Today, an average company has around 300 SaaS apps in its portfolio. As you adopt new applications, your SaaS budgeting will get increasingly complex.
Unlike traditional software models, where companies make one-time purchases for perpetual licenses, SaaS operates on a subscription basis. It requires a dynamic approach to accommodate the flexible nature of SaaS.
SaaS budgeting involves forecasting recurring costs, such as subscription fees, while accounting for scalability, user growth (additional licenses), feature additions, and vendor pricing changes.
Manually predicting user adoption, requirements, and allocating budgets is counterproductive. This is where CloudEagle can assist. Its spending and usage insights, price benchmarking data, vendor research module, custom reports, etc, will enable you to predict future costs and allocate budgets accordingly.
This blog post explores the current challenges of SaaS budgeting and how CloudEagle solves these budget planning problems.
Challenges in SaaS budget forecasting
Forecasting for SaaS budgets differ from traditional software budgeting. It requires a holistic understanding of the current portfolio, taking stock of SaaS inventory and utilization, accurate demand prediction, and considering cost fluctuations.
1. Understanding your current state
One of the fundamental challenges in SaaS forecasting is that you might not have a clear understanding of your current SaaS portfolio. This involves not only identifying the existing applications in use but also assessing their usage and impact on your organization.
Unsanctioned apps from shadow IT will also exist in your stack. This won’t be accounted for during budgeting as there is no visibility, making allocating resources harder and more inefficient.
2. Beyond Simple Growth Assumptions
SaaS applications are dynamic, influenced by market trends, user adoption, and evolving business needs.
Relying solely on simplistic growth assumptions will lead to inaccuracies. You should dive deeper and consider various factors like requirements, user needs, etc. for effective SaaS budget forecasting.
3. Accounting for Licenses Bought but Not Provisioned
Organizations often purchase more licenses than they need, assuming a high growth trajectory. However, these licenses might remain unprovisioned, leading to unnecessary expenses.
SaaS budget forecasting must account for such nuances and create an approach that ensures purchased licenses align with actual usage, preventing budget wastage.
4. Harvesting Unused Licenses
A common pitfall in SaaS budgeting is the neglect of unused licenses. You must use an automated system to identify and harvest these unused licenses, reallocating resources efficiently. Failure to do so results in unnecessary expenditures, impacting the overall budget and cost-effectiveness.
5. Building in Inflation Cost
SaaS vendors often alter their pricing models, adjusting subscription costs over time. Forecasting must, therefore, include provisions for these anticipated increases.
Failing to account for inflation can lead to budget shortfalls, causing organizations to scramble for additional funds or compromise on essential services. A proactive approach involves understanding vendor pricing strategies and building buffers for potential cost hikes.
How is SaaS budget forecasting different from normal budgeting?
SaaS budgeting differs from traditional budgeting due to its dynamic characteristics. Here are some key distinctions:
In summary, SaaS budgeting stands out because it is subscription-based, usage-driven, and flexible. You must adopt a more dynamic and responsive approach, staying attuned to changes in usage, vendor policies, and the evolving business landscape, to manage your SaaS budgets effectively.
How CloudEagle can help you with SaaS budget forecasting?
CloudEagle has an extensive integration library. It can integrate with your SSO, financial, and HRIS systems to get a complete view of your SaaS portfolio. It can identify the apps your teams are using, their relevant spending, purchased licenses, usage insights on individual licenses, etc.
As stated above in the challenges, knowing what you have is the first thing for effective SaaS budgeting. Understanding how your departments spend on each application and historic vendor spend data will help you forecast costs and budget more easily. This is where CloudEagle can assist.
CloudEagle helps you check current spend by vendor and department
1. Identifying top-spending vendors
There is no need to sift through multiple reports or contact various departments to determine your budget. With CloudEagle, everything is consolidated on one dashboard.
Historical vendor spend data is readily accessible, allowing you to negotiate effectively with high-spending vendors who may have multiple applications in use.
For each vendor and their applications, you can check granular spend data, contract values, purchased licenses, usage, renewal date, etc.
2. Analyze the different types of licenses
For effective SaaS budget forecasting, you must know the types of licenses existing in your SaaS stack. This will help you decide which licenses should be harvested and retired for better cost savings.
CloudEagle’s direct integrations enable it to integrate with your applications directly and analyze the number of licenses purchased and provisioned to users. Here are the types:
1. Licenses Purchased: Refers to the number of licenses purchased by an individual department for a particular application. Examining the number of licenses purchased provides the baseline for budgeting but is just the first step in the process.
2. Licenses Provisioned: Refers to the licenses provisioned to individual users and made available for use within the organization. Some licenses may remain unprovisioned if extra licenses are acquired for future scalability, leaving a few inactive for the time being.
3. Licenses Used: Refers to the licenses that are being utilized appropriately. Not every provisioned license will be utilized; this is where low usage steps in, resulting in poor ROI.
CloudEagle’s license management module will provide complete visibility into purchased and provisioned licenses, including usage data.
So, you need to consider these non-provisioned and low-usage licenses while forecasting SaaS budgets. It will help you identify cost-saving opportunities and redirect your budget toward the right resources.
Ongoing tracking of budgets
A. Consumption vendors are notorious
Consumption-based vendors, while offering flexibility, can be notorious for hidden costs and unpredictable pricing models. Customers incur unexpected charges due to dynamic usage patterns.
This unpredictability of consumption-based vendors significantly impacts SaaS budgeting, emphasizing the vital need to track budgets against real-time spend. With costs fluctuating based on actual usage, organizations risk exceeding budgetary limits due to unforeseen spikes.
Real-time tracking becomes a financial compass, offering immediate insights into expenditure patterns. This enables proactive adjustments, preventing budget overruns, and ensures optimal resource allocation.
With real-time usage insights and spend data, you can track your consumption and its associated costs using CloudEagle and stay within your budget. If demand increases, you can allocate additional budget saved from right-sizing redundancies and underutilization and ensure comprehensive budget control.
B. Expense attribution to departments
CloudEagle provides full transparency into the SaaS adoption of individual departments. You can observe spending by department, track the number of applications they've purchased, identify duplicate apps, and monitor users, their feature usage, and frequency. As a finance manager, this will help you analyze spend across different cost centers and entities.
This granular data lets you pinpoint underutilized or redundant applications in different departments.
You can eliminate redundancies based on usage and allocate the resources precisely. If marketing has low usage, you can redirect the SaaS budget from marketing to another department where the resource is necessary.
With department-level usage and spend data, you can accurately forecast each department's requirements and plan your budget accordingly. This capability ensures each department operates within its allocated financial parameters, promoting fiscal responsibility.
CloudEagle reports that show me how the budgets are tracked
You need comprehensive spend data for efficient budget planning. The CloudEagle dashboard will show you spend on each application and vendor. For more granular data, you can check out the custom reports.
CloudEagle has 43 types of reports to assist with your budget planning, M&A, quarterly review, and funding diligence.
From Total spend by each user, Spend by each Cost Center, Spend by each vendor department, Average cost of application per user, etc., you can analyze various instances of usage data and spend for comprehensive SaaS budget forecasting.
CloudEagle’s Custom reports are classified into five categories:
1. Users - Includes reports on Active/Inactive users, User-wise spend, Provisioning & De-provisioning history, etc.
2. Applications - Includes reports on Shadow IT applications, Inactive applications that are still billed, Average cost per application, etc,
3. Departments - Includes four types of reports on department-wise spend data.
4. Vendor Spend - You can find 12 different types of spend reports on entities, cost centers, duplicate transactions, purchases from credit cards, etc.
5. Changes in SaaS Stack - Includes 6 types of reports on Paid apps with no usage, new vendor bought, savings recorded, etc.
Custom report example:
These reports will provide complete visibility on how you’re spending on SaaS. You can analyze departmental to individual user-level spend to see where your resources are utilized properly and where they need disruption.
Use our custom reports to streamline your SaaS budget forecasting process and ensure you allocate them to the right resources to generate maximum ROI.
Our customers, Aira and Workspan, have various internal departments like Marketing, Sales, and Product. Each department uses various applications to perform specific tasks.
- Their finance team faced challenges in attributing spend to each department.
- Manually visiting each application to collect data costs valuable time.
- The lack of comprehensive spend visibility made SaaS budgeting and cost optimization challenging.
CloudEagle reports made it easy for the team to find out how much money each department spent. They figured out which departments spent a lot and got details on the apps and vendors they used.
Using our Department spend report, they identified how each department spent on SaaS applications. Our platform provided four types of reports specific to departments:
- List of departments
- Apps used by individual departments
- Spend by each application department
- Spend by each vendor department.
Aira and WorkSpan's finance and procurement teams saved 400 hours using detailed CloudEagle reports. These reports helped them see which departments spent on specific applications, allowing them to reorganize their SaaS budgeting.
Managing SaaS budgets has become easy with the comprehensive capabilities of CloudEagle. In today's fast-paced business environment, where organizations heavily rely on a multitude of SaaS applications, the need for accurate budget projections and real-time expense tracking is paramount.
CloudEagle offers a comprehensive solution, providing CFOs with invaluable insights into their SaaS investments, vendor spend, and departmental usage.
Price benchmarking data from CloudEagle gives CFOs insights into how vendors charge them compared to their peers. Armed with platform insights and benchmarking data, you are set for precision in budget forecasting.
CloudEagle eliminates budgeting uncertainties and ensures efficient and cost-effective software management by empowering organizations to make data-driven decisions.