Choosing the Right SaaS Management Platform

Mar 12

Since the pandemic relegated most workforces to the Internet in 2020, companies around the world have found it necessary to implement new software for communicating and collaborating with remote workers. 

The most popular solution has been software as a service (SaaS). With a SaaS model in place, businesses benefit from a third-party vendor that hosts, maintains, and delivers relevant applications to employees via the Internet—perfect for remote work. Typically subscription-based, SaaS apps charge users monthly or annually, bypassing the large up-front investment traditional software would otherwise require. Introduced in the early 2000s, SaaS applications have become the gold standard for efficient software delivery.

Challenges with SaaS Applications

Unfortunately, the proliferation of SaaS applications across many enterprises has led to some issues. In Okta’s 2021 Businesses at Work report for instance, it was reported that businesses, on average, deployed 88 apps across all departments, up 22% from four years ago. Some large companies (2,000 employees or more) even reported downloading upwards of 175 apps. 

As SaaS becomes more accessible and widespread, individuals and companies alike are falling into a cycle of downloading redundant software apps and piling all the subscription bills on the company card. But subscriptions add up fast. And oftentimes, different departments within a company end up buying two different SaaS apps that essentially perform the same function. So when it comes time to pay all those extra subscriptions, it can be a real headache for the procurement department to determine which software actually generates real value for the business. 

Furthermore, IT managers within companies also struggle to keep up with the influx of new SaaS applications. On top of tracking which applications are deployed, it’s becoming nearly impossible to ensure their security, along with whether or not they meet compliance regulations.

The Benefit of SaaS Management Tools

Fortunately, in tandem with the booming SaaS industry, tools of a new category have been developed to help businesses manage the sprawl of apps. 

Defined either as SaaS management platforms (SMPs) or SaaS operations management software (SaaSOps), these tools are offered by pure-play vendors, along with traditional software asset management (SAM) vendors, cloud access security brokers, cloud platform management and cloud migration vendors, and IT service management vendors. Most of them were developed out of a need to manage spending. Such optimization tools allow organizations to better manage and proportion the amount of money spent on SaaS across the entire business. 

Now, SaaS management companies are developing tools with benefits beyond the financial realm. Additional features like application security, vendor management, onboarding/offboarding configurations for employees, and even SaaS app recommendation services have allowed the SaaS management market to skyrocket alongside the rise of SaaS apps themselves. In fact, it is predicted that by 2026, 50% of organizations utilizing SaaS apps will have centralized the management and usage of SaaS apps through an SMP tool—for reference, less than 20% used SMP tools in 2021. 

Key indicators that it may be time for you to consider SaaS management software include a surge in subscription expenses, a notification from IT that apps in use are not secure or do not comply with regulations, different departments buying the same software, or the headache that ensues when it’s time to manage it all yourself on a spreadsheet.  

Necessary SaaS Management Features 

At the top of the list for necessary features, there are three essential tasks your SaaS management tool should be able to handle: 

  • Automatically discover SaaS apps within the business’s infrastructure 
  • Manage and automate administrative functions, like onboarding and offboarding
  • Provide a centralized platform for enforcing data and app security policies across the SaaS portfolio

Further down the list, you should look for additional functionality features. These might include:

  • Role-based access controls
  • The capacity to document, transfer, cancel, and upgrade software licenses
  • A central reporting system for compliance audits
  • A catalog of apps approved by administrators that employees can download
  • The capability to provide SaaS app recommendation services to optimize spending and reduce overlap

Best Choices for SaaS Management Software 

Whether you would prefer a standalone SaaS management vendor or a more traditional SAM vendor with SaaS components, the market is full of options. Consider your company’s specific needs. Below are some top choices for SaaS management software, selected through independent research. Use this list as a launching point to consider as you begin your hunt for the right SaaS management system. 

Productiv: This SaaS management platform discovers “ungoverned” apps with machine learning models.

G2 Track: An extension of the G2 software marketplace, this platform helps businesses discover and manage their applications.

BetterCloud: This SaaS management platform offers integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Okta, and more than 60 other SaaS applications. 

Zluri: Utilizes a single intelligent dashboard to help companies adopt and operate SaaS applications.

Trelica: Automates the discovery of SaaS apps with an emphasis to optimize spending, automate IT operations, find shadow IT installations, and engage with users.

Transitioning to a workforce powered through SaaS applications can be challenging. That’s why many companies turn to business partners like KitelyTech, INC. for assistance. Call us at (800) 274 2908 to get help finding the right SaaS management platform to meet your business’s needs.

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