17th January, 2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
While SaaS tools keep teams productive and connected, an unoptimized SaaS stack quickly becomes unmanageable. Thus, monitoring a few metrics is essential to keep track of what's going wrong in your business.
Most organizations—from tech start-ups to major enterprises—now primarily use cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to operate more efficiently, enhance collaboration, and work smarter. However, with a plethora of benefits comes along a few challenges.
It can be tracking renewal dates, managing application usage, tracking users, etc. To avoid letting this happen, there are specific SaaS reporting metrics that you must continually monitor. But which metrics should you rely on?
This blog answers your query by listing some of the critical SaaS reporting metrics that will give you the red flags and help you work on the problematic area.
SaaS management is all about organizing and optimizing your SaaS stack to get the maximum value out of your SaaS apps. Once organized, reduce the costs by analyzing factors such as SaaS wastage, duplication, underutilized licenses, etc.
Also, SaaS businesses are subscription based, unlike those that rely solely on immediate, one-and-done sales for revenue. Thus, it's a never-ending process, and you must monitor and optimize your SaaS regularly. But monitoring these manually is nearly an impossible task.
To make it easier, below we have listed some critical SaaS reporting metrics that you must take into consideration while evaluating your business growth:
Total number of applications
Total SaaS Spend
Upcoming SaaS Renewals
SaaS stack security score
Many organizations sign up for several applications to streamline their everyday tasks, leading to an app overload. Also, with the ability to procure SaaS applications, employees sign-up for multiple applications to explore and choose the one that would fit their needs the best. In this process, they forget to cancel the unwanted applications leading to SaaS wastage and exceeding SaaS spending.
This also leads to SaaS duplication; thus, overflowing SaaS stack or the number of apps used should be the first metric to keep track of. If not, you'll continue to pay for unused or underutilized applications.
Is there a platform that can help you keep a tab on the number of applications used in your organization?
Yes. Zluri is a SaaS management tool that provides data on the total number of apps (managed, unmanaged, and restricted).
All such applications that the IT admin manages are termed as Managed applications.
Those applications that employees purchase without any consent from the IT admin are called unmanaged apps.
The applications which aren't allowed to be used in an organization are called restricted applications.
How does Zluri help?
a. It gives data on duplicate applications or those with similar functionality
Do your employees really need five project management tools? Probably not. But the chances of having five of them are high. Consolidating duplicative applications saves money and enhances collaboration and innovation across teams.
Here are a few examples of SaaS duplication:
Ahref and HubSpot (add purpose)
Microsoft Teams and Slack (both are used for communication and collaboration)
SharePoint and Dropbox (both are used for storage)
Asana and Trello (both are project management tools)
When evaluating which applications to keep, dive into utilization metrics and pay close attention to your team. They would have some go-to tools, and you want to empower your employees by providing the tools that make them most productive by reducing SaaS spending.
b. Terminates Abandoned Apps
The count of abandoned licenses increases when you lack a process for procuring apps and offboarding employees. As a result, they need to inform IT to terminate the apps they signed up for. And thus, you end up paying for abandoned subscriptions and potential data breaches.
SaaS tools usually charge around $3 to $99 per user per month. However, the cost may seem minimal for a single user. But for large organizations, these costs contribute to significant wastage.
For instances like these, a SaaS management platform like Zluri comes in handy. It tracks software usage and helps you determine if your employees are using a particular app and whether you need to cancel the subscription to unused software.
c. How does Zluri function for offboarding employees?
While onboarding employees, you can get the app owners for all of them. And, when any employee leaves, you can remove access from all such applications, even where IT is not the owner.
Have you ever bothered to go through the total SaaS spend or how much you're paying for each application your employees use?
Are you paying more or less? Or are your expenses in line with the allocated budget? Do you have the required plan for the application you're using, or does it need a downgrade or an upgrade?
To get answers to all such questions, you need to keep track of another metric, i.e., SaaS spending. Well, Zluri can be of help in evaluating such data. It gives you a detailed insight into app-wise spending, app-wise usage, the total number of users vs. applications, department-wise allocated vs. used budget, etc.
How can you use this metric to optimize your SaaS spend?
Here're some measures you can take to cut down your overall SaaS expenditure:
a. Optimizing unused licenses.
When incorrectly carried out, license management leads to SaaS waste and increased expenditure. It mainly happens for two reasons:
All licenses are not used:
Let's say you're an employee of a big firm. You would be aware that it's very common for them to buy licenses of apps such as SalesForce, Office 365, and ServiceNow in bulk. Well, this unquestionably saves a good amount of money at that moment.
But is that true in the long run? Certainly not. While assigning them to teams, departments, or business units, many of these licenses are left unused, thus creating a vast SaaS waste.
Let's assume that a company has a requirement of 1000 Office 365 licenses but, considering the forecast demand got 1500 licenses. It might look like a smart move at first. But think of the money that would have been wasted on those 500 unused licenses. An Office 365 business premium license costs $20/month, which translates to wasting over $1,20,000 yearly.
Did the figures shock you?
When you renew your contract, ensure you are right-sized and only pay for what you need.
Downgrade Licenses to Suitable Plans
SaaS companies offer features depending on your chosen plan. In such situations, people tend to overestimate their needs and buy top-tier plans.
With time, they realized they only needed a few features, and a low-tier plan could have sufficed.
For example, you got the Business plan of Hootsuite ($599/month) that provides 35 social accounts with five users. However, after some time, you realized that you only required 15 social accounts with three users, for which the Team plan ($129/month) would have worked.
You can downgrade to the Team plan, saving $470/ month for your organization. Thus, you must closely monitor your purchased top-tier SaaS tools to optimize your SaaS spending.
Who still needs to get an expected charge on their credit card for the renewal of some SaaS application? Well, SaaS renewals are something that has caught us all by surprise at some point or the other.
With employees having the upper hand in signing up for any application, it becomes quite a task to keep an account of SaaS spending. You need to find out when free trials become paid subscriptions. With so many apps, it's no big deal to forget about an upcoming renewal. You'll know of the presence of such apps only after the auto-debit has taken place.
For example, IT purchased Figma for a specific client requirement, and they completed the project in 9 months and then stopped using it without informing the IT department. This leads to auto-renewal every month for an unused application.
However, this will be a slight loss for a start-up, but the same will be different for a large enterprise as it becomes difficult to keep count of applications that cost millions of dollars. If the spending is accounted for, soon it will lead to a disaster in your future financial goals.
What can you do to avoid this chaos?
For that, you must keep a check on the renewal metric regularly. Having an efficient SaaS Management Tool like Zluri can help you do so. You must be thinking, how?
Zluri's renewal calendar helps you track all the upcoming contract renewals and alerts you way before the renewal date.
For contracts, you get alerts 30 days, 15 days, and 1 day in advance. For payment, you get alerts 7 days and 1 day in advance. If required, you can set custom alerts as well. It helps you prioritize high-value contracts and optimize your SaaS spending.
Using this dashboard, you can plan several months prior to which contracts to renew and which to discard.
The risks associated with your SaaS apps are inside and outside your organization. Let's see how:
Shadow IT in your organization: If you don't have an updated inventory of all the SaaS apps used in your organization, it can lead to many security issues. The IT team failing to vet unrecognized SaaS apps makes your organization vulnerable to hackers. Slight vulnerability in any of these apps provides these hackers an entry point to your entire company's data. And that's something to worry about!
Ex-employees may access data: Suppose an ex-employee was given access to 30 apps. But you only discovered 20 of them and revoked the access. What about the remaining 10? Failing at de-provisioning creates a risk of a data breach in the organization and could become a severe security & compliance issue.
The traditional ways to secure data aren't sufficient to prevent a data breach. That's why an SMP is required. Zluri provides individual apps' threat level, risk level, and risk score. Based on that, you can figure out the problematic area and work on it accordingly.
It is based on the data shared between the application & SSO.
A score between 0 to 100 considers the threat level, security probes, compliances & security incidents that have occurred recently.
(Level 0 to Level 5) It is inversely proportional to the risk score.
Following the above metrics, you will surely be able to optimize your SaaS. Once optimized, always track the results that your SMP shows. However, the results would vary depending on the organization, regardless of the metrics you follow.
To understand and measure the effectiveness of your SaaS Management Program, i.e., Zluri, ask these questions to yourself:
Is it helping you in cost reduction? Were you able to save by right-sizing licenses and tracking the renewal metrics?
Did you see a decrease in the number of licenses reclaimed?
How many apps were you able to get back under IT control?
And most important, was there a reduction in the number of SaaS applications?
If the answer to all these is YES, your SMP is working great for you, as it shows the red flags where your organization is lacking.
If you want full visibility in your SaaS, book a demo with us, and we will help you monitor and manage your SaaS much better.
In this post, we've discussed 7 symptoms of an unoptimized SaaS stack and solutions to optimize the same.
In this post, you'll learn about shadow IT due to SaaS apps. You'll also learn the most common types of shadow apps categories, shadow IT risks, and shadow IT benefits.
An obese SaaS stack leads to SaaS wastage. It's a disease! It not only causes financial issues but also gives you security and compliance problems. That's why you must keep tight control on your SaaS stack. And it begins with managing your SaaS vendors.
When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.
SaaS operations consist of procuring the right set of SaaS apps, managing access to these apps by users/departments, monitoring their usage, and offboarding them properly when they are no longer needed.
Are you doing enough to manage compliance risk and protect sensitive customer data? Do you inventory the SaaS apps used by your team? Here’s how to win big by optimizing both.
Zluri recently hit a ground-breaking record of analyzing 200M SaaS usage transactions. The process taught us a lot of valuable lessons that helped us make Zluri better every day.
Zluri has the largest direct integration number, over 750 applications, and keeps growing every month.