits of a SaaS management strategy.
- Usage metrics and efficient license management reduce spend waste and functional overlaps, leading to increased purchasing power.
- Comprehensive insight into SaaS usage allows individual teams to identify the most effective tools.
- Partnerships with SaaS management teams can empower business unit leaders to avoid unwanted renewals, inform application negotiations, and improve overall contract management.
Special Mention: IT
Since SaaS management is essentially the management of technology and information, IT is well-positioned as the collaborative bridge between all these different teams. But SaaS management also carries collaboration opportunities – and benefits – for specialists within IT.
Software Asset Management
If your IT department already uses software asset management, the leap to SaaS management is a much narrower gap. Many of software asset management best practices, including utilization measurement, the cost-benefit rationalization for applications, and license right-sizing to actual need, also feature prominently in SaaS management. In many cases, SAM teams lead the adoption of SaaS management, but if SaaS and SAM teams are exclusive, collaborating with them is an important goal.
Security and Compliance Teams
SaaS management helps ensure all applications meet security and compliance standards, typically an IT function. If rogue users are adopting applications that aren’t provisioned with the appropriate security protocols, it can lead to a breach in compliance.
Using a SaaS management strategy, security and compliance teams can discover and identify new or unknown applications, vet them, and mitigate risks. The system of record provided by a SaaS management platform can also serve as a log of compliance documentation.
Ensuring all users have appropriate access to applications allows IT to manage identities more efficiently. A SaaS strategy helps to ensure that user access is assigned and removed promptly.
Further, a SaaS management tool that features direct integrations into SSO tools like Okta, Onelogin, or Azure AD can identify applications operating outside of SSO. These integrations also provide enhanced data about the utilization of applications secured with these identity management solutions.
When it comes to your overall enterprise architecture, a SaaS management strategy provides increased visibility into the entire tech stack, leading to more efficient management and rationalization for technology applications.
With this visibility, processes and dependencies can be better documented, spending can be reduced, and the organization overall can benefit from more effective tools and services.
The organizational benefits of deploying a SaaS management strategy are numerous. From the discovery of all SaaS applications and expenses to mitigating security and compliance risks to reducing costs and leveraging more value from cloud-based tools, managing SaaS is not strictly the boon of IT teams.
However, these benefits can only be realized via a robust collaborative approach that prioritizes proactive cross-functional engagement.