25 Oct · 6 min read
If recent history has taught us anything, it is that business interruptions can occur at any time and for any length of time. If you've been affected by these disruptions, you may have had to "pivot" your operations and reconsider your SaaS stack lineup.
What products, services, or vendors had to be retained? Could you continue normal operations without it? What is the maximum amount of time an outage can last before it has an impact?
Making decisions about your SaaS lineup can be difficult if you don't know how the changes will affect your critical business functions, let alone the financial impact.
So, how do you know which SaaS changes will affect your company? We recommend carrying out a self-analysis of your SaaS stack.
A SaaS tech stack is a collection of technologies that are used. It is a collection of frameworks, libraries, software languages, and infrastructure that is used to create and launch a fully functional platform.
Even if you have the best sales, product, or customer success teams, they are useless without an appropriate tech stack. The tech stack is the foundation of your software that defines the entire development process. As a result, it has a direct impact on the time and money you invest in development.
Controlling your SaaS stack with efficient methods will save you more money than you can imagine in the long run. What else? You might be using some of these spending management techniques without even realizing it.
For example, you could be using free trial periods to test new software before making a purchase. Perhaps you're negotiating volume discounts or other perks with vendors.
While these are excellent spend management techniques, they require an elaborate method that can be applied over time to be effective - which is what we'll discuss below.
These days, SaaS adoption is unavoidable. This year, the cloud will host 83 percent of enterprise workloads. Given that the most recent SaaS apps frequently become critical tools for specific business roles, it's highly likely that new apps will continue to be added to your stack.
However, to prevent your company's SaaS adoption from spiraling out of control, you must establish a proper review and vetting process for each newly adopted app. Consider feature sets, security, permission controls, and integration ease.
You should also check to see if these apps are by the regulations that apply to your company and its customers.
When it comes to software spending, businesses frequently find themselves in a bind.
On the one hand, they want to avoid the high cost of licensing each employee. They do not, however, want to be saddled with an expensive and inflexible on-premise solution.
Having SaaS purchase decisions centralized allows you to get the best of both worlds: low costs and flexibility.
This is how it works: instead of each department purchasing its licenses, one person/department purchases software by a predetermined process.
This practice saves you money and gives you more control over the software spending in your organization.
Examining the size of the community surrounding a given app is a good way to test the waters. While being on the cutting edge of trying out a brand new SaaS app can be exciting, you may not want to be the very first organization (or one of the first organizations) to adopt it because there won't be a community of people who have used it enough to develop best practices or adequate support around the tool.
To determine where a product stands in terms of its community, look to see if it has built a robust and thriving community on its own—many apps do. Alternatively, look into their presence in existing communities. If it's a development tool, you can also look into developer communities like Stack Overflow, Github, and Reddit to see how active the app's communities are. Some of them are SparkPost Community, Coding, BadCode, and many more.
If your SaaS product evaluations will be reactive, you can at least reduce errors and lag times by automating as many aspects of the process as possible. For example, SaaS management platforms can already perform SaaS app discovery and monitoring. They can collect information about all SaaS activity on your network in a secure manner.
Monitoring tools can also be set up to send notifications to administrators if anything requires human intervention. If an app becomes dormant, it may be an abandoned account, and its license should be terminated. Even more importantly, you can be notified if an app you uninstalled is reinstalled.
Custom triggers can also be used to deploy questionnaires and queue up evaluations to assist managers in making informed decisions. All issues can thus be immediately addressed.
Doing your homework is a good first step, but it's time to let go and embrace change after that. To prepare for the unavoidable reality of app turnover, you should streamline your app approval, implementation, and removal processes as much as possible. This way, when the time comes to make a change, it won't be a huge hassle.
We recommend implementing a decentralized IT management paradigm—what we call Collaborative IT—to improve your processes. This means that team leaders can select, purchase, and implement apps rather than having a central IT function handle every single technology decision. As you might expect, removing unnecessary gatekeepers and hurdles accelerates both app implementation and removal. To balance this freedom with security and budgetary constraints, look for a single SaaS system of record that provides management with visibility into the entire stack.
Personal preferences can sometimes influence SaaS app selection, leading users to acquire multiple apps that support similar functionalities. This can result in collaboration silos and redundancies in your app stack, which is a bad way to waste your software budget.
You can avoid this trap by creating a list of preferred apps. Determine which apps are the safest and best fit with the rest of the stack, adding true value to your company's work. Make sure you understand how these apps benefit each department. When new products are added to the mix, reconcile these parameters with the frequency of use and subscription costs, and keep an eye out for use case overlaps.
Furthermore, having access to an up-to-date list of renewal dates allows you to renegotiate terms or migrate from one platform to another as needed. A streamlined stack allows you to make the most of your SaaS investment.
Your employees must understand how to use your apps correctly. Connecting people with the apps they should be using speeds up onboarding and reduces ramp-up time.
Offboarding users is also critical. When an employee leaves your company, it is important to take security precautions. Check to see if they have properly turned over all work data. When they leave the company, simply revoke their access credentials with a few clicks.
Get your new employees up and running as soon as possible, and make sure no unauthorized users remain on your network. This also allows you to easily deprovision unused apps and subscriptions.
Using unauthorized or redundant apps exposes your company to a variety of risks. Comprehensive visibility and understanding of your app stack are critical for better monitoring user activity, managing access controls and inventory, and implementing policies tailored to the needs of your IT infrastructure. Finally, taking the necessary steps to properly manage your app stack will allow you to maximize the value of your apps and improve organizational efficiencies. Self-analysis assures saving you money and time.