As your company grows, you regularly add new tools and software applications to your technology stack.
It can quickly become difficult to stay on top of all the tools you’re paying for, knowing who has access to them, and monitoring how much you’re spending on them every month.
The person in charge of managing this ever-growing stack of SaaS apps is usually someone in the IT department. Often, it’s a highly manual process, tracked in a huge speadsheet and requires constant communication with different team members to understand why and how they’re using various tools.
But, there’s a better way to handle your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools.
There’s a growing focus on how companies can handle their SaaS operations management, and today, there are processes, tools, and best practices you can use to keep control of your SaaS operations.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to use SaaS operations management practices to take control of your spending, improve security, and manage your growing list of SaaS tools.
Table of Contents
- What is SaaS Operations Management (SOM)?
- Who Should Handle SaaS Operations Management?
- Benefits of Effective SaaS Operations Management
- Should You Build a SaaS Operations Platform In-House?
- Features to Look For in a SaaS Operations Management Platform
- Using onetool as your SaaS Management Platform
- Wrapping Up
What is SaaS Operations Management (SOM)?
SaaS operations management (SOM), or SaaSOps, is the process a company uses to manage all of their SaaS applications and data.
It involves the whole SaaS product lifecycle, from adopting a new tool, to onboarding team members to the tool, managing licenses, overseeing budgets, and ensuring sensitive company data is only seen by people with the correct privileges.
It’s not a brand new phenomenon — it’s been around since SaaS tools started to emerge. However, as more and more business moves to the cloud, it’s becoming more important than ever to have processes and structure around your SaaS management.
Who Should Handle SaaS Operations Management?
In 95% of cases, the IT department is responsible for managing SaaS operations.
In 3.5% of companies, it’s a process handled by the heads of departments who use software. However, the downside of this process is that it still results in management being spread across departments, which can still lead to blind spots in your SaaS operations.
Benefits of Effective SaaS Operations Management
1. Improved visibility into software spend
Because SaaS tools are so easy to purchase and start using, companies often end up with far too many that have duplicated functionality, or were used for a one-time project and then forgotten about (but you’re still being billed for).
More than a third of decision-makers at mid-market companies worry about overspending on software, and that’s because it’s difficult to have clear visibility into it.
You can never know when your team needs to upgrade plans, decide to add new seats/licenses, or want to add a new SaaS to their toolbox.
Effective SaaS operations management gives you clear insight into how much you’re spending on software, broken down on a tool-by-tool basis.
For example, you can see how much your marketing team is spending on their tools, or track growing IT costs.
With effective SaaS operations management, you can always have a clear understanding of what you’re spending on, how much you’re spending, and if there are ways to manage your costs by removing unused tools.
If you do regular spending audits, a platform that shows you where you are spending will help you easily identify areas for improvement.
2. Manage new hires and offboarding
41.5% — almost half — of companies manually onboard new employees to each individual tool.
It’s a time-consuming process that shouldn’t need to happen. Luckily, effective SaaS operations systems can solve this problem, saving your team hours every time you onboard new employees.
The main options to manage this are to either build an internal tool, or, use a third-party SaaS management platform like onetool.
When new employees join, you can add them to every relevant tool in a few clicks.
When employees leave, you can offboard them in the same streamlined way, ensuring they’re removed from every tool they had access to without having to review who has access to each tool, one by one.
3. Important data and sensitive information is more secure
For any company, good data security practices are essential.
That means you should avoid granting employees access to tools that contain sensitive data that they don’t need access to.
A SaaS operations management platform will let your data security team set up access to individual tools, with the right permissions. This means employees still get access to the tools they need, but your organizational and data security won’t be at risk.
However, it’s vital to remember that having a SOM platform won’t ensure the individual tools you use have effective data security practices. You should vet every vendor you work with to ensure they are processing your data in a secure, compliant manner.
4. Improved organizational efficiency
Effective SaaS operations management will help your entire organization work more efficiently.
By using a SaaS management platform, you’ll see benefits such as:
- Improved team and cross-team collaboration
- Clear, streamlined workflows for software user and identity access management
- Team understanding of which tools can help with which tasks
If you use a platform designed specifically for SaaS operations management, you won’t need to spend months building a complex internal tool to manage this.
Should You Build a SaaS Operations Platform In-House?
It’s always tempting to build your tools in-house.
But, is it the right choice for you?
Option #1: Building a SaaSOps platform in-house
If you want to create an internal tool to manage it, you’ll need a team of engineers to create it. Once it’s ready, you’ll need your team to effectively integrate it with every SaaS tool that your company uses.
Over time, your internal tool will need to be updated and maintained, which will cost your team time and energy.
For most companies, it’s a huge cost (in both time, money, and opportunity cost) and won’t be worth it.
Option #2: Using a third party platform
Rather than building an in-house tool, more and more companies are using third-party SaaS operations platforms. These let you integrate your central platform with every tool you use.
You’ll generally need to spend money on these each month, but some will offer a free plan for smaller teams, or for teams with a small number of tools.
The benefits of working with a third-party tool is that it will be regularly updated and be accessible to your whole team, rather than just your developers or IT department.
Next, we’ll look at some key features that will help you optimize your SaaS operations.
Features to Look For in a SaaS Operations Management Platform
Different SaaS operations tools will have different features. Depending on your company requirements, there may be different things you care about.
However, here are some of the main features to look out for to help companies manage their SaaS tech stack at scale:
1. User provisioning for onboarding and offboarding
As your company grows and your toolset grows, you need a SOM platform with effective user provisioning features.
It’ll allow you to:
- Onboard new employees to the right tools
- Offboard employees from tools with no friction
- Improve security and manage roles
Handling on and offboarding is a key part of effective SaaS operations, as it’ll save your IT team (or head of department) hours of work every time you bring on a new team member.
By having a clear overview of which team members have access to which tools and data, you can improve security, create access rules, and monitor tool usage to see if you’re spending on unused licenses.
To do this effectively, without building expensive internal tools, you can use onetool’s user provisioning features.
You can create pre-built, automated workflows that allow for seamless user access management. For example, you could have a workflow for “Onboarding new member of the marketing team”. Within a few seconds, you can onboard that person onto the tools they need like HubSpot, Google Analytics, Asana, Salesforce, and any other tool you’ve included in the workflow.
2. Effective spend management
70% of companies say they’re going to be using more tools this year compared to last. SaaS spending is on the rise, and if you can’t accurately track, forecast, and manage your spend, it’s easy to rack up huge costs.
A SaaS operations management platform enables you to track your spending.
For example, with onetool you can:
- Monitor all active licenses
- Monitor SaaS app usage
- Identify shadow IT and unused licenses
With the extra insights your IT team can make recommendations into which tools can be cancelled, downgraded, or made more efficient.
It’s a simple but effective way to cut costs and improve your margins without costing your team anything in efficiency or productivity.
For example, if you see that your costs for Slack are increasing too quickly, you can evaluate the plan you’re on, whether everyone using it is an active user, and find ways to optimize your usage.
As well as that, you can see upcoming payment dates, and break down spend on a department-by-department basis.
3. Easily manage compliance
Only around half of organizations have a compliance monitoring process for their external SaaS vendors in place.
In any regulated industry, it’s vital to ensure you’re compliant with every regulation and rule that you need to be.
For example, you may need to ensure SOC 2 compliance, ISO compliance, or GDPR compliance depending on where you’re based (and where your customers are based).
If you can’t prove that to an auditor, you risk being fined or having other penalties imposed.
An effective SaaS management platform enables you to quickly identify tools that aren’t compliant, and if there are ever employees with access to tools that they shouldn’t have. From there, your security team can quickly make changes accordingly.
4. Wide range of integrations with popular tools
Your SaaS management platform will only work if it integrates with the tools you use every day.
Considering the average mid-market company uses between 26 and 75 SaaS tools, it’s important that you can connect all of those.
If not, you’ll still lack visibility into your spending and tool usage because there will always be tools missing.
onetool has 100+ integrations with leading SaaS tools like Box, Asana, GSuite, Microsoft 365, and 100+ more, connected via APIs, automations, and OAuth.
Using onetool as your SaaS Management Platform
As your company grows, SaaS operations management becomes key to growth.
If you’re spending too much on tools your team isn’t using, it will cut into your profit margins and increase your costs (with no benefits).
If you want to get a handle on your SaaS operations, onetool can help.
Our platform is designed for fast-growing companies with an expanding team that want to manage all of the common problems around managing your software stack.
You can easily provision users, onboarding and offboarding them with ease. You’ll have clear analytics around what you’re spending every month and quarter, with insights to help you optimize that.
If you’re ready to tackle the growing problem of SaaS management in your organization, you can test it out for free today, with powerful features available on every plan.
SaaS operations management is a crucial part of organizational effectiveness for any company using a wide variety of SaaS and cloud tools to manage work across different functions.
SOM enables IT departments to gain clarity into:
- How many SaaS subscriptions you’re paying for
- Monitor usage and inactive licenses
- Which employees have access to various tools
You’ll be able to cut out shadow IT costs, improve visibility into the tools you should keep paying for, and optimize your SaaS spending.
If you’re ready to start improving your SaaS operations management, schedule your onetool demo today.