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Image: 3 Reasons to Build a SaaS Renewal Dashboard

There’s no doubt about it: businesses benefit from dashboards. Salespeople (and their managers) constantly review dashboards to see what deals will close this quarter. IT staff use dashboards to view uptime across systems. Marketing looks at dashboards for lead generation and engagement metrics.

And you? You’re managing a stable of SaaS contracts, and their associated renewals. That means tracking contract timelines, renewal dates, and auto-renew windows (if they apply). What that probably looks like today is either a stack of papers, or a spreadsheet with various contractual data for each SaaS platform. Neither one is terribly efficient to deal with.

Related: Take Control of Your SaaS Spending: Know Your Contracts

Not only do you have a labor-intensive way of managing the renewal process, but you’re probably compensated based on renewal savings. So one of your key job functions is a pretty manual process.

How can you make managing renewals an easier, more automated process? Take a page from the playbooks of other business units, and create a SaaS renewal dashboard. Here are our top 3 reasons:

For Complex Data Sets, Visual Display Wins Out.

You might be doing your due diligence already, extracting key inputs from your SaaS contracts and plugging them into a spreadsheet. Kudos to you for laying the groundwork. But know this: that list you created is just the beginning. In order to make it actionable in an effective way, you’ll need to overlay that list with a visual display of data.

Why? Because it’s really difficult to compare multiple data inputs in a non-visual format. Let’s look at a real-life example. Your business has 10 SaaS contracts. So you can just go to your spreadsheet and sort by renewal date, right? Wrong. Each contract has several key dates – the start date of the renewal window, the end date of the renewal window, and the start and end dates of the auto-renewal window (if there is one).

You could sort the spreadsheet by the auto-renewal window start date, if there is one, and then perform some secondary sorting. However, it’s a lot more clear to view those renewal and auto-renewal windows plotted out over a visual calendar year. Each date provides your start and end range, and you can color code based on whether or not there’s an auto-renewal clause, or how long the renewal window is. Using this dashboard every day can drive all of your renewal activities.

Visual Display Frees Up Time For Critical Tasks.

Dashboards are definitely easier on the eyes. They’re designed to be that way. But, they also save a lot of time – and we’re not exaggerating. Respondents in a recent SAP study on big data stated that it takes an average of 9 hours longer to analyze data without appropriate visualization tools.

There’s a lot you could do with that extra time. First, you could create some extra workflows to help fully prepare you for upcoming renewals. Maybe add a 30- or 60-day buffer for any upcoming renewal or auto-renewal window. That gives you time to look into SaaS platform usage and optimization before the window actually starts.

Related: 7 Steps to Successfully Managing a SaaS Renewal Contract

If you need input from managers, directors, and end-users, you can give them some breathing room when making requests. Can they point you in the direction of specific usage reports, or explain this license that has no apparent owner? Or maybe they let you know they have big hiring plans for the upcoming year and will need 25% more licenses. All this information is easier to extract ahead of time – not at the last minute.

More Time Equals More Opportunities To Save.

Having the time to proactively research SaaS renewals gives you more information about each one. Equipped with your arsenal of data, you can better identify savings opportunities.

Related: The Challenge of SaaS Vendor Management: Being Proactive

Your business might subscribe to 3 different CRMs, and you know there are redundancies somewhere. With that extra time, you can learn more about the best and worst features of each and which departments are using them.

Provide a little education for the specific groups – they could be missing out on functionality in a different CRM that would be better fit. Not only do you have the opportunity to reduce license counts, but you might even consolidate down from 3 CRMs to 1, saving big for the business.

SaaS Renewal Dashboards Streamline The Contract Management Process.

A SaaS renewal dashboard can make your job a lot easier, but it may require internal resources to implement. Consider a SaaS vendor management platform if you’re resource-constrained, to insert your contract data into an existing format. Whatever format you use, you’ll have all the keys to effectively manage SaaS renewals.