Moz Unlocks Visibility, Improved Vendor Negotiations with SaaS Management

Industry: Software
Headquarters: Seattle
Employees: 180

Goals for SaaS Management

  • Cost savings
  • Vendor management
  • Increased organizational efficiency
  • Visibility into M&A activities


  • Identified duplicate and redundant applications
  • Savings to potentially support new headcount growth (1 FTE)
  • Evaluated SaaS supplier spend to more effectively negotiate discounted pricing
  • Faster turnaround for technology integration with acquired teams.

Before Moz launched in 2007, search engine optimization (SEO) was a new and mysterious process for many companies. But with Moz’s pioneering platforms and industry leadership, companies across the country embraced the benefits of SEO and positively transformed their online marketing practices.

In 2018, Rob Horstmann, vendor and contracts manager, says the growth of SaaS applications presented the business with an organizational challenge: How could Moz prevent unnecessary spending and risk while providing employees with effective digital tools to continue to innovate?

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Horstmann says that a balanced approach to this challenge was critical. On the one hand, as a company, Moz values innovation and agility. On the other hand, controlling the costs and risks stemming from SaaS application acquisition was equally important. “Usually, if you give everyone the keys to acquire whatever tools they want, you get sprawl,” Horstmann says. “What we needed was a system to track SaaS purchases and expenses across the board.”

Seeing the Full SaaS Picture

To establish a baseline understanding of its SaaS inventory – and how to make it more cost-effective, Moz and Horstmann  set their sights on these goals:

  • Identifying duplicate and redundant applications
  • Opportunities for cost savings
  • Accurately tracking expenses
  • Improving management of SaaS vendors and contracts

As part of their search for a solution, Horstmann and his stakeholders researched a range of SaaS management solutions and ultimately chose Zylo as their provider.

“After going through all of them soup to nuts with the same problem statement, Zylo stood out,” Horstmann says. “Zylo had more experience, more staff, and felt more like a more mature enterprise tool.”

Improved Inventory Visibility for SaaS management

Using its patent-pending Discovery Engine, Zylo worked with Horstmann and his team to create an accurate inventory of Moz’s cloud-based spending and all SaaS applications. The engine, which uses progressively more precise machine learning to identify SaaS applications via financial transactions, has processed more than $200 billion in spend data total to date.

Zylo and Horstmann identified more than 170 SaaS applications within use at Moz.

Zylo and Horstmann identified more than 170 SaaS applications within use at Moz. Zylo data shows that companies of five hundred employees or fewer can typically expect to find about 200 SaaS applications in use in their environment. Getting an accurate picture of both spending and inventory provided Horstmann and the Moz team a starting point to begin optimizing SaaS spend and management.

Horstmann immediately identified nine unique SaaS applications that had been purchased by more than one team. Standardizing these applications under a single organization-wide contract created an immediate cost-saving win for Moz.

“The savings I’ve found through Zylo’s help has saved us enough to potentially add a full-time position to our headcount. The math just makes a lot of sense.”

Since kicking off his SaaS management strategy with Zylo and tackling issues like redundancies, Horstmann estimates the return on investment created by increased visibility and savings opportunity identification have unearthed enough savings to unlock new resources for the business, including staffing.

“The savings I’ve found through Zylo’s help has saved us enough to potentially add a full-time position to our headcount,” Horstmann says. “The math just makes a lot of sense.”

New Insights for SaaS Vendor & Contract Negotiations

With insights into specific tools and suppliers — as well as user activity data — Moz has also optimized SaaS vendor and contract negotiations.

The ability to manage his SaaS applications from a single system of record created leverage for Horstmann and his team during contract negotiations and strategic decisions.

“Zylo gave me more data points,” Horstmann says. “I have way more empirical data at my fingertips than I did before.”

For example, Moz leans on Google Suite tools for office applications. But, Moz also uses other Google- B2B applications and services, as well. But, as a supplier, Google does not centralize purchaser account information to the sales teams for its various tools and applications. For example, an investment in Google Suite usually bears little influence on investments in Google digital advertising products.

With Zylo, however, Horstmann analyzed all of Moz’s spending on the entire range of Google applications and services, and in total found a significant amount of spending. This holistic viewpoint gave Moz leverage to advocate for improved pricing on individual Google product purchases, thereby reducing overall costs.

“With Zylo, I can pull up Google as a single supplier and see every application purchased,” Hortsamnn says. “In the grand scheme, we’re not spending tens of thousands of dollars a year with them, we’re spending millions.”

Merging and Acquiring New Teams and Technology Stacks

Beyond cost savings, Horstmann says SaaS management with Zylo has also enabled  Moz to integrate mergers and acquisitions quickly. When Moz acquired another tech company, Horstmann faced the well-known problem of integrating two varied technology stacks.

“Save money, control expenses, rightsize contracts – I’m really happy with the tool.” 

But with Zylo’s Discovery Engine, Horstmann was able to identify and categorize applications by downloading data from the new team’s ERP, providing a full and accurate accounting of every tool the new team used. He was then able to prioritize which tools to be merged, decommissioned, or left as-is, creating greater effectiveness between the merged organizations.

Overall, Horstmann says he appreciates the exceptional data transparency and analysis that Zylo empowers. “Save money, control expenses, rightsize contracts – I’m really happy with the tool,” Horstmann says. “It’s a fabulous application and a fabulous company with amazing support.”

To understand how deploying SaaS management can positively impact your organization, schedule a demo of Zylo today.

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