Today, the average company uses hundreds of software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, creating the need for SaaS operations management (SOM). Chances are your people, from CIOs to IT leaders, already use tools like Slack to collaborate, Zoom for webinars, Salesforce to track sales and contacts. And let’s not forget about Google’s G Suite; it’s maybe the most common of all SaaS apps.

The problem is that after a while without a SOM solution, SaaS use becomes inefficient, and it leads to a rise in SaaS waste. The average company wastes around $200,000 annually on software they’re not even using! Many of these apps end up being unused or underused. In reality, one of these scenarios have probably taken place:

  • You buy an app, but your employees don’t use them.
  • You buy two apps with the same use-cases and functionalities.
  • You buy an overpriced license which you don’t need.

So, to get the most out of your business and cut useless expenses, it’s essential to keep track of your SaaS inventory and optimize it on an ongoing basis. And that’s where SaaS operations management, sometimes referred to as SaaSOps management, comes in.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about SaaS operations or SaaSOps management, including:

  • What is SaaS operations management?
  • Why is SaaS operations management important?
  • Four SaaS operations management use-cases
  • Five common SOM features
  • SaaS operations management

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is SaaS operations management?

SaaS operations management, also known as SaaS management, is an IT operation system that sorts, manages, and secures all your SaaS applications with the intent to minimize spending on unused software and maximize the use of all your SaaS tools.

Usually, when people refer to SOM, they’re talking about SOM software, a centralized system that keeps track of your SaaS usage, spending, and all the other essential information. The centralized system creates a single source of truth, a system of record, that streamlines all associated SaaS operations.

Why is SaaS operations management important?

From enterprise IT to small business IT departments, workloads are ever-growing. This growth spreads IT’s oversight too wide to notice every detail within their purview of managing the digital workplace. As a result, your IT professionals have more than they can handle than to worry about shadow IT.

Shadow IT is when employees have subscribed to and started using SaaS tools—essentially, without permission—generating the use of rogue SaaS apps in your company. Unfortunately, rogue apps add hard-to-track costs to your bottom line while exposing your company to security threats. According to Wandera, Gartner reports that shadow IT makes up 30% to 40% of a large enterprise’s IT spending, while Everest Group estimates it’s more like 50%.

Like DevOps was for building better applications for good customer experience, SaaSOps aims to create a secure, seamless, and productive employee experience. SaaS operations management gets a handle on rogue apps and shadow IT by installing a system that gives you visibility into your SaaS tools and operations. And with a SOM in place, you can control access, costs, and security, all while providing a better user experience for your team.

4 SaaS operations management use-cases

If you’re an organization that uses many SaaS tools, it’s essential to use SOM software to ensure you’re getting the best out of them. A software operations management software can help you with the following use-cases:

1. SaaS operations management

SaaS Operations Management software helps you manage, control, and track all your SaaS tools in one place.

You can:

  • See who’s using what software.
  • Give or revoke access.
  • Ensure that you’re getting the best out of your SaaS tools.
  • Manage your SaaS vendors.

Overall, a good SaaS management tool is a complete system of record of all your SaaS apps, licenses, vendors, users, and compliance data. It should also include the workflows and automations to ensure that every change you want to make happens and is recorded for auditing.

2. SaaS spending optimization

SOM software tools also enable you to track and analyze your spending. This capability will give you a clearer idea of your expenses and help you understand whether you’re getting the best out of your SaaS tools.

You can, for example, find duplicate apps. For instance, maybe you’ve subscribed to two apps with the same features, and you only need one. Or, you can also find apps that you’re paying for but not using.

You can then use this information to optimize your SaaS spending and cut out all apps you don’t need. This increases the value of the money you’re spending and can even improve productivity.

Read more: “SaaS User Management: How to Track Employee SaaS Usage.”

3. Onboarding and offboarding employees

SaaS operations management software helps you automate some parts of employee onboarding and offboarding for a better employee experience. Specifically, it helps SaaSOps professionals get new hires onboard all the SaaS tools they will be using or offboard former employees.

You add an employee on the SaaS management platform, assign them to a department, and the software creates a SaaS onboarding workflow just for them. All the employee has to do is follow the instructions for the onboarding, and they’ll have access to all the SaaS apps they need in no time.

It’s also vital to offboard all former employees and revoke access to all the apps they’re using. Otherwise, you open yourself up to the risks of cyber attacks, data leakage, and other potential liabilities. Without proper SaaS management, you may miss an employee or two that could lead to unintended consequences.

4. Security and compliance

Using a SOM system makes it easier to comply with specific regulations; it unites your IT team and business through IT collaboration. Again, the system of record acts as a single source of truth for everything and everyone.

For example, let’s say you’re conducting a SOC 2 audit. You need to ensure that all SaaS apps you’re using are SOC 2 compliant. Without a SOM system, this would require a ton of research.

With SaaS management, you automatically get the data on your dashboard.

5 common SaaS operations management software features

Now that we’ve covered all the uses-cases, let’s talk about the features needed, what they are used for, and which ones SOM tools come with. The most common and important SaaSOps management software features include:

1. SaaS administration

You can use a SaaS management tool to manage your SaaS tools. With this feature you can:

  • Run workflows for vendor approval, renewal, or termination.
  • See a complete view of all the tools you’re using and how much you’re spending—a SaaS environment assessment, in other words.
  • Find duplicate or unused apps (through monitoring user interactions)
  • Onboard and offboard employees from SaaS tools

2. Role-based access control

As previously mentioned, SOM tools make employee onboarding or offboarding significantly easier. All you have to do is define their role and department, and the software will automatically create a workflow for giving or revoking the relevant SaaS access. You can use role-based access control (RBAC) to permit or withdraw access to other areas of your business, too, such as human resources and finance.

3. Automatic SaaS discovery

The best SOM software should be able to automatically uncover all the SaaS tools you’re using without you having to add them manually. At the same time, it should also automatically pull the pricing and licensing data from the SaaS tool, for easy access. This automation makes SaaS management as a practice significantly easier and cuts down on the time spent trying to manage all of it together.

4. Policy management

The Policy Management feature of SOM software includes creating and managing SaaS policies within the company and their smooth integration into your operations. Such guidelines help your employees (the end-users) properly use and maintain the SaaS tools in their day-to-day work activities.

5. Reporting

The reporting feature helps you track everything that happens within the SOM platform. It gives you a centralized database of information about your software tools, their activity, SaaS adoption and usage, and changes users make throughout their lifecycle.

This way, you and your stakeholders can gain an accurate and clearer insight into how your business uses different SaaS tools and optimize for this usage.

SaaS operations management with Vendr

Looking to get started with SaaS operations management? Save yourself from hiring a SaaSOps engineer to develop one from scratch and use one of the most popular SaaS management tools on the market.

The software comes with all the essential features you’d look for in a SaaS ops tool, from administration to tracking, Vendr has you covered. Despite its feature-rich platform, it’s easy to navigate and allows you to manage all things SaaS.

saas ops

Because they create and maintain a single source of truth for technology and define and execute consistent IT processes, we divide the SaaS platform into two major categories: System of Record and Workflows and Automation.

System of Record

Our SaaS management System of Record features everything you need to discover and track all your SaaS tools; it’s the heart of the platform that enables cross-functional collaboration.

This category includes:

  • SaaS discovery: Discover and track all apps used within your organization.
  • Vendor management: Manage easily all vendors’ renewals, approvals, and compliance all from one place.
  • Usage and spend tracking: Always have up-to-date information on your SaaS spending.
  • Insights and reporting: Manage access, improve productivity, and lower costs with the powerful report system.
  • SaaS codex: Get a list with all SaaS tools, product information, use cases, and compliance status.

And all this happens through one centralized dashboard, which you can see an example of below:

saas operations management

Workflows and automation

It’s not enough to track your SaaS tools; you need something to manage them effectively, too. This challenge is where the workflows and automation features come in. This feature includes everything you need to manage and implement SaaS changes across your entire organization.

Under this category are the features:

  • Vendor workflows: Manage vendor approval, renewal, termination, and other critical information just with a few clicks.
  • Employee workflows: Automate processes, like employee onboarding, offboarding, approvals, and requests. You can also trigger notifications and reminders for tasks assigned to different employees.
  • Organization-wide collaboration: A unified customer experience connects all departments and leaders to collaborate efficiently.
  • IT automation: Save time and money by automating small menial tasks.
  • Employee portal: Employees can manage their tasks and tools and communicate with other team members and managers.

Final thoughts on SaaS operations management

The emergence of SaaS tools has made running a business easier than ever before. However, managing all these tools can be difficult. To make things easier, you can use a SaaS operations management software tool that will help you get the most out of your SaaS stack.

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