Why Are Organizations Using a SaaS Management Platform?

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Calender
June 21, 2024
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If managing your SaaS stack manually with spreadsheets is challenging, this is time to upgrade to a more sophisticated approach. So, what's the best way to manage your organization's assets while ensuring security, compliance, and governance?

Here’s where SaaS management platforms (SMP) come in. SMPs transform how businesses handle their SaaS applications, including contracts, licenses, and agreements.

At their core, these platforms offer centralized solutions that streamline the entire lifecycle of SaaS applications.

If you haven't adopted a SaaS management platform yet, this article will help you understand why you need one and what makes organizations adopt SMPs to manage their SaaS.

What is a SaaS management platform?

A SaaS management platform is a comprehensive solution that streamlines organizations' management, governance, and optimization of software applications.

These platforms serve as centralized hubs for IT admins to oversee various aspects of their SaaS ecosystem. SMPs provide real-time insights into application usage and users.

With the growing reliance on cloud-based software solutions for operations, efficient management of these applications becomes crucial to ensure security, compliance, cost-effectiveness, and productivity.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the capabilities of a SaaS management platform:

Image showing the capabilities of a SaaS management platform

Why are organizations using SaaS management platforms?

Organizations increasingly turn to SaaS management platforms to efficiently oversee their growing SaaS stack. They are using SMPs:

1. To get complete visibility into their SaaS stack

Having complete visibility into the SaaS stack, you can manage your organization's software tools and resources effectively. This enables your organization to achieve complete application discovery, allowing you to understand which tools are used, how often, and by whom.

For instance, consider a company using various SaaS tools like Google Workspace, Slack, and Asana for different operations. Tracking these tools and their usage becomes challenging without a SaaS management platform.

However, with a SaaS management platform, the organization gains access to a centralized dashboard that provides comprehensive visibility into its SaaS stack.

This dashboard would display detailed information about each software application, including the number of employees using each tool, their level of activity, and any associated costs.

With this visibility, organizations can make better decisions about their SaaS investments. They can spot underused tools for consolidation or replacement, adjust licensing agreements to match actual usage, and ensure employees have the right tools for their roles.

2. Preventing shadow IT and SaaS sprawl

Organizations often face two significant challenges: shadow IT and SaaS sprawl.

Both of these factors lead to increased costs, security risks, and inefficiencies. Preventing them is crucial for IT control, security, and compliance.

SMPs help organizations eradicate Shadow IT and SaaS sprawl by providing centralized visibility, control, and optimization of SaaS applications. These tools offer a comprehensive view of all SaaS applications used across the organization, including those adopted without IT approval.

Within these platforms, various reports containing historical data on applications, vendor spend, departmental insights, etc., are available. One example of such a report is 'Credit Card Purchases,' which helps identify all shadow IT applications acquired without IT approval.

SMPs send alerts whenever unauthorized SaaS apps are detected within the organization. These notifications alert IT, admins, in real-time, enabling them to promptly take appropriate action, such as approving the discovered application or blocking it, to mitigate security risks.

These tools enable organizations to establish and enforce policies governing using SaaS applications. They can define acceptable usage guidelines, data privacy regulations, and security protocols all employees must adhere to when accessing SaaS tools.

3. Optimize costs by rationalizing the stack

Organizations unknowingly overspend on software subscriptions, causing unnecessary costs and budget inefficiencies. Efficiently managing SaaS costs by rationalizing their software stack is crucial to maximizing investments and allocating resources effectively.

SMPs provide accurate usage data, enabling organizations to consolidate overlapping applications. Consider a company that subscribes to multiple cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive for all employees. Without an SMP, it might overlook the redundancy and end up with duplicated services.

Image showing duplicate applications

However, using SMPs, they analyze usage patterns and evaluate the necessity of each subscription. For example, they may discover that most employees primarily use Box, making the other subscriptions redundant.

With this insight, the organization can rationalize its software stack by canceling redundant subscriptions and consolidating productivity tools under a single platform.

4. For effective spend management and budgeting

SaaS management platforms are key for organizations looking to manage their SaaS spending and budget effectively. These platforms provide insights into the costs associated with various SaaS tools and subscriptions to help businesses make informed decisions about their spending.

SMPs track how much each SaaS app is used. When people stop using a tool, they find inactive licenses. Administrators get advice on managing these licenses: reassigning them, downgrading subscriptions, or terminating unused ones. This saves costs and avoids unnecessary renewals.

Image showing usage data for spend management

SMPs provide detailed insights into SaaS usage and spending patterns. These insights help organizations understand which applications are used most frequently, which departments drive the highest costs, and where optimization opportunities exist. This data is crucial for making informed decisions and optimizing budgets.

Real-time budget monitoring features help prevent budget overruns by providing up-to-date information on spending. This ensures organizations can stay within budget constraints and adjust allocations as needed.

With this information, organizations can make data-driven decisions when budgeting for SaaS spend. SMPs enable administrators to set budgetary targets, track actual spending against these targets, and adjust allocations as needed to stay within budget constraints.

5. Streamline the procurement process

SaaS platforms simplify organizations' procurement process. An SMP has various features like procurement workflows, vendor analysis tools, vendor recommendation engines, integration capabilities, and more.

Here's how SMPs assist in streamlining procurement processes:

SaaS intake process: Organizations establish a standardized procedure for requesting new SaaS solutions using SMPs. This entails creating a dedicated form or portal where employees detail their requirements, intended usage, and potential benefits.

SMPs simplify the process of requesting SaaS applications with automated workflows. Stakeholders receive Slack, email, or in-app notifications, encouraging collaboration in dedicated channels.

Tasks escalate automatically if not completed on time, ensuring prompt approvals and allowing more time for negotiations.

Approval workflow: An approval workflow can be implemented to review and authorize SaaS requests. Clear criteria for approval, such as budget constraints, security needs, and alignment with organizational objectives, can be defined. Automated notifications ensure timely review and decision-making.

Image showing CloudEagle's procurement workflows

Vendor evaluation: Organizations benefit from a systematic process for evaluating potential SaaS vendors. This process involves assessing pricing, features, scalability, security, and vendor reputation. A standardized evaluation framework facilitates an objective comparison of different options.

To simplify this process, some SMPs offer a vendor recommendation feature. This allows you to analyze multiple vendors directly on the platform, review their ratings and feedback, and make informed decisions without the need to search the web extensively.

Integration with procurement systems: SaaS procurement workflows can seamlessly integrate with existing procurement systems or platforms.

SMPs enhance the procurement process by seamlessly integrating it with Slack. Through this integration, users can initiate purchase requests directly within Slack, leveraging the functionality of the Slackbot.

Slack Integration for Procurement: Some SMPs allow you to initiate SaaS intake requests directly from Slack. When a purchase request is initiated, the Slackbot automatically alerts relevant stakeholders and creates private channels for collaboration.

Image showing CloudEagle's procurement workflows

This integration streamlines communication and coordination, making it easier for teams to manage procurement tasks efficiently within the familiar Slack environment.

Assisted buying: If you lack a dedicated procurement team or time, consider assisted buying services. In this service, expert negotiators handle vendor negotiations on your behalf, leveraging up-to-date price benchmarks to prevent application overpayment.

6. Easily grant and revoke access from apps

SaaS management platforms streamline the employee onboarding and offboarding process. It enables IT departments to manage user access and save time and effort efficiently.

For instance,

  • Administrators can swiftly provision SaaS access using the platform when a new employee joins. This eliminates the need to manually provide SaaS access to each tool and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Similarly, when employees leave, access can be promptly revoked in one click, reducing the risk of data breaches.
  • Additionally, mid-cycle changes such as promotions or departmental shifts may necessitate access to new SaaS tools. Automation proves very useful in such situations.

Leveraging auto-provisioning and deprovisioning workflows through an efficient SMP tool simplifies the management of user access to software tools.

This automation ensures new employees gain immediate access to necessary tools while departing employees lose access promptly, minimizing security risks.

Image showing CloudEagle's auto-provisioning rules

Automating these processes boosts efficiency, reducing the need for constant IT manager involvement. This frees up their time for more impactful tasks, enhancing productivity. Plus, automation ensures compliance with data privacy regulations and bolsters overall security.

Alice Park from Remediant manually managed user access, jumping between different applications to revoke permissions.

However, CloudEagle.ai, a SaaS management and procurement tool, transformed the process with automated workflows, allowing Alice to concentrate on strategic tasks while ensuring rapid and secure user deprovisioning.

7. Reclaim unused licenses and optimize the stack

Managing software resources efficiently is crucial for organizations, yet one common issue is the wastage of licenses and SaaS subscriptions. This happens when licenses are purchased but not fully utilized or unused.

Utilizing an SMP to reclaim and redistribute these licenses in such situations becomes very useful.

To address this issue, organizations leverage SMPs to implement license harvesting strategies. License harvesting involves reclaiming and redistributing unused or underutilized licenses, maximizing the value of the organization's software investments.

License reclamation workflows save time and resources by automating SaaS app usage management, removing the need for manual data maintenance and analysis.

They deprovision users who aren't effectively using tools, letting you effortlessly reclaim and reassign licenses. Automated reports identify low-usage applications, allowing you to set up auto-deprovisioning rules.

Image showing license usage alert

You can adjust app usage parameters and review data directly from the dashboard. IT teams can save time by establishing workflows to deprovision users without contacting app admins individually.

8. Centralize SaaS contracts and automate renewals

SaaS management platforms simplify contract management by centralizing contract information and automating renewals. They serve as centralized hubs for contract details, making it easy to track renewal dates for multiple subscriptions.

Advanced SMPs utilize AI metadata extraction capabilities to extract essential contract information from SaaS contracts, such as start and end dates, pricing details, usage limits, and service terms.

Gif of CloudEagle's contract management module

Once you get this info, you can use it to set up automatic renewal processes. That means no more manually keeping track of contract renewal dates. Instead, organizations get notifications and alerts right when they need them.

This functionality has enabled companies to handle SaaS contracts effectively. Take the inspiring example of Oyster HR. Before consolidating their contract management with CloudEagle.ai, they depended on spreadsheets.

Transitioning to this solution enabled them to streamline their operations, boost efficiency, and gain deeper insights into their contracts.

Renewal Workflows

SMPs can be used to create renewal workflows. You can leverage the SMP to set up notification alerts 30, 60, or even 90 days before the renewal dates. This proactive approach ensures that deadlines are never missed.

You can also create a dedicated Slack channel for relevant workflows when creating the workflow. The platform persistently sends notifications via Slack and email to stakeholders until someone takes action to renew the contract.

Image showing CloudEagle's renewal module

The workflow remains active until the contract is successfully renewed, ensuring all stakeholders are engaged and collaborating effectively to meet the renewal deadline.

Gain insights into identifying and optimizing Shadow IT with Joshua Peskay, a 3CPO (CIO, CISO, and CPO) at RoundTable Technology. Discover how he utilizes an ROI score for SaaS tools to enhance technology investment strategies, driving business efficiency and ROI.

How to choose a SaaS management platform?

Choosing the right SaaS management platform involves considering several factors to ensure it meets your organization's specific needs and objectives.

First, understand what your organization needs from a SaaS management platform.

Consider how many SaaS applications you use, your budget, security needs, compliance requirements, and any special features you might need. This will help you narrow your options and find the best platform for your needs.

Make sure the SaaS management platform offers features that match your needs. Evaluate the features and functions of different platforms to see if they meet your requirements. This will help you find a platform that effectively supports your organization's goals.

Look for essential capabilities such as:

  • Centralized dashboard for managing all SaaS applications,
  • User provisioning and access controls,
  • Usage analytics and reporting,
  • Cost optimization tools,
  • Security features like authentication and encryption,
  • Integration capabilities with existing systems and tools.

Also, prioritize ease of use and scalability to accommodate your organization's growth. Ensure the tool can easily integrate with your existing systems and prioritize security measures.

Finally, consider the vendor's reputation and pricing structure and use trial versions to make an informed decision.

Read this detailed guide to know more about selecting the right SaaS management platform.

By following this structured evaluation process, you can choose a platform that perfectly aligns with your organization's needs and maximizes the value of your SaaS investments.

Here’s how a SaaS management platform helped RingCentral, an industry leader in AI-powered communication solutions, achieve three times the ROI.

Conclusion

Organizations are opting for SaaS management platforms to address the complexities arising from the widespread adoption of SaaS apps. These SMPs provide a centralized solution to manage, monitor, and optimize the entire lifecycle of SaaS applications, from procurement to usage tracking and cost optimization.

By offering centralized visibility, enhanced security, cost optimization, and flexibility, SaaS management platforms empower businesses to maximize the value of their SaaS investments while effectively managing risks and ensuring regulatory compliance in today's digital landscape.

Adopting SaaS management platforms enables organizations to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and drive innovation in an increasingly interconnected world.

If you're seeking an efficient SMP tool to elevate your SaaS management process, CloudEagle.ai is the perfect solution.

Schedule a free demo today and learn how efficient SaaS management could be with CloudEagle.ai.

Written by
Raja Adhikary
Content Writer
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