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SAM for SaaS: A New Set of Rules


Software management can’t be held to traditional asset management standards. It would be like using the first Apple computer user manual to operate a Macbook Pro. We don’t purchase software the way we used to. And we can’t manage software the way we used to either.

As more and more companies shift to the cloud and departments throughout the business are given freedom to purchase SaaS on their own, the more need there is for a smarter way to monitor SaaS and optimize business applications. Because the idea of SaaS purchasing throughout the business is relatively new, many teams don’t yet have set procedures for how they’re procured or managed. While departments across the organization are fully capable of acquiring new SaaS apps with or without IT or finance’s help, they don’t often have their full focus on monitoring the SaaS, failing to follow through with canceling unused subscriptions of licenses over time—much less have a SaaS governance strategy in place to manage the budget and security aspects of each subscription.

So while it may not seem like a big burden now, there’s a high possibility that the SaaS your employees purchase will catch up to you. To successfully prepare, you need a middle ground that’s firm enough to help you manage it all, but lenient enough not to sacrifice employee innovation and speed.

The 4 Pillars of Successful SAM for SaaS

Software asset management (SAM) for SaaS applications are making it easier for companies to manage and optimize SaaS use without forfeiting freedom and flexibility to the affected business units. To be successful, SAM for SaaS must be broken down into four distinct areas of focus:

Discover Your SaaS Landscape

You can’t optimize your business applications until you have a complete view of what you’re working with. Luckily, it’s easier to monitor SaaS than on-premise solutions because SaaS vendors have the information ready and available to share with you. The trick is bringing it all together in one system of record to get the full picture before your optimize and set new governance in place. At Zylo, we do this by helping you discover all the SaaS applications being purchased via your accounts payable or employee expense data to unlock full visibility into your SaaS spend across the organization.

Manage Under One Roof

One of the problems of ungoverned SaaS is the lack of ownership and management from a centralized source, either within each individual department or across the entire business. Research from Gartner agrees that “the internal ‘owner’ of every SaaS application in use must either ensure that IT is prepared to provide continuous management and support for every anticipated activity and possible contingency, or must ensure that people within their own department are aware of their role, and have the resources to perform it.” As employees’ needs and access to technology evolve, effective SaaS management provides a way to manage subscriptions and optimize license utilization in real time. Zylo gives teams a way to manage SaaS vendors from a single system of record with more accessible data to fuel strategic and proactive renewals.

Measure True Utilization

One of the common misconceptions about SAM for SaaS is that it’s all about cost. In reality, it’s all about value—the value the software brings to your organization and the value your employees place on each application. Companies who effectively manage SaaS don’t just take inventory of the applications being used across the organization. They track the expense of each application, measure real-time utilization, as well as employee sentiment to determine the true value each application is providing. The Zylo platform not only shows you usage statistics across your organization, but also your annual spend, opportunities for cost savings and your top unused apps so you can drive internal adoption and education campaigns.

Optimize for the Highest Value

With all of your SaaS applications accounted for and successfully managed in one system of record, it’s time to deliver value back to the business. The best way to optimize business applications is to not only monitor your SaaS usage, but to proactively develop a strategy for SaaS license optimization based on the data you collect. At Zylo, we help you optimize your SaaS spend and utilization across the entire organization, from the largest to the smallest applications. Plus, we send you alerts when applications have over/underutilization, overlapping spend, and account redundancies to keep you proactive and up-to-date at all times.

Striking the Right SaaS Governance Balance

Anyone can get started monitoring their SaaS usage with a simple spreadsheet of applications, owners, and spend across the business. But for companies with widespread SaaS use, implementing adequate SaaS governance is crucial. The key is striking the right balance. Gartner states that “with too little governance in selection, implementation, or ongoing management, SaaS customers will falter, facing troubles such as higher total cost of ownership, disparate processes, security breaches, and failure to realize the business benefits they planned.”

Zylo arms you with the intelligent information you need to make better SaaS governance decisions. With a single platform to bring all of your SaaS usage under one roof, you can not only monitor your tech footprint, but optimize applications for higher productivity, lower costs, and increased overall value back to the business. Request your customized demo here to learn more.



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.