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Image: Growth of SaaS Opportunities, things you should know

There is Exponential SaaS Industry Growth

Software as a Service (SaaS) has become a critical part of everyday business. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move from on-premises software to SaaS. Today 71% of organizations are deploying SaaS applications to enhance IT service delivery efficiency and encourage the scalability of business solutions. While there are clear and measurable advantages to IT endorsed SaaS deployments like quick and easy implementation, employees are increasingly bypassing IT departments and installing SaaS offerings directly onto their machines. While this might seem to improve the agility and productivity of teams, it can create challenges for IT professionals managing the organization’s environment.

Top SaaS Opportunities

SaaS applications are among the easiest to adopt and deploy, which is why SaaS opportunities are becoming an increasingly large part of IT spend for companies. Gartner forecasts SaaS to remain the largest market segment and grow to $117.7 billion this year. For IT leaders there are many advantages to SaaS:

Reduced Time to Benefit

  • The world today is moving faster than ever, and IT leaders are utilizing software to keep up. With the ability of SaaS and cloud-based applications, IT can reduce the time spent on installation and configuration to make the deployment faster and easier.

Scalability and Integration

  • Flexibility is a critical factor upon which success often depends.  Whether it’s transitioning an office to go remote almost overnight or responding to marketplace disruptors changing the game – your organization has to be able to rapidly adapt to the influence of external factors. Large Users are generating massive amounts of data and amounts of data from IT come from a variety of sources. Subscription-based SaaS applications and licensing makes utilizing that data when scaling feasible.

New upgrades and Releases

  • Cloud-based applications provide your business with features that make work interesting and increase the productivity of your teams. Upgrades are managed by the SaaS providers and those changes are made on the backend, allowing your teams to focus on the business at hand.

The cost of SaaS applications

Today the growth on SaaS spend is increasing rapidly, as well as the number of SaaS applications and seats that businesses use. With an average of more than 600 applications per company, the cost and management of the company-wide SaaS constellation could quickly spiral out of control.

For employees, in many cases gaining access to these applications is effortless. The signup simply requires an email address and credit card to buy and expense the application – no IT department needed. This creates a problem for IT professionals trying to manage SaaS vendor licenses and optimize their environments.

With remote working environments set up virtually overnight, companies are striving to be as efficient as possible. SaaS has proven to help the efficiency of departments and teams; however, SaaS has the potential of creating chaos as IT departments become decoupled from users falling for the ‘fast and effortless’ allure of SaaS.

For these reasons and more, as the growth of SaaS in the industry continues, it’s important to understand why it’s necessary for IT teams to be able to uncover all applications operating in an environment. As contracts are negotiated, companies will buy a set amount of licenses to each of the applications. Employees that decentralize buying SaaS applications have the potential of unknowingly increasing company spend by underutilizing licenses already paid for.

The Risk associated with SaaS

There are endless SaaS opportunities with various applications. If IT is not capable of centralized control, the disconnect can lead to uncontrolled SaaS spend and unmanaged risks. Proactive management can restore order within IT environments.

SaaS, if left uncontrolled, can create a “Shadow IT” which refers to cloud services managed outside of, and without the knowledge of the IT department. On average, companies have 15 times more shadow SaaS than expected, according to a Cisco study. This creates a host of risks over and above the unmanaged expense, such as surprise renewals, contract non-compliance, and unauthorized users accessing sensitive data.

When SaaS applications are added to environments without IT coordination, the risks to your organization increase. The Flexera 2021 State of ITAM Report discovered only 35% of SAM teams are tracking SaaS usage. With the explosion of SaaS adoption that came along with the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s critical to gain visibility into SaaS usage to rein-in spend and manage risks such as data security breaches, etc.

Employees purchasing apps outside of IT subject the organization to redundancy.  For example, there may already be a contract with available licenses for Zoom, but an employee might not have been aware when buying and expensing the application. This is where utilizing a platform to find redundant applications, automate license reclamation for inactive users and deliver insights into application usage will optimize your SaaS spend.

SaaS applications outside of the IT departments control cannot be properly subjected to the same corporate governance and controls as internally managed applications.  If IT is not aware of certain applications, they can’t run uniform and consistent security checks. Osterman research reveals that in one case 89% of ex-employees still had access to their former company’s data through SaaS applications. Finding all unauthorized applications will assist in maintaining compliance with GDPR or HIPPA regulations.

Proactive SaaS management, illuminate the dark

The exponential growth of SaaS adoption and its impact is creating a major shift for companies accustomed to installing traditional on-premises software.  As the highest growth category of IT, SaaS quickly can become out of control if not proactively managed.

The ease and accessibility of SaaS continues to create a disconnect between what departments are installing in the IT environment and what is actually being used. With only 35% of SAM teams actually tracking SaaS, IT is drastically underestimating the cost and impact being made.

With changes happening faster than ever, SaaS management platforms give IT teams the lift and assistance needed to succeed. Key aspects of effective SaaS management platforms will:

  • Give visibility into SaaS applications and help identify redundant apps to be rationalized
  • Reduce SaaS sprawl cost, by automatically reclaiming subscriptions for inactive users, giving you the insights needed to leverage your buying power
  • Protect proprietary data from ex-employees

With Flexera One SaaS Manager, unlock the power of SaaS applications while maximizing your investment.