The Definitive Zombie App-ocalypse Survival Guide

Cory Wheeler

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The year is 2018. The time is 11:47 am. You would know the exact time because you’ve been watching the clock since your stomach first growled at 10 am. While wrapping up your last project before lunch, Devin from Accounting knocks on your cubicle.

“Did you see my email? Amy from Marketing says she has a ‘Zombie application problem,’” said Devin from Accounting, complete with air quotes. “She wants to refute the expensed auto-renewal.”

As you pull up the email, Devin from Accounting mumbles something about the ever-growing, undocumented SaaS purchases of which he undoubtedly finds you, Director of IT, personally responsible.

“I’ve heard about this application before but I didn’t know Marketing was using it,” you say, scanning again over the large renewal charge that Devin from Accounting conveniently highlighted, bolded, and underlined. “I’ll take it up with Amy, review the contract, and see if there is anything we can do about these charges.”

Devin from Accounting looks down at you disapprovingly as you shrug on your coat.

“This will have to wait,” you say. “I was just headed to lunch.”

“Like it or not, the Zombie apps are coming for you,” Devin chides as he begins to evaporate. “You can’t run: you can’t hide. Take action. Take action to save yourself and this organization from the Zombie App-ocalypse. You, unfortunately, are our last hope.”

You stare into the empty space once occupied by Devin from Accounting: that escalated quickly.

Will you take on the challenge? Or will you change careers: maybe something more fun like bartending … or maybe Marketing? Definitely Customer Success: they have the most fun.

No, in the age of SaaS, escape is futile. Bolster your Zombie App search and destroy strategy (after lunch) with:

Zylo’s Zombie App-ocalypse Survival Guide

RULE ONE: ACCEPT IT

Devin from Accounting is not the only one grumbling over the proliferation of mismanaged SaaS applications. Because LOBs (Lines of Business) are responsible for 50% of enterprise tech spend, undocumented SaaS applications have gotten a little out-of-hand, causing Zombie Applications.

The Zombie App-ocalypse is upon us; we might as well accept it. Today, two types of Zombie applications are most often seen in the enterprise:

Zombie App #1: Forgotten Auto-Renewals
The most popular Zombie application is a result of a forgotten auto-renewal. An application will be bought within a LOB but then forgotten or abandoned. Yet, the auto-renewal lives on. Until someone catches the expense and officially offboards the application, the auto-renewing app wastes money and poses security risks (especially if the app contains sensitive data).

Zombie App #2: Adoption of Banned Applications
Less popular but similarly dangerous, some Zombie apps are caused when an employee adopts an application that had previously been offboarded or banned from the enterprise. These Zombie apps are especially dangerous if the reasons for the initial ban were security issues.

RULE TWO: GEAR UP

Unlike the loud and aggressive Zombies of World War Z or Zombieland, undead SaaS applications are silent but deadly to tech budgets and security. To destroy these quiet killers, you’ll need to uncover all the applications purchased throughout the enterprise: enter Zylo.

First, Zylo will be your method for discovering all applications. Then, Zylo’s actionable insights (from spend value to utilization metrics) will give you a full view into your enterprise’s SaaS use. Finally, with an average of two renewals a day across the enterprise, Zylo’s renewal calendar will be as cherished to you as Twinkies were to Woody Harrelson in Zombieland.

Without Zylo, organizations sometimes attempt to quell the App-ocalypse with one-off initiatives to seek and destroy Zombie apps. However, with limited data, finite resources, and absent ongoing monitoring, Zombie applications have a habit of reappearing, straining the organization.

Zylo’s matching model discovers and classifies applications any time an application is expensed. Policy owners instantaneously receive alerts, containing and ending the proliferation of Zombie applications.

RULE THREE: BUDDY UP

In scary movies, everyone knows that catastrophe occurs as soon as the group scatters. While reality is no scary movie, the rules still apply: buddy up or perish. In the Zylo platform, each application is assigned a buyer. Your buddy in the fight to survive the Zombie App-ocalypse is the buyer of each application.

At least three months before a SaaS renewal approaches, begin conversations with your application buyers. Notify the buyer of the renewal, warn of the current Zombie App-ocalypse, and offer assistance. Through proactive renewal management, you can prevent the birth of Zombie applications at the source: the buyer.

The purpose of tech is to drive value throughout the enterprise, not to grow waste and risk. Consequently, Zombie Apps are terrifying for both the LOB and IT. Healthy collaboration between IT leaders and LOBs is essential to survival.

Survive, Nay Thrive through the Zombie App-ocalypse

When you equip yourself with the right tools, knowledge, and people, you will more than survive the Zombie App-ocalypse: your efforts will give you a competitive advantage.

In the age of SaaS, an enterprise tech stack is hugely influential to the overall success of the business. When you prepare your organization to manage Zombie applications, you prepare the organization to drive innovation and prepare for growth.

To learn how Zylo will help you survive the Zombie App-ocalypse (and beyond), request a demo.

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About the Author

Cory Wheeler

Cory Wheeler is the VP of Services and Customer Success at Zylo, where he helps tech-forward companies understand, manage and optimize their cloud-based infrastructure via the Zylo platform. Prior to Zylo, Cory spent 15 years in Finance and Procurement, managing categories and sourcing teams at Arthur Andersen, BearingPoint and both Takeda and Astellas Pharmaceuticals. Cory then built the Procurement organization at ExactTarget in 2012, and managed the integration of the new Marketing Cloud Procurement organization into Salesforce.com in 2015. He and his family reside in Indianapolis, IN, where they can be found cheering for the Purdue Boilermakers and Chicago Cubs.