What is SaaS Management?

The SaaS industry has grown rapidly over the recent years, and is projected to continue similar growth in coming years. As exciting as these new applications are, it presents a new issue that begs the questions: how do we manage all of these applications? And what does it mean to 'manage' SaaS? This article will outline exactly what SaaS management is, and what it can do for you or your organization. 

What is SaaS Management?

SaaS Management is a practice supported by a SaaS Management Platform or SaaS Operations Platform used to proactively manage all of the SaaS applications within an organization’s technology stack. Managing this typically entails the full lifecycle of each of those applications, outlined in more detail below.

Because we are talking about SaaS management, it only makes sense to talk about the platforms that help facilitate SaaS management. So let's cover the basics first. SaaS management platforms are born out of a challenge or pain point that occurs because of SaaS Sprawl. SaaS Sprawl occurs when companies adopt many SaaS applications across the company with a lack of tracking the spend, usage, and compliance associated with each application, thus creating disorganization and excess spending on SaaS.

Who Benefits from SaaS Management? How?

Would you be surprised to know that the information technology (IT) team wouldn't be the only ones to benefit from implementing a SaaS management platform at your organization? Everyone from IT, information security, finance, all the way to procurement can reap the benefits! Platforms like Intello provide an avenue for each of these departments to maximize spend, usage, and security of their applications. 

How do Companies Use SaaS Management Platforms?

As companies grow, it becomes more and more difficult for IT teams to keep up with employees downloading SaaS applications. One of the challenges presented by this SaaS Sprawl is the inability to get accurate and timely data regarding these instances. For example, where does this information live? Most would say in a spreadsheet where information is manually entered. The problem is still not solved. When information is manually entered its reactive, not proactive. With SaaS management platforms, these challenges can be met with solutions that go above and beyond. SaaS management platforms provide visibility into a variety of areas that can result in overall application optimization. 

  • License optimization: Who at the company is actually using the applications being paid for? For example, if the company pays for 100 Zoom Pro licenses, but only 35 employees have used Zoom in the last month you can now see that data and optimize. 
  • Usage data: On a broad scale, you can view each individual application, and who has been active in the application within a particular time frame (i.e. the last month, two months, etc.). This feature can even help procurement teams eliminate unnecessary licenses when it’s time to renew contracts. 
  • Contract Management: By entering data for each application in the management platform, you’re able to be proactive about contract renewals.
  • Centralizing Information: Keeping SaaS application information in one location helps companies remain organized.

SaaS Life Cycle Components

SaaS Life Cycle Components

Source: Intello Overview deck, 2020

SaaS Management Maturity Model

Source: SHI Spring Virtual Summit, 2020, “Understanding SaaS Usage and its Impact on Your Business” Session by Intello

SaaS Management and Digital Transformation

As more and more SaaS applications enter the market, it becomes easier for employees to download free and paid applications. In order to keep track of these expenses and additions, it becomes necessary to adopt a SaaS management platform. With an alert system in place, nothing comes as a surprise, and that is just one of the many perks of SaaS management platforms.

Average SaaS Usage and Spend by Company Size

Source: Intello, Inc. 2020 “The Ultimate Reference Guide to Selecting the Right SaaS Management Platform

Where do You Fit Into the SaaS Management Platform Equation?

When it comes to SaaS management within an organization, there are certain departments that play key roles in the success of this management practice. Below are some examples of important departments and how they play a role in SaaS management at an organization:

  • IT: The most obvious and usually most involved department is IT. This department can recognize the need for SaaS management, spearhead its implementation, and carry out the adoption of the platform across the organization.
  • Finance: The finance department is usually primarily involved with the SaaS management process by way of watching spend trends. Within a SaaS management platform, it’s easy to identify where money is being wasted on applications with simple charts. It’s also easy to pinpoint exactly how to reduce spend. 
  • Procurement: With a SaaS management platform, procurement departments are able to proactively look at contracts up for renewal with ample time before the renewal date. SaaS management platforms are able to send alerts and provide the right information to help guide renewal decisions. 
  • Infosec: Ever wondered which employees are active in certain applications? Or which permissions they have given to other applications? Infosec can take advantage of this type of platform to see who has access to certain applications, who is active, or maybe to see if a terminated employee still has access to applications at the organization. This, along with other compliance features, will help infosec departments make moves to help eliminate any unwanted security issues. 

Does SaaS management sound like something your organization needs? Or do you still have questions? Don't hesitate to book a demo with us, you could be saving on your SaaS!


Brett Visser
Brett Visser
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