Software Asset Management vs SaaS Management Platform - Key Differences

Rohit Rao

26th February, 2024


As a forward-thinking CIO, it is imperative for you to establish a solid SaaS management strategy. By doing so, you can ensure that you maximize the value of your SaaS investments while effectively managing costs and maintaining compliance. There are two viable options to consider: SAM and SMP. 

Find out which one is the way to go for effective SaaS management.

With so many SaaS applications being used across your organization, it's crucial to have a solid SaaS management strategy in place to ensure that all software is being used effectively, costs are being optimized, and compliance is being met.

Well, it turns out that there are two main ways - software asset management (SAM) and SaaS management platforms (SMP). 

Ineffective SaaS management can leave your organization open to a number of risks, including limited app discovery, SaaS wastage, increase in SaaS spend, increased compliance risks, slow workflows, poor app adoption, and expensive renewals. However, with the right SaaS management strategy, you can mitigate these risks and effectively manage your organization’s SaaS stack.

Now, the question is, which approach should you take for SaaS management - SAM or SMP?

SAM tools were traditionally used to manage on-premise software applications, but with the rise of SaaS, they are becoming less effective. On the other hand, SMPs were built specifically to manage SaaS applications and can help you optimize the SaaS costs and reduce risks.

SAM typically involves a set of processes and procedures for managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization. On the other hand, SMP is a newer approach that provides a unified platform for managing all software, including SaaS applications.

When it comes to SaaS Management, SMP is undoubtedly the better option. SAM is not designed to manage SaaS applications effectively. SMP, on the other hand, offers several advantages over SAM. 

Why is SMP a Better Option For SaaS Management?

SMPs offer a centralized platform to manage all your SaaS applications, providing streamlined management, improved visibility, cost savings, enhanced security, and a better user experience. Here's why SMP is a better option for SaaS management:

1. Comprehensive SaaS discovery capabilities  

Without effective SaaS discovery capabilities, monitoring the adoption and utilization of SaaS applications becomes daunting. This can lead to overspending on redundant applications, adversely affecting the organization's SaaS budget. 

Zluri, offering an SMP, provides comprehensive SaaS discovery capabilities, making it an exceptional choice for efficient SaaS management.

Zluri uses five different discovery methods, including SSO & IDP, finance & expense management, direct integration through APIs, desktop agents (optional), and browser extensions (optional), to ensure that it uncovers 100% of SaaS apps, whether free or paid.

Zluri discovery engine

One critical aspect of an SMP's discovery engine is its ability to discover web, mobile, and desktop apps. Zluri's discovery engine is top-notch in this regard, detecting new apps regardless of the device or method of access. By doing so, Zluri ensures you have complete visibility over your organization’s SaaS ecosystem.

Another advantage of Zluri's SaaS discovery capabilities is the transparency with which the vendor approaches its discovery engine's workings. Transparency is a core value that Zluri upholds and takes pride in, ensuring that its customers are provided with a detailed and comprehensive description of every method used and the data collected by the engine. 

This level of transparency is not commonly seen among most SaaS management tool providers, making Zluri stand out in the marketplace as a unique and valuable choice for customers.

2. Maximizing cost efficiency with integrated cost optimization capabilities

Without robust cost optimization capabilities, accurately tracking and managing SaaS expenses becomes challenging, hampers identifying areas for improvement, and optimizing SaaS spend.

This can lead to a lack of visibility and control over the organization's SaaS spend, resulting in unexpected costs, overspending, and missed opportunities for cost savings.

In the long run, if your organization fails to implement effective cost optimization strategies, it can have a detrimental impact on your financial health and growth prospects. This can make it difficult to remain competitive in the market. One approach to address this challenge is by utilizing an integrated cost optimization platform like Zluri. 

By leveraging Zluri's capabilities, you can improve your management of SaaS costs, reduce wastage, and make more informed, data-driven decisions.

Zluri's SaaS usage data analysis provides valuable insights to help you optimize your SaaS spend and licenses. By leveraging this data-driven approach, you can identify duplicate apps, unused apps, and other inefficiencies within your organization. 

Eliminating duplicate apps reduces redundancies and allows you to negotiate better deals as a bulk purchaser. This not only streamlines your SaaS landscape but also maximizes cost savings.

One significant area where Zluri can assist is in rightsizing unused licenses. Companies often purchase bulk licenses based on projected demand, resulting in unused licenses and financial losses. 


Zluri's comprehensive analysis identifies these unutilized licenses, empowering you to discard them and purchase new licenses only when necessary. 

You can optimize your SaaS spend and allocate resources more effectively by eliminating unnecessary expenses.

Zluri also helps you proactively manage auto-renewals, a common source of unnecessary charges. Employees frequently forget to cancel subscriptions for apps they no longer use, leading to ongoing expenses. 

By assigning individual owners for each app and utilizing Zluri's renewal calendar, you can track upcoming contract renewals, receive timely alerts, and optimize your organization's SaaS spending. 

Zluri's renewal calendar

This proactive approach ensures that you only pay for the subscriptions you genuinely need, reducing wasteful spending.

Another critical aspect of cost optimization is terminating abandoned apps. When employees fail to terminate unused apps, it exposes your organization to compliance and security risks while incurring unnecessary subscription costs. 

Zluri keeps you well-informed about all SaaS apps in use, facilitating proper offboarding and account termination for departing employees. This helps secure your data and prevents unnecessary expenses associated with abandoned licenses.

Often, employees or teams overestimate their requirements and purchase top-tier plans with features they don't fully utilize. Zluri provides visibility into your top-tier applications, enabling you to analyze usage patterns and make informed decisions when selecting pricing tiers. 

By aligning your license choices with your organization's actual needs, you can optimize your SaaS spending and avoid unnecessary expenses.

3. Risk management capabilities for enhanced security and compliance

Having robust risk management capabilities is crucial for organizations that rely on SaaS applications to enhance security and ensure compliance. Inadequate risk management puts organizations at risk of various threats, including data breaches, compliance violations, and damage to their reputation.

By neglecting the establishment of risk management capabilities, organizations become more susceptible to cyber attacks, increasing the likelihood of confidential corporate and customer data being compromised or exposed. Consequently, this can lead to significant financial losses, damage to reputation, loss of customer trust, and legal consequences.

Furthermore, non-compliance with regulations can lead to substantial fines, legal entanglements, and damage to reputation. Given the proliferation of data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA, organizations need to have a thorough grasp of the compliance obligations related to each SaaS app they employ, ensuring strict adherence to them.

Let's delve into how Zluri can help you maintain compliance and enhance security in a dynamic business environment. 

  • Identifying Risky Apps: Zluri provides a comprehensive security module that enables users to identify critical apps with high threat levels and risk scores. By analyzing various factors such as threat levels, risk scores, and risk scopes, Zluri assesses the potential risks associated with SaaS apps.

    The platform alerts users about critical apps that threaten data confidentiality and are more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

    Furthermore, Zluri offers detailed security and compliance information for each SaaS application. This includes insights into events, data-sharing practices, compliance adherence, and security evaluations. By providing this information, Zluri helps make informed decisions regarding the usage of SaaS apps and mitigate potential risks to their data.

    security and compliance

  • Real-Time Security Updates: Zluri keeps you informed about the latest events that may impact the security or compliance of your applications. You can take proactive measures to protect your sensitive data by staying up-to-date with evolving threats.

    Real-Time Security Updates

  • Threat Level Assessment: Zluri provides you with an insightful threat level assessment for each application based on the type of company data being shared. For instance, if an app only has access to non-sensitive information like email addresses, it will be assigned a lower threat level (1 or 2).
    However, the threat level will be elevated if the app has access to confidential customer data (3, 4, or 5). Additionally, the level of permissions granted to an app also influences the assigned threat level. Apps with the ability to modify or delete data are considered riskier (threat level 4 or 5) compared to those with read-only access (threat level 3).

    Threat Level Assessment

  • Identifying Data Exposure: Zluri helps you identify users who have exposed sensitive data across multiple SaaS apps. By pinpointing potential areas of concern, you can take immediate action to mitigate any data breaches or unauthorized access.

    Identifying Data Exposure

  • Efficient Offboarding Processes: One of Zluri's standout features is its ability to streamline offboarding by properly deprovisioning user access to applications. With Zluri, you can prevent such risks and ensure that access to critical business resources is promptly revoked, mitigating the possibility of data breaches or misuse.

    In conclusion, we’ve established that managing SaaS applications is a critical aspect of IT management, and CIOs face several challenges in this area. With the increasing number of SaaS applications in use and the complexity of managing them, CIOs need a centralized platform that can help them streamline SaaS management.

    CIOs can no longer rely on traditional IT management approaches to manage their SaaS applications. With the adoption of Zluri, CIOs can effectively manage their SaaS applications, ensuring that they are secure, compliant and providing maximum value to their organization. Therefore, CIOs should consider adopting Zluri for effective SaaS management. 

    Book a demo today and see for yourself! 

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