14th December, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
It does not matter what the challenges with building a company are; software is (almost) always the solution.
At the start of September 2020, I set out to build Zluri with 2 of my co-founders. Every time we encountered a problem statement, there was always a SaaS solution to help solve our problem. Felt like someone in the world thought ahead of us all the time. Their work helped speed ours. The best part? To use those SaaS tools, we did not have to shell out a fortune. The low cost made us favor the buy decision in the 'build vs. buy' argument.
In less than ten weeks of company formation, we see ourselves using more than 28 software subscriptions, and we have only five employees, including three co-founders, and our product is not released yet!
Employee: Subscription Software ratio is now almost 1:6. I will be tracking how this ratio skews in the months to come as we expand the number of employees and customers.
Like my tech co-founder would say, it is time we should have a 'software hiring, on-boarding and exit' plan just like a 'talent-hiring, on-boarding, and exit' plan that has been in existence for a long time :)
Before sharing the software stack that we have deployed or about to deploy, I want to share how we make software buying decisions in the current boot-strapped stage of zluri.com,
Software that follows the freemium model based on either employee size or API calls or the number of active users is our first choice. It helps us spend $ only when we scale.
Software that is part of the start-up ecosystem and offers a time-based, revenue-based, or funding-based discount is our second choice.
Software that follows a 14-day or a 30-day trial-based approach is our third choice.
Software that does not allow any trial but wants us to pay just after a demo to use it is not a choice unless we have used the software in the past, and buying decision is a no-brainer.
From org stack to tech stack, the details are here.
Communication - Slack (Freemium)
Email Suite - GSuite (Previously used)
Expense Management - Zoho (Freemium)
Video conferencing for calls under 40 minutes - Zoom (Free tier)
Inbound Marketing – Hubspot (Start-up plan)
B2B Database – ZoomInfo (Previously used)
Prospect and Talent Reach out - LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Previously used)
Keyword overview and SEO – SemRush (Previously used)
Website Analytics – Google Analytics (Free)
Adwords – Google Adwords (Pay per use)
Content Management System – Netlify (Freemium)
Content Correction – Grammarly (Previously used)
Customer conversation – Intercom (Start-up plan)
ATS and HRMS - Freshteams (Freemium)
Centralized Document Management - Revv (Freemium)
ESOP Management - Lets Venture (Freemium)
Healthcare for Employees - Plum (Start-up plan)
Employee On-boarding – Trello (Freemium)
Project Management – Airtable (Freemium)
Appointment Scheduling – Calendly (Freemium)
Authentication – Auth0 (Start-up plan)
Database – MongoDB (Freemium)
API – Postman (Previously used)
Tool building – Retool (Freemium + Start-up plan)
Application Monitoring – Sentry (Freemium)
Email notification – Sparkpost (Previously used)
Code review – Github (Freemium plan)
At the current stage of our growth (or should I say the inception stage?), we set up these software apps. This is not even including the sales stack, customer success stack, and the billing stack that by itself will have 15+ SaaS apps at the minimum. I can already foresee the number of software that we will be using in the next six months to one year and all the hassles that come with managing so many software on my emails and slack!
But I got to agree on one thing. If we had not taken this approach of moving to SaaS for our product building and company building, we would have conservatively taken thrice the time to reach where we have got now.
In sum, software-first thinking to problem-solving has been empowering to us as an early-stage company, and I can only imagine how world-changing it could be for companies more prominent than ours.
Though with all its goodness, SaaS brings financial, security, and compliance risks to organizations. For IT teams, issues like providing and revoking access to employees during onboarding and offboarding or when their role changes are very time-consuming.
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.
When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.
In this post, we've discussed 7 symptoms of an unoptimized SaaS stack and solutions to optimize the same.
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.
SaaS management platforms can vary in their use-case, functionality, and costs. In this list, you’ll find the best 30+ apps to help you narrow down your search.
JumpCloud changes the way IT administrators manage their organization by offering a comprehensive and flexible cloud directory platform.
Lacework is a good cloud security posture management tool, but if you're looking for a user-friendly tool with no or low learning curve, then it may not be suitable for you.