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SaaS Management Tools Reduce Software Waste & Provide Unique Value Beyond Initial Discovery

SaaS Management Tools Reduce Software Waste & Provide Unique Value Beyond Initial Discovery

SaaS Management Tools Reduce Software Waste & Provide Unique Value Beyond Initial Discovery

As part of Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Sethu Meenakshisundaram, one of the co-founders of Zluri, explains how SaaS management tools can help companies reduce software waste.

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” For many, the phrase is a calming reminder to focus only on what’s in front of you. For CFOs and CIOs, things that are out of sight can instead drive them out of their mind. That’s because a big part of their job is oversight of budgets and wasteful spending. And among the most vulnerable to waste is a company’s software suite.

According to G2, companies can save as much as $3.3M by eliminating software waste. Amid budget cuts and ongoing economic uncertainty, that’s an attractive prospect, leading many to bring on SaaS management platforms (SMPs) to get a clearer picture of all their applications to see what’s critical and can be jettisoned. SMPs provide a centralized method of discovering, managing, and optimizing SaaS employees’ use. The goal is to reduce risk from unmanaged tools or technologies, improve the value of purchased software, and increase the effectiveness of a company’s technology portfolio. 

But what happens when that discovery is made? Should SaaS management tools get tossed like unused software? 

Three Reasons to Keep Ongoing SaaS Management

1) Access Control & Observability 

VentureBeat reported that 57 percent of IT teams are pressured to reduce their SaaS spend, and the trend will likely escalate. SaaS vendors have noticed, and many are adjusting their pricing and features to be more attractive and sustainable over the long term. They know it’s survival of the fittest, and only the most robust apps will survive. Part of the value-add these vendors promote is how centralizing SaaS observability is critical to acquiring proper SaaS control.

From procurement to onboarding and offboarding, companies need observable data to assess software performance and efficiency. SMPs create this data at every stage, cataloging and analyzing it to derive insights that can influence long-term value. Think of it like sitting at a command module in an aircraft—flying (like managing a company) is a careful balance of weight; too much, and the plane crashes. Having full view and control of all processes ensures CIOs can reduce bulk, streamline operations, and keep the company aloft.

2) Security

Losing money is always a bad look for a CIO, but losing sensitive data or company IP can be devastating. As SaaS proliferates and is used by more employees (many of whom are now short-term or off-site), the risk of a data breach or cybersecurity event grows. The average cost of a data breach in the United States has increased to $9.44 million, signaling a greater need for SMPs that can provide transparency into how (and if) applications are being used. Setting up a regular, consistent monitoring system (from onboarding to offboarding) and end-to-end encryption will ensure that business data isn’t leaking through outdated or compromised software.

Another big security concern is SaaS creep, the accrual of unused software subscriptions, licenses, or memberships that can bleed budgets dry if gone unnoticed. This is a common problem due in part to a lack of visibility into how teams operate and a failure to set permissions/approvals for who can download programs (even those tempting “free” apps). Preventing SaaS creep requires an SMP to manage, reduce, and eliminate any unnecessary subscriptions before their tiny fees add up to a big headache. According to the Flexera 2022 “State of ITAM” report, IT executives estimate that 33 percent of their software spend is wasted on unused SaaS subscriptions.

3) Usage Data

Closely aligned with SaaS creep is usage data, information on how often each employee interacts with each software application. Usage is sometimes a better value measurement than cost, and the “use it or lose it” aphorism can be an effective mantra for CIOs looking to cut expenses. But getting this data requires a proper SMP showing the time spent on a particular SaaS application. Not only will this data justify getting rid of underused software, but it can also inform future buying decisions and leverage contract renewal negotiations with SaaS vendors.

Usage data has become much more critical as more employees work remotely, giving IT leaders a better window into their team’s day-to-day activities. Many SMPs also include new predictive analytics capabilities, a form of data analysis that uses machine learning and statistical modeling to anticipate likely future behavior.

How to Manage SaaS Management

After using an SMP to facilitate the SaaS discovery process, take the time to walk your leadership team through the results, what they mean relative to costs, and why creating an atmosphere of transparency around software purchasing decisions is essential. Once the portfolio adjustments have been made, set up an ongoing inventory of SaaS applications and assign a system of record to track any changes. Developers continue to innovate and offer personalized solutions to business challenges, and by constantly monitoring and maintaining your SaaS inventory, you can be sure there is room (in the budget and the tech stack) for the most effective tools.

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