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4 Ways to Leverage SaaS Data to Save Money and Increase Efficiencies

IT procurement appreciates as much SaaS data as they can get from CASBs and SSOs and other systems for SaaS management. It helps them manage their cloud platform, keep risks in check, and of course, see what’s actually out there. Without it, they have no idea who is using what apps, who has authorizations, and which apps are being fully utilized. Ah, utilization. We sometimes think it’s more of a “is anyone using that app?” sort of thing, but did you realize how much power that type of information gives you?

With the right SaaS data, you have the ability to do more than manage your SaaS applications. You have the capacity to negotiate better contracts, drastically improve planning and forecasting, and pay only for what you are actually using – all of which can save thousands of dollars every year.

If you’re not using your SaaS data for more than just IT management, you’re losing some of the greatest benefits this data offers.

4 Ways to Leverage SaaS Data

1. Contract Renewals

Typically every year, companies have the opportunity to renew their many SaaS contracts. It’s the perfect time to do a little contract management, right? While some take the time to review each contract to ensure they are getting what they paid for, others assume they are and no actual negotiating is necessary. Many contracts renew automatically, making it easier for companies to continue using their SaaS apps without interruption. Are you using the SaaS contract renewal period to optimize contract management?

Related: 3 Reasons to Build a SaaS Renewal Dashboard

Renewal time shouldn’t be taken for granted. With all of the SaaS applications in most corporate environments, do you really know what you’re paying for? Are you sure you know what applications are under the IT umbrella? What about the shadow IT that isn’t? Are you really “managing” your SaaS applications or is everything status quo year after year?

The truth is, most SaaS contracts should be tweaked at least every year. Companies change. They may grow or decline by employees, locations, and product or service offerings. With every change comes the opportunity to modify your SaaS contracts to better reflect your actual needs. Why pay for apps that aren’t bringing value or are no longer needed? Are there better versions of that application that should be considered? What about better products or vendors? Are employees truly happy with their current options or are they purchasing their own apps (shadow IT) instead?

Take the renewal period seriously and use your SaaS data as justification. Many companies find significant savings by simply reviewing the terms, comparing their needs with the contract, and seeing where there might be room for negotiations. With data in hand, it’s much easier to negotiate than it is with assumptions and claims.

2. Purchase Forecasting

If your company is growing or changing in any capacity, investment forecasting can be challenging. It’s like trying to look into a crystal ball and predict the future… unless you have actual data to inform decisions. That’s exactly what SaaS data does – inform planning with real metrics that bring confidence to every decision.

When looking at SaaS data, IT procurement can identify current usage of each SaaS application. Will your current contract and licenses support the potential growth? Will new licenses need to be purchased? Are there any unused licenses that can be leveraged before any new investments need to be made? How much budget should be allocated to new investments?

SaaS data can bring a wealth of information to any planning meeting and significantly reduce SaaS spend. Use it to gain insight into what’s currently being used and compare it to employee headcount forecasting by role. If those predicted new employees will need access to certain applications, be sure your current contract has some wiggle room. If not, take the time to negotiate. You may be able to score volume discounts, even by adding a handful of new licenses to the existing contract. Pay only for the licenses you know you’ll use, perhaps with a few extra, just in case.

3. Merger & Acquisition Forecasting

Mergers and acquisitions always bring a host of challenges for companies involved. While they typically end up sharing many resources, there often is plenty of overlap that can cost companies significantly in terms of redundant SaaS applications and extra licenses. Oftentimes, these duplications aren’t readily visible and take some digging to figure out. That is, of course, if you don’t have accurate SaaS data at your fingertips.

With the right SaaS information, you can easily see which applications are redundant, how many licenses are shared between the two companies, and which licenses will need to be extended to cover all users. SaaS data enables companies to project their needs based on current usage instead of guessing who will use what applications.

Another issue with M&As is that each company often prefers a different app that does the same thing. How does the new entity determine which app is the better one for consistency and cost efficiency? You guessed it: SaaS data. By looking at how many employees are using each app and to what extent (in terms of functionality), it is much easier to identify the SaaS app with the greater return. No one has to be the bad guy because decisions are backed by data. No argument needed.

4. Utilization Optimization

It used to be that companies would depend on their IT department’s procurement team to determine which software would be purchased and for how many employees. Not anymore. Today, every department, in effect, has their own procurement team. If marketing wants a project management app, they buy one. If finance needs a new accounting platform, they buy it. IT may be involved in the actual procurement and management, but the decisions to buy are largely based on the needs of the department. This has given rise to shadow IT – that technology that isn’t under direct control or visibility of IT.

Related: Get a Handle on Unsanctioned SaaS with These 6 Tactics

What if IT procurement could see exactly how many employees were using each application? What if there was a mandate that all applications must be run through IT before purchase? Would companies gain more control over their SaaS applications?

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SaaS data is exactly what is needed for IT to get their arms around the mushrooming SaaS application environment. When IT procurement can see utilization reports that are detailed, current and reliable, they can quickly identify how many apps are being used across the enterprise, by whom and how frequently. Is every app being fully utilized or is single sign-on making it appear that way?

When companies can see utilization reports down to the application and employee level, they can better determine which apps are underutilized so they can scrap them to save costs and simplify the environment. They can see which licenses have yet to be used so contracts can be re-negotiated or new license purchases halted until the unused licenses have been allocated.

SaaS data is a powerful tool to right-size contracts to the actual needs of employees – not what they say they need, but what their actions actually show. Don’t leave this data on the table. Use it to save money, increase efficiency and simplicity, and improve investment decisions.