SaaS Subscription Management: 7 Foundational Pillars

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Organizations' increasing dependence on SaaS demands a strategy in place to have better control and visibility on SaaS resources, spending, and usage. 


Budding startups to large enterprises are all benefitting from SaaS adoption. Businesses no longer have to struggle to maintain and update their applications—the cloud does it for them. The growing adoption of remote working culture has soared our utilization for SaaS tools, and with this growing dependency and utilization—arises a need for a solution to effectively manage our SaaS subscriptions.

This article will introduce you to the foundational pillars to base your SaaS subscription management strategy

1. Have full Observability on Your Entire SaaS Stack 

The first and the essential step is to discover, manage and organize your entire SaaS stack so that you will have a clear picture of what you have. This process is time-consuming and may even take weeks or months, depending on the number of employees you have in your organization, to find out all the applications they use.

Also, make a provision to add new SaaS products to your inventory list as, and when a new subscription takes place, and remove those items from your list you are no longer subscribed to, and keep this data updated at all times, this will let you have full control on your SaaS resources.

If you still use spreadsheets to manage this data, then consider using a tool like Zluri that can automate SaaS discovery and management for you, allowing you to have 100% visibility on your startup's SaaS resources in a few minutes. Because of the five discovery methods, Zluri has the largest app library of over 225000 apps in the world. 

2. Offboard the Redundant, Unused, and Ghost Apps

Offboard the Redundant, Unused, and Ghost Apps

Once you have your entire SaaS stack discovered, you may come across several apps that may have overlapping features that you are completely unaware of, apps that you have subscribed to but haven't used at all, and apps that you completely forgot you even have, and the worst part is you are paying for all their subscriptions or licenses every month.

Let's say you purchased 500 licenses of a CRM tool that costs $100 per user per month but only utilized 380 licenses every month, which means you have paid $ 12000 extra every month for the 120 unused licenses. If this remains unmonitored for the entire year and your number of users has not increased, then you would have spent $144000 in a year for those licenses you haven’t even used.

It is understandable that when a startup is new, you get sunk into the idea of having every tool in place to function efficiently, but it often results in purchasing the apps that have so much in common. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but over time as this goes unmonitored- bills get piled up for tools or licenses you practically have no use of and are good without. 

With Zluri, you can eliminate SaaS wastage and have full control of your SaaS spend and usage.

3. License & Access Management 

It is very common for organizations to have licenses of unused tools and features that are unnecessary, as discussed above. However, unknown SaaS licensing poses a significant risk to the enterprise's IT spending, which must be carefully monitored.

License management can be difficult, and this is especially true in large organizations but is necessary. It ensures all the employees have access to the right license plans and increases their productivity.

It is important to revoke the license of employees who are no longer a part of your organization and make sure to remove their access to your apps, data, and files. Then, transfer their licenses to those who join in their place. 

As for the access, employees will require varying levels of access and responsibilities throughout their tenure, which means that they should be provided specific levels of privileged access to tools. 

Similarly, there are individuals who may no longer need admin privileges, so their privilege must be revoked. Super admin privileges should be limited to managers and IT; doing so will also give you an idea about the functions and features you are good without and will also help you reconsider your next license. 

This task may seem achievable for startups, but for large organizations, license management can become a real painstaking task if managed in spreadsheets that ultimately need to be automated, just as any other important task in the startup.

A tool like Zluri can provide you with a single dashboard to manage and automate SaaS license management for you and give you full control of license tracking, spending, and upcoming renewals.

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4. Manage Security and Compliance Risks Associated with SaaS Apps

SaaS users must be aware of the possible cyber threats that lurk around. Phishing attempts, ransomware, malware are just a few examples of the many types of cyber crimes that exist today.

Data can be leaked or sold on the dark web if criminals succeed in surpassing security measures, leading to heavier penalties. 

As per the recent IBM findings, the average cost of a data breach has now reached $4.24 million.

Many organizations can not bear to pay such hefty fines, even those that can still not afford to lose reputation in front of customers, partners, etc. Insurance policies, as well as cyber security laws, are getting stringent each day, which is why staying compliant with privacy and security laws like GDPR, HIPPA, and CCPA is paramount.

Usually, organizations trust that their SaaS vendors have all the security measures in place and are compliant, but that is not always the case. There are times when an employee ends up subscribing to risky tools that have deep access to the company’s sensitive information—making it essential to have a system in place to alert them of the reliability of SaaS apps they already have, apps they will install, and whenever a suspicious activity takes place.

Zluri can help you discover apps that pose security and compliance risks and let you have better control over your SaaS subscription so you stay compliant. Use the filter to surface risky apps as shown in the image below:

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5. Measure Value from SaaS Stack 

A good subscription strategy in place will help you keep a tab on how much you spend and how much you use SaaS at any given point. The data you gather can help plan your budget for the next financial year and also help you reconsider licenses attached to these apps. 

It is important to have your SaaS usage figured out in order to know the value each tool brings to your organization. In addition, doing so will give you complete visibility on apps that are eating away your budget and profit, as it happens when you have unused apps, ghost apps, and apps with overlapping features. 

Sometimes, a free version gets upgraded to a paid version without knowledge and gets charged on your credit card if you do not have any measure in place to monitor renewals and subscriptions.

Downsizing the number of licenses, keeping just the best ones, and ensuring that there are no duplicate, abandoned, and underutilized applications will help you cut unplanned costs, get maximum value from your SaaS inventory and manage your spend.

6. Keep Track of Data Shared Between Different SaaS Apps

SaaS tools easily allow you to integrate and share data among different apps and users outside the organization. For example, you can use a conversion tool to edit confidential documents and have them delivered to your or anyone’s personal email or WhatsApp.

Employees share a lot of data among colleagues and also with people outside organizations all the time, and it goes unmonitored. Sometimes they may also end up using online tools the company has not taken a subscription for, for quick document processing, without even going through their terms of use and policy. If this data is revealed in audits, it can pose a huge risk to data security measures and privacy compliance.

7. Train Your Workforce 

The workforce should be trained on the optimal use of SaaS subscriptions. The training should consist of how to responsibly use these applications without compromising on data security and compliance measures. It should also train users on identifying fraudulent apps, ways to avoid them, and how to recognize phishing attacks. Having this measure in place will help in effectively managing SaaS subscriptions.

With Zluri, you can classify your employees between power users and those who don't use many apps. Then, you can reach out to the later group and check if they are facing issues while using the apps. By providing them training for the apps they need, IT teams become business enablers.

Make Your SaaS Subscription Management a Breeze with Zluri

With SaaS apps in the workspace exploding, a 1000 employee startup today on average uses 185 SaaS apps. IT Teams lose control of SaaS monitoring and management, leading to cost overruns and compliance issues.

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An increase in SaaS adoption has given rise to SaaS sprawling in organizations that cannot be handled with spreadsheets or internal audits.

Zluri provides a comprehensive SaaS discovery and management platform to discover and manage SaaS subscriptions with ease by offering its users total control and visibility on their entire SaaS resource, allowing them to easily monitor the applications used and vendors made. 

Zluri makes it possible for you to have total visibility on your entire tech stack and their usage access, along with vendor data, invoices, renewals, licenses, compliance, and security risks—all effective in managing SaaS subscriptions.

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FEATURED BLOGS

SaaS Management: 3 Key Challenges

A Framework to Eliminate SaaS Wastage

SaaS Vendor Management in 2022: The Definitive Guide

Symptoms of an Unoptimized SaaS Stack (+ Solutions)

SaaS Sprawl - The Ultimate Guide

FEATURED BLOGS

SaaS Management: 3 Key Challenges

With this explosion of SaaS at companies, there arise SaaS challenges caused by apps getting out of your control. These SaaS challenges varies in three dimension: spend management, security and complance risks, and various SaaS operations tasks like automating SaaS procurments, renewals, employees onboarding and offboarding.

A Framework to Eliminate SaaS Wastage

‘Muda’ is used to describe any activity that uses resources but doesn't generate value. It is the Toyota system for identifying and eliminating waste in all forms. It is the same thing that helps Toyota sell more cars than Ford, General Motors, and Honda at a higher margin.

SaaS Vendor Management in 2022: The Definitive Guide

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. 

Symptoms of an Unoptimized SaaS Stack (+ Solutions)

In this post, we've discussed 7 symptoms of an unoptimized SaaS stack and solutions to optimize the same.

SaaS Sprawl - The Ultimate Guide

When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.

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