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IT Leaders: What Keeps You Up at Night?

IT Leaders What Keeps You Up at Night

IT Leaders What Keeps You Up at Night

As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Uri Haramati, the founder and CEO of Torii, outlines some of the factors that keep IT leaders up at night.

While it may be true that as many as 99 percent of IT professionals are happy with their jobs, that doesn’t mean it’s a field devoid of work stress and pressing concerns. The specific reasons may change, but the underlying issues facing IT departments have not—security, costs, efficiency, and staying ahead of the tech curve. (Or, at the very least, remaining up to date).

The truth is, with greater technological power comes greater responsibility—on the part of IT. An excellent example of this applies to the proliferation of cloud-based software, or SaaS. While these tools have become indispensable, especially in our modern workplace, which has become increasingly digital and siloed, the drawbacks are well known. 

For one, the more apps that trickle through your organization, the larger the attack surface for malicious actors. When you consider the average desk employee is using 11 apps (up from six in 2019), it’s no surprise that IT leaders have a lot to stress over regarding SaaS management, spending, user authorizations, security keys, and the like.  

The SaaS proliferation at your organization may not even fully account for shadow IT—the unsanctioned apps that employees purchase or license for free outside of the tech team’s purview. The emergence of shadow IT, or distributed SaaS adoption, across departments is fueled by a younger, tech-savvy workforce that knows what software they need to succeed and how to get it. With that, let’s delve into three SaaS-related issues keeping IT departments up at night. 

62% of IT leaders: Cybersecurity threats pose a danger to long-term success 

Still top of the list, but just barely (we’ll get to that later), IT leaders remain vigilant about security threats across the board. Regarding remote, cloud-based workplaces born out of the pandemic, IT leaders are especially conscious of the increased threat that shadow IT brings and the lack of preparedness to combat its risks.

As noted above, the broader the attack surface, the more susceptible businesses are to cyber threats. This may be why 68 percent of survey respondents said they prefer a centralized IT department to obtain full transparency and control of SaaS management. Gartner reported organizations that fail to centrally manage SaaS lifecycles are five times more susceptible to a cyber incident or data loss. However, it’s important to remember that centralized models can hinder scalability for IT teams that are stretched thin and can’t assess and manage their SaaS ecosystem effectively.  

75% of CIOs: Inability to identify wasted spend is a threat to company success 

Hot on the trail of cybersecurity threats (essentially tied with it) is spending concern: 61 percent of survey respondents cited the inability to identify wasted cloud app spending. More telling, though, is that 75 percent of CIOs recognized this concern, compared to 66 percent of VPs, 53 percent of directors, and just 35 percent of managers.  

The data clearly indicates that the higher you are on the IT food chain, the more worried you are about wasted spend. While that may seem obvious, it’s a stark difference from other IT concerns we surveyed (security, outdated technology), where alignment was much tighter across roles. Notably, CIOs are aware of the blind spots created by shadow IT and have read enough reports about how much it is affecting their company’s bottom line.  

According to Gartner, SaaS apps cost businesses $1,040 annually per employee, compounded by app providers gradually raising prices against a challenging macroeconomic climate (IT departments stand to overspend on SaaS by at least 25 percent through 2027.)  As a result, IT leaders understand the importance of overseeing and streamlining their total SaaS stack, particularly about two key indicators—software redundancy and underutilization.  

73% of CIOs: Lack a strategic framework for app rationalization and license usage 

While distributed SaaS adoption across business units is difficult to corral, the benefits of building self-sufficiency and workplace culture are real. The question then becomes, if employees continue to acquire apps that count toward a company’s SaaS stack, what is the best method to ensure costs, security, and anything else keeping IT folks up at night, are kept in check?  

By acknowledging that shadow IT exists, as well as the financial ramifications that follow, IT leaders are in a position to address these concerns through the utilization of SaaS management tools. The issue is 73 percent of CIOs feel they lack the strategic framework to rationalize their organization’s app usage. Under this umbrella are many oversights, including redundancies (e.g., identifying and reducing apps that have duplicate functionality), unused and underutilized licenses, licenses belonging to former employees, the value of premium vs standard licenses, and so on.  

By utilizing tools such as SaaS management platforms that centralize visibility into all sanctioned and unsanctioned apps—as well as their users, usage, costs, and licenses—under one roof, IT leaders can make informed decisions and, most importantly, act on them expeditiously. Beyond just deleting unused apps and licenses or eliminating redundancies, the data provided by these tools can also help IT leaders better negotiate future license agreements based on real-time data.  

Solutions like these can also solve the scalability issue that plagues centralized IT models. With built-in automation, they can tackle repetitive yet crucial tasks (e.g., onboarding and offboarding employees from apps, identifying shadow IT usage) while allowing IT leaders to maintain a 360-degree view of their app ecosystem while freeing up their time. So, before you lose any more sleep, consider how your team can more easily get a grip on your SaaS management. If 99 percent of IT pros are, in fact, happy at work, let’s do everything we can to keep it that way.

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