As the pioneers of the SaaS Management space, we’ve been watching as the industry has gained traction over the past five years.
The adoption of SaaS has been slowly building for years, but in the wake of the pandemic we saw a massive acceleration in the adoption of cloud-based and SaaS tools to support remote work. We predicted that 2021 would be the year of SaaS Management—and it’s already proving to be true.
The most recent proof: Gartner acknowledged the space with its Market Guide report for SaaS Management platforms. Zylo is honored to be one of the representative vendors featured in this report.
All of this reinforces one of our beliefs here at Zylo:
- The unmanaged growth of SaaS created uncontrolled costs and increased risk for companies,
- The lack of insight into SaaS spend and usage results in inefficient purchasing, reactive renewal processes and poor forecasts.
- The dynamic nature of SaaS (meaning applications always going in and out of use) makes ongoing manual management extremely difficult.
SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs) reduce the cost and risk of SaaS apps by providing visibility into all cloud-based applications, usage and spend.
We’ve been building for half a decade. Now it’s Gartner’s turn to weigh in, and we welcome them to the space.
Gartner’s Perspective on SaaS Management Platforms
Gartner defines SMPs as stand-alone tools that can discover, manage and secure multiple SaaS applications from a central admin dashboard. All of this is delivered as a turnkey service.
The Gartner report notes that the SMP market has matured around a core set of capabilities to meet the needs of modern IT leaders:
- Discovery: leveraging data from systems like SSOs and expense management platforms to uncover and create a central repository or system of record for all SaaS apps in use.
- Management and Automation: centralizing SaaS application controls to enable automation of key SaaS management workflows to enable optimization of licenses and proactive renewal management.
- Security: creating a central system of record enables organizations to ensure all SaaS applications in their environment are compliant and have been properly vetted for consistent security protocols.
Today, IT controls 42% of SaaS spend, but manages just 25% of SaaS applications, which increases organizational costs and risk. Want to learn more? Check out our full guide to implementing a SaaS management lifecycle.
With an SMP, organizations can leverage the transformational power of SaaS while controlling its costs, ensuring compliance and managing the risks inherent in empowering distributed workforces.
Outcomes of SaaS Managements Platforms
Gartner’s take on where SMPs are most useful closely mirrors our commitment to provide visibility, automation and security to Zylo customers.
Let’s break each of those down.
Visibility and Cost Control
Effective SaaS management starts with discovery to establish a baseline of your application portfolio. You can’t manage, optimize or govern what you don’t know exists.
Zylo’s Discovery methodology and patented matching model are best-in-breed, engineered to confidently discover all SaaS purchases and identify freemium application usage. Our Discovery Engine has analyzed over $300B in total spend and classified over $6B in SaaS specific spend.
The Zylo Discovery Engine utilizes machine-learning analysis to accurately identify SaaS applications from large volumes of financial transaction data. By discovering previously obscured subscription software information, this analysis creates transparency and insights into SaaS application inventory, usage, and spending.
Management and Automation
SMPs should not only help you discover what you have in place, but also provide the tools you need to increase efficiency and automate processes for SaaS Management.
With Zylo, license optimization opportunities are automatically identified and presented within the Zylo SaaS Management Platform to drive rightsizing and savings initiatives.
At Zylo we believe that serving up the data isn’t enough; you have to be able to take action on it. Zylo’s License Optimization Workflows allow you to automatically identify and reclaim inactive and underutilized SaaS licenses.
With these management tools you can reduce the burden SaaS places on IT and maximize your SaaS investments by:
- Rightsizing User Licenses: Automatically downgrade users that aren’t using the full capabilities of their license or deprovision licenses that are going unused.
- Increasing Efficiency: Save time by streamlining license downgrading or deprovisioning into an automated process.
- Improving Employee Experience: Make it easy for employees to give back licenses they no longer need or are no longer using.
Security and Access
Gartner highlighted security as a fundamental piece of SMPs for good reason: decentralized sourcing for SaaS tools means not only higher costs, but also looser security controls.
One reason SaaS applications create uncontrolled costs and increased risks is the lack of framework or process for governing SaaS in larger organizations. Continuous discovery of your SaaS solutions and integrations with identity access management (IAM) tools provide a complete, real-time view of SaaS app usage.
In addition to these integrations, Zylo supports our customers in managing security and access with our App Catalog. The App Catalog provides a process and technology for your IT organization to actively manage SaaS apps, and empowers your employees to easily find and download approved SaaS apps to reduce Shadow IT.
Looking Ahead: The Future of SaaS Management Platforms
The Gartner report neatly summarizes why most organizations will need an SMP in the near future: “As organizations’ SaaS portfolios grow, so does the need for a single orchestration point for visibility and control.”
Currently, less than 20% of organizations centralize visibility and control in an SMP. Gartner predicts that by 2026, that percentage will jump to 50%.
A SaaS Management platform is that single orchestration point, bringing together visibility, automated management and security for IT teams facing new levels of SaaS adoption.
As SaaS adoption continues to grow, SaaS Management platforms like Zylo will be key in fostering remote and hybrid work environments—as well as supporting organizations in their digital transformation efforts. At Zylo, we’re committed to supporting the modern IT professional take control of their SaaS portfolio and equip them with the tools and expertise for effective SaaS Management.