SaaS Spend Optimization Guide 2021

optimize spend

If your organization depends on cloud-based SaaS software, chances are you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands. With a growing number of tool subscriptions in different departments, it can be hard to get the full picture of what is being used by whom. As a result, keeping your SaaS spending under control, and making sure you’re only paying for what you use, is a big concern. 

Your goal should be to maximize the amount of use you get out of software while minimizing any excessive spending. Let’s get into it, and see if we can’t pull you from under the yoke of SaaS sprawl.

1. Map Your SaaS Applications

Without knowing the landscape of your SaaS apps, you’re not going to know which are necessary and which can be trimmed to optimize your spending.

Carefully map out every application which is being paid for. Note when they’re being paid, how much, and what kind of plan you’re on with each.

Afterward, you’ll have a good inventory to look over and move further along with optimization. It may be a good idea to spend some time on license management as well once you’ve created the full inventory.

Saas apps

2. Identifying Your Core Services

In any digital organization, you’ll find that some are much more important than others. A graphics design firm is going to get much more out of their Adobe account, for instance, than a finance office.

Optimization starts with identifying the parts of your software that you can’t do without. Think carefully about this, as there are many apps that may make something a touch easier but aren’t really part of your core apps.

These apps will need to be kept no matter what their ROI is or how much they cost.

When you’ve identified them you may want to try shopping around for the more expensive services. In most cases, however, it’s much better to just leave them alone. They’re part of the core of the digital part of the business for a reason.

After that, you need to look over the rest.

 3. Eliminating Redundancy

A lot of apps end up being redundant, and when two do the same thing you shouldn’t be paying for both.

When you come across redundant apps you should spend some time assessing which meets your business or IT needs better. Keep the better program, which usually ends up being the one that is in primary use.

Oftentimes bloat occurs when one program is easier to use for a common process, but rarely gets used for anything else.

It may take some time to go over all of this manually, but it’s one of the best ways to lower your overall bill for SaaS apps.

organization chart

4. Combat SaaS Sprawl By Standardizing Applications

After a certain point in your growth, it’s time to step up and get some standards in place. Depending on the business you’re running, you may be running different tools across the board but that means more bills and more services.

Standardize the apps used for each function within your organization. In larger companies you’ll need to make a policy statement, moving everyone to the apps which are the best fit for your needs.

Sprawl is a serious problem, especially when employees are purchasing software they need at the moment. To further combat increased spending, you should also designate one person to handle choosing out all SaaS apps.

You don’t want to lose track of your inventory, especially since you want to remain optimized rather than just restructuring once.

A couple of well-considered policies can make a huge difference in your final spending.

5. Track Usage to Find Underutilized Software

You should also track the use of apps. Many companies have software that’s either not used or very rarely used bouncing around.

If your subscription to these apps is up soon, you may just want to cancel and eliminate them from your list. If there’s more time you may want to see if there’s a serious use for it, but often times it’s just a program that can go.

You may want to come up with another policy for these(ie: apps that aren’t used for 90 days are canceled).

The other thing to keep an eye out for are apps in which you’re paying for each user. It’s possible you’re paying extra for users who aren’t actively engaged with the current app and it’s possible to trim some fat just by lowering the number of active users you’re paying for.

6. Take a Look at Payment Plans and Service Tiers

The payment type you’re using can change how you want to deal with certain pieces of software.

For instance, if a commonly used program has a feature at a higher tier of payment and you’re using another program to make up the gap… you should move to that tier and eliminate the other program.

The opposite may also happen. If all of your needs can be met on a lower tier of payment, then you can reduce spending by changing it up.

If you have a large enough company to have leverage, you may want to try negotiating prices with the company as well. Oftentimes you’ll find that prices can be negotiable, and it just makes sense to try for a lower bill.

7. Consider Software for SaaS Spending Management

It may sound counterintuitive, but you can also switch to a program for SaaS tracking rather than keeping a proprietary inventory.

SaaS management apps often track user metrics, spending, and handle payments for your purchased services. Think of it as a live inventory and you’re on the right track.

Once again you should search for a company which will best work for you. Not all management apps are equal, but there’s something out there with a perfect fit.

There are quite a few platforms to help with your SaaS spending. With only one monthly invoice, full user provisioning and full visibility into your app suite usage, OneTool is an optimal choice for your SaaS management.

Indeed, it may be best to start with a management program. Smaller companies should work on maintaining a digital inventory from the start. A few years down the line it may be a major affair to handle sprawling software bills, rather than simply doing it right from the start.


 8. Trim Fat, Find Solutions, Lower Spending

The key to SaaS spending optimization is simple: you have to keep track of everything and use proactive policies to standardize your companies software use as soon as possible. For established companies, it begins with taking inventory and trimming the fat, often with the help of another program.

With an inventory in place and the concepts above, you’ll be on your way to a much, much better-looking bill.

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