What IT ought to know about SaaS operations management
It has become crucial to adopt a SaaSOps management strategy in businesses with the emergence of SaaS tools.
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Mar 30, 2023
9 min read
The tale of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is quite an interesting one. The SaaS market has exhibited tremendous growth in the past two decades. What started in the early 2000s when three co-founders created the first SaaS company (Salesforce, as you might have guessed), is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. As of 2022, the market size had reached a whopping $186.6 billion and is projected to reach $700 billion by 2030. The rapid expansion of the SaaS industry paved the way for, or rather demanded, the development of SaaSOps and SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs).
What is a SaaS Management Platform, you ask? Imagine the Software-as-a-Service market to be a bustling city with a diverse range of applications serving different needs. It can be overwhelming to navigate through this city and get what you need. SaaS Management Platforms act like a map that lets you discover all the SaaS apps at your disposal. Moreover, it provides you with a clear and efficient path to reach your destination without much hassle. SMPs have now emerged as a critical tool to manage and optimize SaaS subscriptions by minimizing your expenditure. In other words, your organization should have an effective SaaS management system unless you want your IT budget to balloon into a phonebook-sized list.
If you are a millennial, you might remember the time when we had to run to the nearest local hardware store to get the newest software CDs. From that to getting access to all the software you need without leaving your seat, the SaaS sphere has brought about quite a remarkable change. With SaaS apps, you don’t have to go through the hassle of installing and running software on your computer. Worst of all, you don’t have to waste hours of your time updating software, unlike in older times. All you have to do is log into your account via a web browser, and everything you need is right there!
SaaS is a cloud computing model that enables organizations to access the best software programs through the internet. This eliminates the need to install and operate them on the device. These software are accessed over the internet and can be run on any device. This makes them more flexible and accessible than traditional software. SaaS applications are typically hosted and managed by third-party providers. They will also be handling all elements of software maintenance and support. Businesses do not need to invest in their infrastructure or IT employees to support the software. Instead, they spend an annual or monthly subscription fee to use it.
Take a couple of minutes to think about the SaaS apps that you use in your personal life. Think about all the video streaming platforms, music streaming platforms, video conferencing platforms, and cloud storage services that you use regularly. In today’s day and age, our lives are so abundant with subscriptions that keeping track of them all feels like a juggling act. It often requires a dedicated notepad or a photographic memory to stay on top of them all! The situation is far more taxing when you think about it from an enterprise’s perspective. Here, the stakes are much higher and definitely not worth taking any chances.
If managing subscriptions and licenses is one side of managing SaaS apps, security is the other. SaaS apps are typically hosted in the cloud and accessed through the internet. This naturally makes them vulnerable to cyber threats. The absence of a proper SaaS management system leaves your corporate data exposed to data breaches, unauthorized access, and other security risks.
Inefficient SaaS app management often results in the creation of data silos. This can prove to be yet another roadblock in an enterprise environment. These software might be used by different teams within an organization. Data silos occur when these data, stored in different applications, cannot be accessed or shared across the organization. An effective SaaS management strategy is required to integrate different applications so that data can be shared harmoniously.
SaaSOps, short for Software-as-a-Service Operations, is a framework that combines the principles of traditional IT operations with the unique challenges of managing a SaaS environment. It involves a set of practices and methodologies designed to improve the security, compliance, and performance of SaaS applications.
SaaS discovery is the foundational element of SaaSOps. It involves your IT team having visibility into which software the employees are using and why they are using them. This enables the SaaSOps engineers to optimize the expenditure on SaaS apps by permitting only the necessary software and revoking access to risky ones.
SaaS management is another important aspect of SaaSOps. This includes tasks such as monitoring application usage, managing user access, and optimizing application configurations. Securing SaaS data, automating tasks such as user provisioning and application updates, and collaborating the use of SaaS apps across various departments — all these are crucial to achieve a robust SaaS management architecture.
A framework by itself is insufficient to achieve the desired outcome, which in this case is the efficient management of your SaaS stack. It necessitates a tool that can integrate all of SaaSOps’ components and implement them in an organization. This is where SaaS Management Platforms come into the equation. Remember the ‘map’ analogy? SMPs act as standalone tools that let you discover, manage, and secure SaaS applications just like a map that lets you discover and securely navigate through a city.
SaaS Management Platforms have become essential for companies to manage and optimize their SaaS applications. Let’s look at some key objectives of SaaS Management Platforms and how they help organizations achieve their goals.
SMPs provide a common platform to keep track of and conform to security requirements and compliance rules across all SaaS applications. It can also help you enforce user access control and other security features, such as multi-factor authentication in the SaaS apps.
Nowadays, it has become necessary for organizations to utilize multiple SaaS applications, each with its own pricing plan and subscription model. By optimizing these subscription plans, businesses can save significant amounts of money on their technology investments by only spending on the necessary software. As SMPs provide real-time analysis of SaaS app usage, they can also help you identify underutilized subscriptions and licenses.
SMPs give you a comprehensive view of the whole kit and caboodle on a centralized platform. This will include all the apps, workflows, their associated devices and, users. It can’t get any simpler than that. IT teams will only have to look at a single dashboard to track licenses, view software usage data, and monitor security policies.
Another major objective of SaaS Management Platforms is to help create custom workflows that automate redundant tasks. It can alleviate tasks such as onboarding or offboarding user licenses upon user addition or user removal. It can help you save a lot of time and reach new levels of efficiency.
Adding a new SaaS application or removing an existing one doesn’t take more than a few clicks. So, even if the number of users and SaaS applications increases, SMPs will be able to handle the additional data and provide a scalable platform for managing all SaaS applications. This makes the platform ideal for enterprises regardless of the number of users.
SaaS Management Platforms help you monitor the performance of the software used by your organization. SMPs do this by evaluating the SaaS stack based on metrics such as uptime and data usage.
Undoubtedly, the usage of SaaS apps is booming in today’s IT world. However, organizations are still questioning whether managing SaaS apps is a necessity. Studies show that only less than 25% of companies using multiple SaaS applications are using SMPs to centralize SaaS management. This is significantly lower considering the dangers an ineffective SaaS management strategy can bring about in an enterprise.
We can expect SaaS apps and SMPs to have an important role in the technology landscape in the future. As more and more businesses adopt cloud-based solutions, the need for efficient management of SaaS applications will only grow. By incorporating SMPs into their IT operations, companies can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that they are getting the most out of their SaaS investments. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to consider implementing an SMP in your organization to take advantage of the benefits it offers.