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Image: Leveraging new AI tools to fight against SaaS sprawl

According to the 2024 Gartner IT Key Metrics Data report, 41% of software spend in 2023 was for SaaS, which is up from 21% in 2019. Because it’s easy to try and buy SaaS software and due to the increased reliance on these tools during the pandemic to facilitate remote work, SaaS application use has exceeded IT’s ability to manage it. Most enterprises have thousands of SaaS applications, and many of these are not known by procurement or IT.

It’s not a surprise that controlling costs and reducing duplicate types of SaaS applications top the list of SaaS management challenges.

Graph from SaaS Survey of most challenging actions

Source: August 2023 Snow Software SaaS Survey

Hearing from our customers, we also know this is a top priority in governing SaaS spend and risk.

For years, we have invested in capabilities to identify redundant applications with our Data Intelligence Service, which enriches application titles with UNSPC categories, and the browser extension, which identifies SaaS application use.

With the recent innovations in AI, we knew we could make some improvements. Earlier this year, we added a few new capabilities to help customers do a better job of identifying redundant applications.

AI-generated application descriptions

When customers deploy the browser extension or detect usage via SSO, they often discover dozens, if not hundreds, of applications they never knew employees had purchased or were using. The task of sifting through all these applications can be daunting. Many software asset managers spend hours looking up what these applications do in their initial investigation.

To ease this process, our team was able to quickly bring in AI-generated application descriptions, so users of our product could understand what the applications do without having to leave the product.

AI-generated application categories

To refine the categories used to enrich application titles, the team leveraged AI technology in the Data Intelligence Service. Customers now see more specific categories when looking for redundancies.

Making application rationalization part of renewal workflows

Application rationalization is a big project, and it requires some concerted effort. This is especially the case when organizations are undergoing M&A integration projects. In speaking with customers, we discovered one of the perfect times to take control of application sprawl is during the renewal process. Here’s a quick glance at how it works!

And if you’re short on time, here’s a quick example below: we see we have standardized on Microsoft OneDrive, but also have a subscription to Dropbox Online with no active users. The good news is we can likely drop this subscription because no one is using it. The bad news is we may have over-allocated our licenses and might have to pay penalties. This is data we can immediately act on to reduce costs.

Learn more about how Snow SaaS Management can help with application rationalization, reducing SaaS spend and risk from shadow SaaS.