How to manage SaaS in the age of distributed work

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Productive distributed workforces need alternatives to SaaS tooling while maintaining oversight to prevent businesses from drowning in cost and complexity

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Change is constant for every business as market conditions and technological advancements are constantly adding new requirements. It is up to business and IT leaders to create the conditions to embrace continuous change.

New ways of working are at the core of this development. The past few years have demanded that business leaders adopt new working models and challenges without letting employees decide where and when to do their jobs. The future of work should provide employees with freedom in almost every direction: fostering individual skills, valuing unique living situations, instilling trust and enabling continuous communication.


The logical consequence of the new work model means that all employees should be empowered to approach their workplace flexibly and individually. Workplace flexibility is fueled by new software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools that can be easily signed up to connect a business workforce from anywhere in the world.

mother-in-law blast

SaaS supports almost every business operation, process, workflow and function today. Over the years, millions of professionals have used SaaS apps to reconfigure the workplace. From customer relationship management (CRM) and project management software to communication and collaboration tools, the adoption of SaaS has become almost inevitable.

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Then, overnight, SaaS became even more important as the shift to remote work forced many businesses to adjust quickly to life away from a corporate office. Some organizations were more willing to work remotely with the right IT infrastructure already in place, while others struggled to ensure people had the tools they needed to get the business up and running.

It is now predicted that by 2023, 86% of companies Will run entirely on SaaS solution. As adoption skyrockets, organizations are waking up to find hundreds of SaaS applications in use. While the opportunity to increase employee productivity and efficiency is coveted, SaaS presents challenges for leaders in IT, security, finance and procurement.

mother-in-law left unchecked

Widespread and uncontrolled SaaS consumption makes software management impossible because any employee can launch a new SaaS app in seconds via a free trial or credit card. What most decision makers don’t realize is that, on average, up to 30 percent of SaaS spend is wasted due to low or unused subscriptions, additional licenses, and overpriced vendors. Worse yet, 77 percent of organizations have experienced security incidents directly related to SaaS. It is nearly impossible to measure ROI for the overall use of SaaS, as many issues are underestimated or completely unknown.

Take a minute and ask yourself how much your organization is using SaaS. At LeanIX, we currently spend approximately $2 million on SaaS for over 360 employees – or about $5,000 per employee. Our priorities are to empower employees with a SaaS subscription without spending much on unused licenses, and to proactively manage auto-renewal and tool access when employees leave or change roles. For our company to make the best decisions it requires a lot of data to the right people at the right time.

The challenge for many organizations is that managing a mother-in-law is a game of catch-up. Often, we see companies piece together information with tracking spreadsheets or outdated IT asset management systems. Their SaaS is running unchecked when security, compliance and costs are out of control. IT, finance, legal, and operations teams are left to figure out how to prevent SaaS while eliminating (or balancing) the tension between corporate policies and how employees are successful with their choice of SaaS tools. help to be.

Embracing SaaS Management

SaaS management is an emerging practice to help companies gain full visibility into their SaaS ecosystem and maximize value from cloud-based software tools. It evolves beyond the classic IT asset management framework built in the pre-cloud era by creating systematic and easy-to-follow processes for purchasing, using and controlling SaaS.

A distributed workforce is increasingly dependent on SaaS solutions for daily work productivity and team collaboration – anytime and from anywhere in the world. Empowering individuals and teams to choose the tools that best suit their workflow needs is just the beginning and requires planning and consideration of how each option affects the organization as a whole.

Businesses should prioritize SaaS management to continually discover and manage all the SaaS applications they own in their distributed workforce. This visibility allows teams to identify cost savings opportunities by tracking usage and determining compliance risk to mitigate risks. Companies that are able to make this data-driven decision can keep SaaS in control as adoption increases and remote working continues to shift.

Download to set your course for success SaaS Management Ebook: The Definitive Guide for IT and Finance Leaders

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