M&A Readiness: 6 Step SaaS Integration Roadmap

In the age of SaaS, mergers and acquisitions present unique challenges compared to years past. With large tech companies purchasing over a thousand SaaS applications throughout the enterprise, massive tech discovery and integration operations are in order.

Modern SaaS management opens the door for cost containment opportunities, risk mitigation, and increased efficiencies for years to come. Consequently, in the case of mergers and acquisitions, taking control of the technology landscape is a game changer: the creation of a SaaS Integration Roadmap is necessary.

Build a SaaS Integration Roadmap in 6 Steps

(1) Align the M&A Team with Business Leaders.

When acquired by (or merging with) a tech giant, what the M&A team says goes. However, as over 50% of an enterprise’s technology spend lives outside of IT. To ensure an effective merger of tech stacks, M&A teams must align with business units to devise an integration roadmap.

To uncover key digital change agents within the enterprise, identify heavy SaaS investors within the business units: business leaders who are frequent buyers will be integral in driving tech innovation across the enterprise. Throughout the integration process, hold regular stakeholder meetings to align business and IT strategies.

(2) Discover all SaaS Applications Bought Throughout the Enterprise.

The average enterprise underestimates the number of applications purchased throughout the enterprise by up to 3x. In the case of M&As, this high volume of shadow IT presents challenges, especially in the case of security.

Either a manual SaaS audit or the implementation of a SaaS management platform is necessary. To manually capture all SaaS purchased, expense reports are the first place to start. Secondly, consult heavy SaaS investors and digital change agents within the LOBs to uncover SaaS applications that may not have been categorized correctly when expensed.

Once applications are discovered, uncover the respective contracts. Assign costs, functions, and buyers to all applications. Begin documenting a SaaS single-source-of-truth that will be integral when building a SaaS Integration Roadmap.

(3) Record Use Case for Each Application.

To enter into informed integrations, collaborate with business leaders to capture a use case for each application. Whether combining enterprise contracts or consolidating applications of overlapping function, the actual business us of the applications in question.

On average, applications are underutilized to the tune of 40%. Rampant underutilization of applications cost businesses money, time, and employee satisfaction. With each application use case (especially high-use applications) include the reasons for underutilization or successful utilization.

Included in the use case of each application should be the application’s potential for system-wide integration. As IT leaders look to innovate throughout the enterprise tech stack, consider not only how the application stands on its own but how it operated as part of the whole. Today, an application’s potential for integration is highly valued.

(4) Mitigate Security Implications of Each Application.

Unknown SaaS applications pose a risk to the enterprise. Therefore, the first step to mitigating risk is an enterprise-wide discovery of all applications (in other words, back to step one).

Secondly, the use case of each application will inform what data is housed in the application. Focus risk mitigation efforts on applications that contain customer, financial, and business data. While software housing sensitive data holds inherent risk, not every application was created equal: rank and document the breach probability of each application to use in the decision making process.

(5) Address Consolidation Opportunities.

Major cost containment opportunities exist when synergies and consolidation opportunities exist across the enterprises. Crucial to this step is determining how the organization measures and defines value. As business units continue to purchase technology, IT and business leaders must align on tech-specific KPIs.

Attack the obvious first: sunset duplicative contracts. Then, considering the data pulled in previous steps, rank applications with overlapping functionality by cost, stakeholder/user sentiment, use case, integration potential, security, etc.

(6) Build the SaaS Integration Roadmap, One Application at a Time.

Armed with the nature, value, and contract of each application bought throughout the enterprises, create an integration plan for each application. Plan for the renegotiation of the highly-ranked apps, while providing a timeline to sunset lesser apps of overlapping function. Build implementation plans of widely-introduced software. Additionally, isolate KPIs and set goals.

In the age of SaaS, technology stacks are forever growing and evolving. While the SaaS Integration Roadmap will be invaluable when driving M&A initiatives, the resulting system-of-record will remain relevant long after the initial integration is complete. To drive security and innovation, IT leaders must embrace continual discovery and monitoring.

SaaS Integration Roadmap: the Key to Leadership Visibility

The lack of leadership visibility of enterprise-wide SaaS investments presents problems for innovative IT leaders. As the balance between innovation and “keeping the lights on” becomes ever more complex for IT leaders, alignment throughout the enterprise has never been more important.

Through careful reporting and planning, the SaaS Integration Roadmap creates alignment between IT, LOBs, and leadership throughout the M&A process. Through the roadmap, IT can meet the goals of innovation, cost containment, cross-department collaboration, and employee experience as a unified organization with a cohesive tech stack.

To learn how Zylo, the leading SaaS Management Platform, can help you build and execute your SaaS Integration Roadmap, request a demo.