Employees at your organization are signing up for new SaaS applications almost daily. Those apps are spread throughout the organization with various permission levels and risks. Many companies have been trying to track and manage these SaaS apps in a spreadsheet, which is a losing battle. This is why SaaS Operations Management has been embraced by so many organizations.
SaaS Operations Management allows you to discover, manage, and optimize your applications. You can then improve security and compliance, reduce time spent on manual audits, and minimize your overall costs. SaaS Operations Mangement can be considered a discipline with strategies for implementation and it’s also now provided as a software. Either way, for companies using a large number of SaaS tools, SaaS Operations Management offers a smart and more automated approach to the above, so you can scale business growth and efficiency.
Since SaaS Operations Management has many benefits across your business and software stakeholders, here are the top 5 you should know about:
SaaS Operations Management Benefits
- Central source of truth
- By addressing the operations underlying your current SaaS sprawl (the proliferation of SaaS across the enterprise) you are creating centralized visibility that is more trustworthy.
- Clear ownership
- Having clear visibility makes it easier to establish appropriate stakeholders and application owners, which makes strategy and goal orientation easier.
- Data-driven strategy
- Stop taking guesses or being reactive when a new SaaS application pops up. SaaS Operations Management gives transparent and helpful data to stay ahead of the curve and inform more strategic decisions.
- Enables efficiency
- Many companies are trying to manage SaaS manually – taking hours and days every week on audits that are ultimately obsolete or inaccurate the moment they’re completed. By working toward automation and strong operational processes you save significant time and money in managing SaaS, while also reaping the financial and compliance-related benefits as well.
- Enables employee happiness
- SaaS as a business model embraces the user experience and works to foster your employees’ happiness. By embracing the inevitability of SaaS adoption and working to control those apps in a smart way (rather than just blacklisting them) will dramatically boost employee happiness and efficiency by giving them the right tools to do their best work.
Elements of SaaS Operations Management
When implemented properly, these are the core pillars of SaaS Operations Management. How each element is achieved can vary by the organization and their internal structure and software. Many companies automate this through a SaaS Operations Management platform, but it can be done manually or through homegrown workflows with the right resourcing.
- Visibility across usage, security, spend, and compliance. This includes Shadow IT discovery (discovery of apps in use outside of IT’s purview or approval). The goal is to create a real-time look at everything that is in use, how it’s being used, and by who.
- Create workflows and custom alerting that makes management of all of these applications simpler and more efficient. This might encompass utilization and adoption metrics, user management, renewal management, and more so IT is never surprised by new SaaS apps or requests.
- Optimization is the next logical step, and can adapt based on the needs and goals of your organization. The first step is identifying those goals and setting targeting around them. Some goals may include reducing over provisioned and unused licenses, vendor consolidation, pushing more apps behind SSO (single sign-on) and more.
- The very nature of SaaS is that it’s easy to access and use by the end user. This has inherent security risks when not addressed smartly. Applying an operational approach to SaaS app security can be done by reviewing 3rd party permissions for those apps to sensitive company data, improving efficiency and accuracy of access control audits, reviewing terminated users in the applications compared to your IDP and more. A SaaS Operations Management or SaaS Management platform can be ideal in automating a lot of this review and management rather than going app by app manually.
- Perhaps the most forward-thinking element of SaaS Operations Management is the consideration of how SaaS enables your business. By monitoring team-based usage insights, engagement data, and implementing a SaaS catalog or request management process you are communicating to employees that IT will support them with the tools they need and want, boosting employee productivity and satisfaction.
However you decide to implement some of the strategies above, SaaS Operations Management is an essential discipline for IT and Security teams to scale their businesses and future proof for the future of work. The use of a SaaS Operations Management platform can greatly reduce the time it takes to get your SaaS footprint under centralized control (often just days, rather than months). On top of that, the extent and accuracy of the data is incrementally improved when you can leverage a system like SailPoint SaaS Management to achieve your SaaS Operations Management goals.