How IT teams can take an even more strategic role in SaaS management and planning
Sep 14 | 5 mins read
SaaS has democratized access to enterprise IT, which is why it’s no surprise that more than 40% of total IT spending now happens outside the central IT budget. While this shift away from centralized apps and tools potentially jeopardizes the scope and relevance of traditional IT, the right engagement strategy and technology tools can help IT teams take a more strategic, pragmatic role in SaaS management and planning. And that means becoming a trusted and valued partner and SaaS advisor to the management team and lines of business. The proliferation of SaaS apps is a continuation of a now well established trend, which allows different lines of business and individual employees to access the software tools they need, when they need them. But as new apps are added to companies’ portfolios, the benefits for end users are counterbalanced by reduced visibility, oversight, and control for the central IT team. This decentralization of IT control has led to the sinister moniker ‘shadow IT’, but this term - while still widely used - is perhaps not as relevant, or as pertinent as it once was. Perhaps it’s because every IT and business leader now knows that SaaS is here to stay. In fact, SaaS has become so commonplace, and so ingrained in corporate culture, that rooting out unsanctioned apps wouldn’t just be near impossible, it would be counterproductive as well. The inexorable rise of SaaS has also been charted by the analyst community. A Harvey Nash & KPMG report, for example, found that almost two-thirds of organizations (64%) now allow lines of business to procure and use SaaS apps, and one in ten actively encourage employees to look for and procure software tools that help them work smarter. Not surprisingly, the report also found that companies who actively encourage SaaS adoption perform better across a number of KPIs, including customer experience and time to market for new products.
What does the rise of SaaS mean for IT?
Until now, many IT teams have still not fully engaged on the issue of SaaS strategy and management. After all, the torrent of daily responsibilities and tasks that managing centralized IT implies, means that there may not always be time or resources available to make SaaS management and planning a priority.
But increasingly rapid adoption of SaaS apps means that IT is at a critical crossroads. On the one hand, IT teams can continue providing centralized apps and services to the organization and risk becoming, or at least being seen as, a ‘backroom’ function. Alternatively, IT has the opportunity to reinvent itself as a strategic advisor to the business on all things SaaS.
The latter approach can help IT raise its profile and strategic value in the organization. And by engaging with SaaS leaders and users across all lines of business, you can help to optimize SaaS strategy, spending and management – all things your management team will thank you for.
But how can IT take the initiative on SaaS?
One key way IT can elevate its role in the SaaS strategy is by connecting with stakeholders across the business and by helping them streamline SaaS management. After all, managing SaaS apps and supporting users is never easy – especially as this work falls outside the official remit of line-of-business teams.
Added to this, lines of business often lack the skills and tools needed to increase visibility, control, and procurement efficiency across their SaaS estates. This is another key area where IT can provide valuable support and guidance.
In other words, the lines of business need help, and IT is ideally placed to provide it. With the right engagement strategy and technology tools, you can help teams across the business to:
1) Analyze and improve ROI on SaaS investments – based on in-depth understanding of licenses that have been paid for vs. user numbers and, if appropriate, right-sizing licensing agreements accordingly
2) Optimize contract management and renewals – based on a far clearer understanding of current vendor contracts and commitments and ensuring that contracts are renewed on time
3) Improve procurement planning and strategy – especially in terms of selecting new vendors based on app performance, compliance with internal policies, and avoiding overlapping functionality
4) Automate app and user management processes – such as onboarding and offboarding to reduce errors, manual workloads, and costs
5) Enhance data protection – with appropriate measures for managing and securing applications in accordance with the sensitivity of the data they consume and store
How Trelica can help
At Trelica, we can help you engage with SaaS stakeholders across the business in new and easier ways. Specifically, our platform extends beyond the IT department, allowing line of business stakeholders to access a wide range of SaaS management tools and insights that help them make better procurement and licensing decisions. At the same time, all of the tools and capabilities we provide are established within a defined structure and ‘guardrails’ that allow IT to maintain overall visibility and control.
In addition to these benefits, Trelica helps you reduce wasted SaaS spend by identifying and removing underused licenses. You can also use these insights to inform negotiations with vendors, consolidate procurement across multiple teams paying for the same tools, and increase ROI significantly as a result.
Trelica also helps you automate time-consuming processes such as employee onboarding and offboarding with configurable, auditable workflows. This means that both the IT team – and line of business stakeholders – can spend even more time on activities that provide greater value to the business.
Added to all this, Trelica can help you reduce information security risks by increasing visibility of all SaaS apps in use, and by ensuring that users are educated about granting third-party access to sensitive company resources such as Google/One Drive, and even their email inboxes.
Finally, but equally importantly, Trelica gives you tools for polling users and gauging their satisfaction with the SaaS apps they use. This helps IT to make data-driven decisions related to all aspects of SaaS procurement, and to improve end-user satisfaction, and productivity over time.
Find out more
To discover more about Trelica and how we can help your team convert SaaS adoption from a threat to a golden opportunity, here’s a two-minute video.