10 ways SaaS can do more harm than good for your business in 2021

SaaS adoption has quickly grown from being a decision made in the cubicle of a futurist to becoming a C-suite mandate. But you already knew that. Even though 2020 has put companies on the backfoot, it has also given the impetus to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. And if you have used more applications and tools to collaborate or interact since the lockdown started, you probably knew that too.

Now, let’s get to something that you may not be aware of.

SaaS might be in danger of becoming the new on-premises infrastructure.

It’s when you experience all-too-familiar pain-points. The irony alone can be devastating. They often turn out to be the reasons why you adopted SaaS in the first place. More importantly, they rapidly turn into cloud-powered barriers to growth, innovation, and productivity.

That’s why SaaS adoption isn’t the million-dollar question anymore. In 2021, you need to answer serious questions about how you intend to audit, secure, manage, and optimize your SaaS ecosystem.

The current crisis might have led you to use more software to do business. But it’s pertinent that you take no chances when it comes to matching your expanded adoption with operational efficiency.

Right now, the best way to kick-start this journey to SaaS optimization would be to understand all the major roadblocks that might slow you down next year.

10 ways SaaS can do more harm than good in 2021

1. Selecting the wrong set of applications

Choosing the wrong SaaS stack can jeopardize your long-term software adoption. It is generally caused by focusing on short-term, disparate priorities of multiple functions. That’s one of the primary reasons why SaaS adoption can be a costly, complex, and surprisingly ineffective digital transformation strategy.

2. Deploying without IT frameworks

Without a structured framework for IT leaders, it’s difficult to understand the current performance of the SaaS landscape. It means that you may be unaware of how to identify and overcome the challenges of using multiple applications. For instance, have you adopted a rubrics approach to measuring the impact and performance of all your applications?

3. Being reactive about application security

Leaving key security risks unaddressed doesn’t just create immediate legal and business issues; it also hinders long-term software adoption. Only the switch from reactive to proactive security monitoring can turn your ecosystem into a safe zone for data-rich applications.

4. Aligning pricing to short-term goals

Relying on first impressions of attractive pricing plans is a low-hanging fruit that decays at alarming speeds. If you don’t ensure that your subscription plans are continuously aligned to company-wide usage, you’re turning SaaS into an investment guzzler.

5. Getting caught in vendor lock-ins

Vendor lock-ins cause dreaded dependencies in the world of SaaS. You lose the freedom to switch applications based on unexpected internal demands. Hence, you must avoid the traps in the renewal process.  You can do that by negotiating performance-based dynamic contracting that allows renewal flexibility.

6. Facing compliance threats

The threat of compliance instability at an application level is very real - from unauthorized usage and weak audit trails to archaic information security protocols. But, given the rise of software collaboration – you need to increase your awareness levels of threat data to take a zero-compromise stance on ensuring compliance. For example, do you know what happens to the SaaS application access of a terminated employee?

7. Ignoring low application usage

Low application usage can be caused by multiple factors. Maybe the product is too complex, redundant, or just plain inefficient. In any of these scenarios, the most crucial step is to listen to the voice of the users. They could provide insights on what could be the next step in the application’s journey.

8. Losing control over upgrades/release cycles

Data should be at the front and center of your decision-making process on application upgrades. And in the age of auto-renewals, you may be flying blind over a SaaS-filled landmine. You need rich data insights to assess yearly licensing costs against utilization rates. And you must get user insights to negotiate/ downgrade/upgrade/terminate plans.

9. Lowering the guard on compliance

The growing business landscape has inevitably caused more application-related compliance issues, especially given the variability of requirements in different industries and geographies. Whether on-boarding and off-boarding users across multiple locations, the need of the hour is a real-time compliance tracker to keep up with the SaaS evolution.

10. Creating application redundancies/overloads

SaaS-powered business disruptors can be a company’s best-kept secrets. Unless you actively search for application redundancies or overloads, you may not even realize the gravity of the problems they cause. And you will remain unaware of the new growth opportunities you’re missing out on.

2021: The SaaS odyssey

2020 was the year of transitioning to remote work models at blazing fast speed. As for 2021, it is all set to be the year of sustaining and scaling the digital momentum. With the global workforce under pressure to achieve higher productivity and deliver more value-added outcomes. SaaS is here to stay if you are looking to be agile, lean, and scalable.

In 2021, it will stay on course to be a driving force of digital transformation strategies. After all, future-proofing isn’t a buzzword. Today, you know it as being pandemic-proofed – which is both a digital and a real-world necessity.

But danger lurks if you think that the solution starts and stops with adoption.