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 been proven 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 named 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.
According to the report, Gartner defines SMPs as “stand-alone tools that can discover, manage and secure multiple SaaS applications from a central admin dashboard, 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: SMPs ingest information from various other infrastructure, such as identity federation services, expense management tools and client-side browser extensions, to create a central repository of data on all SaaS apps in use.
- Management/automation: SMPs centralize SaaS applications’ management controls and role-based control sets in a single, central location. These capabilities include automation of common SaaS management tasks, such as user onboarding and offboarding, entitlement management, migration, and reassignment of application data.
- Security: SMPs provide a central place to harmonize data protection policies, entitlements and access controls for multiple SaaS applications, or to centralize controls and establish a parity of security and control across disparate SaaS applications. The level of control and interactivity will vary depending on the SMP’s integration; tools that have a one-way “read only” relationship with the SaaS tool will be able to identify, but not actively remediate, issues. Tools with bidirectional integration “read/write” for a given SaaS app will be able to actively take steps to remediate issues.
Today, IT controls 27% of SaaS spend, but manages just 23% 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 Management Platforms
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 $21B 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
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 or eliminate 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, according to Gartner, “by 2026, 50% of organizations using multiple SaaS applications will centralize management and usage metrics of these apps using an SMP tool, an increase from less than 20% in 2021.”
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 to take control of their SaaS portfolio and equip them with the tools and expertise for effective SaaS Management.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
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