Are you responsible for looking over an ever growing stack of cloud software used in your organization? SaaS management tools are here to help! They provide features that allow you to track and optimize your employees SaaS usage more efficiently. However, there are many options on the market and choosing the right tool highly depends on the challenges you would like to tackle.
Read on to to learn about:
- Major challenges of managing SaaS apps
- How to pick the right SaaS management tool.
Table of Contents
- Why SaaS management matters
- Major Challenges of managing SaaS apps
- Features of a good SaaS Management Tool
Why SaaS management matters
The significance of SaaS apps is growing exponentially in 2021 with organizations increasingly turning towards remote work as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. An increasing number of SaaS apps means that businesses have to look into solutions to efficiently manage their applications and ensure an efficient and compliant adoption. SaaS management tools assist in doing so but come with a variety of different features. In the end, what solution you choose is a question of your organization’s individual challenges with managing cloud software.
Major Challenges of managing SaaS apps
1. Lack of visibility
In many organizations, the number of SaaS apps that are used without the IT department’s knowledge is rapidly growing. Employees independently choose the tools they would like to work with and without a centralized tracking and approval process this often leads to chaos – better called Shadow IT. Although many businesses are making use of spreadsheets to keep an overview of the SaaS apps, updating and maintaining these is a manual process prone to human error. Instead businesses should implement a central system of records that automatically tracks tool usage and cost across various departments. In the end proper visibility is the basic foundation of all SaaS management.
2. Tool Overlap & unused licenses
Both scenarios are a direct result of a lack of centralized SaaS visbility and different siloed teams making indidvidual purchase decsions. It essentially happens when two or more tools have overlapping features but serve a similar purpose. Think for example of Zoom and GoToMeeting. Both are great videoconferencing tools, but one has a feature that the other one is missing. The organization then find themselves having to use both apps since they will eventually need to rely on both features in different scenarios. A situation that causes unnecessary overspend on SaaS licenses.
3. Security concerns
Threats to cybersecurity are increasingly resulting from SaaS mismanagement. Shadow IT and poor access management workflows increase the vulnerability of an organization’s digital infrastructure. Not having a centralized approach to discover, manage and secure unsanctioned apps bypasses every company’s security standard. This can lead to SaaS acting as a gateway for cybercriminals to access sensitive data. Imagine a situation where a departing employee is not offboarded from their software because these apps were never even known to IT.
4. Inefficient user provisioning and deprovisioning
User provisioning is essentially onboarding and offboarding employees in an organization and assigning them access privileges based on their roles. These privileges need to be accurate as possible to control access to data. A lack of clear systems controlling this access can be problematic for admins. On the one hand manually on- and offboarding employees to their SaaS is usually time-consuming and thus inefficient on the other hand it can easily lead to abovementioned security issues.
Features of a good SaaS Management Tool
The market for SaaS management software is growing, there are more and more providers with seemingly similar offerings. To make sure you pick the right tool, there are some essential features to look out for:
1. A system of record that tracks SaaS usage & spend
The most important aspect of a SaaS management system is the ability to record and store essential data points and metrics regarding your organization’s SaaS. A system of records provides visibility of your SaaS environment by giving you a complete view of all your apps including the following data:
- Application ownership: Is the app owned by an employee or the organization or a certain department?
- Users per app: Which users and departments currently use the app and how often do the log in?
- Monthly spend per app: How much does the app cost per month and user?
- Billing and renewal dates: When is the next billing or contract renewal date?
The onetool dashboard provides a strucutred overview of SaaS tools, spend and usage.
3. SaaS discovery
To provide you with a full picture of your app environment and uncover instances of Shadow IT or tool overlap it is crucial that a SaaS management platform features automated app discovery. By integrating with identity providers like Google Workspace or OAuth the software should automatically search for all apps that employees have logged in to and add them to the dashboard. Like this, unsanctioned apps that were previously unknown to the IT department can be easily spotted and evaluated.
2. Workflow automation
A platform that allows you to automate processes has several benefits to a redundant and manual one. These include elimination of human error and improved efficiency in the workplace. A SaaS management tool should automate redundant manual tasks like user provisioning and deprovisioning. Not having to manually onboard employees to their software results in improved compliance and saves time for more mission critical tasks.
Most SaaS management providers offer a certain degree of automation to optimize workflows in areas like vendor management, user provisioning or compliance audits. IT teams looking to streamline these processes should closely evaluate these features and decide which tool performs best regarding potential time and cost savings.
With onetool you can automate user provisioning workflows by adding users to their tools with a few clicks.
4. High security standards
Certainly, security is a big concern with the migration to the cloud happening at these rapid rates. Good SaaS management software needs to ensure that information being collected by and stored in the platform stays secure so you don’t have to worry about compliance issues.
For most organizations, the go-to solution has been checking for SOC 2 compliance in SaaS management software. SOC 2 is an auditing procedure that ensures a service provider securely manages data, thereby eliminating instances of a privacy breach. It relies on five principles to ensure this trust; privacy, security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality. These five principles are the pillars that companies should be looking for when entrusting a third-party software with its SaaS management.
Choosing the Right SaaS Management Tool
More and more providers are offering SaaS management platforms and it can get overwhelming when the time for choosing comes. However, looking at some guidelines will help you make the right choice.
As we have learned above, the question whether a certain tool is right for you highly depends on your organization’s present challenges with SaaS management. While accurate discovery and tracking of applications and users are essential features for teams looking to tackle Shadow IT, organizations that aim to improve process efficiency should have a closer look at a platforms automation features.
When comparing different providers and their features you will also notice that some solutions are specifically targeted at enterprise customers while others are better suited for mid-market companies or startups. Enterprise solutions are usually stacked with lots of features resulting in rather high subscription fees. Software for smaller companies often focusses on fewer features, but is easier to implement and use.