Enterprises Need SaaS Managers: Prepare for SaaS Growth

Eric Christopher

Back to Blog

Today, you may not find many job posts for the title of “Software-as-a-Service/SaaS manager” or “SaaS application manager,” but future prospects for the role are becoming increasingly clear. At Zylo, we believe you will soon see jobs with the title SaaS manager from tech-forward organizations as their cloud and SaaS investments continue to grow.

The adoption of SaaS shows no signs of slowing and more organizations now recognize the unique complexity of SaaS-related challenges and the need for specific job functions that can address them. In this post, we’ll explore what the job description for the role of a SaaS manager might look like and how this role will make SaaS-reliant organizations’ tech portfolios more effective.

Differences of SAM & SaaS Management

SaaS has changed how enterprises acquire and use software, and SaaS use continues to grow. Analyst firm Gartner predicts that the total SaaS market will grow from $85 billion in 2019 to $113 billion by 2021, underscoring that more organizations are buying and using SaaS products. SaaS is currently the largest segment of the cloud-based software market, a trend that’s expected to continue.

In enterprise organizations, practitioners of software asset management (SAM) have commonly managed software to safeguard against license over-deployment and track end-user utilization. In an on-premise environment, the focus has typically been on IT-purchased, with an emphasis on the centrally managed provisioning of licenses and users. Therefore, the job description for on-premise license managers may not match the unique challenges of SaaS.

SaaS positions any user in the organization as a software buyer — department heads, lines of business, individual employees, not just IT leaders or sourcing teams. In fact, more than 50% of all IT software purchases now occur outside of the IT team’s purview.

The decentralization and democratization of enterprise software purchasing create unique questions and challenges:

But enterprise SAM practitioners may find their current toolset ill-equipped to answer these questions: SaaS can appear in multiple discrete instances across an organization, not under a centrally managed system. To survive in an increasingly cloud-forward world, enterprises must expose, document, and actively monitor cloud-based systems with professional SaaS management.

Responsibilities of a Saas Manager

When SaaS managers become more commonplace, a sample description of job roles and responsibilities description might include:

  • Collaborate with IT, sourcing, and business stakeholders to identify and document all SaaS applications and subscriptions throughout the organization.
  • Create an ongoing transparent and continuously updated inventory of SaaS instances accessible to department heads and cost center owners.
  • Create documentation around evaluation, integration and governance within IT best practices for application adoption, license provisioning, security, privacy, and user on- and off-boarding.
  • Determines KPI measurements for SaaS application adoption, usage and sentiment, and delivers reporting to stakeholders across the organization.
  • Evaluate and monitors SaaS application inventory across the organization for optimal cost-effectiveness, including the elimination of application or cost-center redundancy.
  • Manage SaaS application life cycles including the creation of a SaaS renewal calendar; build a documented, collaborative evaluation process; and develop action plans for upcoming renewal dates
  • Develops ongoing partnerships with IT, sourcing, vendor management and individual department managers to lead digital transformation and increase organizational ROI, effectiveness and agility.
  • Helps stakeholders find the most effective tools to increase business effectiveness, including Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, and IT.
  • Leads teams to independently evaluate their best practices and adopt a value-driven mindset when purchasing new SaaS applications.
  • Optimizes licensing agreements with a focus towards leveraging enterprise license agreements (ELAs).

Who Already Tackles Enterprise SaaS Management?

Portions of the above job description likely sound familiar to enterprise technology leaders or sourcing teams. For many organizations, it’s likely that multiple professionals or teams fulfill some or all duties listed above, including CIOs, enterprise technology architects, ITAM professsionals, and vendor management or sourcing teams.

In its State of Software Management in the Cloud benchmarking report, Zylo found that enterprises underestimate the total number of SaaS applications by two to three times on average. The average mid- to large-sized enterprise also experienced two to three SaaS application renewals per day.

When comparing stats like these against the billions that Gartner has projected enterprises will invest in SaaS applications, enterprises should take the opportunity to contain costs and improve the value of their SaaS investments by focusing on SaaS management sooner rather than later.

There’s little doubt that investment in SaaS applications for business will only increase. But how will enterprise technology leaders proactively answer the challenges that accompany this unyielding trend? For leaders with an eye toward increased awareness of their investment, right-sizing application use, and continuing to create best practices for governance, now is the time to consider developing the SaaS application management specialist role.

Request a Demo

About the Author

Eric Christopher

Eric Christopher is CEO and Co-Founder of Zylo, the leading SaaS management platform. After 14 years of buying and selling software, Eric knew there had to be a better way to manage cloud applications within a company. Eric started his career in sales at ExactTarget from 2002 to 2010. He spent the next six years in Chicago leading sales teams at Shoutlet and Sprout Social Inc., and founded Zylo in 2016.