Eric Christopher, CEO and co-founder of Zylo, kicked off the webinar with a quick overview of why SaaS management matters now more than ever. Dylan Holloran, a lead software asset management analyst for Salesforce, joined the webinar to present his best practices for managing SaaS, including how to identify SaaS, optimize SaaS contracts, and negotiate with SaaS vendors.
Holloran manages all SaaS-based licenses for Salesforce’s nearly 50,000 employees, including overseeing vendor relationships and ensuring security standards and policies are met. “SaaS is the way forward for the future of SAM,” Holloran says.
Here’s how he goes about optimizing SaaS at Salesforce:
Understand Total Spend
One of the primary goals in understanding total spend is to understand the extent of existing SaaS vendor relationships. Holloran recommends partnering with your Procurement or Contracts team (if applicable) to pinpoint every current SaaS vendor relationship.
The data gleaned from this exercise and other discovery methods should flow into a single source of truth or a system of record. Ideally, this record includes key data points such as:
- Contract start/end dates
- Contract spend
- Unique stipulations
- User count/user list
- Unique license metrics
Beyond finding actual contracts, one of the fastest ways of discovery methods for identifying all SaaS within use in the organization is to examine expense transactions. Holloran recommends looking back at least a full 12 months to gain a complete picture of what SaaS may be in use.
Engage the Business
Collaboration with stakeholders throughout the business is an essential undertaking for effectively managing SaaS. This includes identifying business owners, setting up internal discussions regarding use cases for different SaaS applications, and, ultimately, explaining the organizational goals for software asset management (SAM).
In most cases, the goals for an effective SAM program for SaaS management are saving money, reducing risks, and bolstering overall security.
Engage the Vendor
The next step in optimizing a SAM program for SaaS is to engage with the software publishers themselves. Holloran recommends arming yourself with data before any SaaS vendor discussion. This includes knowing the details of the current pricing and contract language and researching the market for typical retail pricing.
If and when entering discussions regarding changes to pricing or other contract elements, he recommends a polite tone and framing any changes as a “win-win” between the publisher and its customer.
When it comes to negotiations, Holloran recommends the following:
- When shopping among multiple vendors, provide all the data needed for a quote (e.g., User counts, essential feature requirements, support needs)
- Take a few days to review the initial quote
- Build a counter-proposal
- Don’t be afraid to make an additional ask if you have a reasonable request
- Expect pushback on details such as pricing
- Be comfortable with awkward silence
- Be willing to walk away from the table.
- Be prepared for compromise.