How many software as a service (SaaS) platforms do you think your employees have in use right now? A dozen? Two? If you’re running a small business, it’s more like 100, according to Forrester Research. One hundred cloud-based tools for collaboration, organization, communication, and more.
And for a mid-market business, that number is probably 137, while employees in an enterprise operation use, on average, a whopping 288 SaaS applications. Although “use” is a stretch: About 40% of these subscriptions are established, continually paid, and forgotten. And because they’ve been implemented outside of your IT department, nobody’s keeping track of which subscriptions exist and which truly support the work your teams do.
Feeling woozy yet? The situation gets much more worrying: In 2020, U.S. businesses threw away about $40 billion on orphaned SaaS platforms. But you’ve probably figured out that we wouldn’t be telling you about all this if we didn’t have a solution. Yes, unreported and unused SaaS platforms create a problem—often a profoundly expensive one—but there’s a way to bring order, cut the fat, and keep track of SaaS spending from here on out.
When good apps set off a cascade of bad spending
Seems like there’s a new SaaS platform every 17 seconds—and each better than the last for organizing work, keeping tabs on projects, or whatever other amazing advancement might be on offer this time. The software offerings intended to make work easier no doubt appeal to your teams’ best instincts for doing more and doing it better. They want to achieve great things, and this new SaaS platform fits the bill. Boom! It’s part of your monthly spend.
And then the next great app comes along. Someone else adds it to the mix. Sure, it offers 90% of the same benefits of the last one, which nobody used anyway, and this time will be different. Now you’re paying for two barely distinguishable apps—suboptimal, and not only because you’re spending money on licenses that aren’t being used. When SaaS platforms are integrated without a thoughtful strategy, an inefficient software ecosystem results, creating (surprise, surprise) an inefficient workplace. It also creates data sprawl that can lead to incredibly costly compliance risks and security vulnerabilities.
From SaaS platform allure to sprawling weed
What makes SaaS platforms so appealing is also what makes them such a concern: They’re abundant, and abundantly easy to add to the mix. The potential of SaaS to facilitate and enhance and otherwise improve how teams work is stunning. And because these apps are increasing in number so fast—in five years, there’ll be about six times more of them than there are now, says Forrester—they’re only going to become more abundantly adopted within your teams.
Without a plan and oversight, they can easily become like poisonous weeds, proliferating madly, getting in the way, and causing a significant metaphoric itch from the expenses of licensing (especially for unused apps), inefficiencies, and security issues.
The extensive financial harm a data breach can do
Surely, the risk posed by well-intentioned SaaS platform use is minimal, though, right? That depends on your risk tolerance: Are you okay with the odds being more than one in five that your organization experiences a cyber event because of a non-sanctioned IT resource? Twenty-one percent of organizations do, according to a Forbes report.
And these breaches are expensive. In addition to covering the costs of remediation (tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the extent of the breach), there’s the very real danger of not recovering: For 60% of small businesses, a data breach means shutting the doors.
Past doom and gloom to clarity and oversight
With SaaS platforms so easy to access—and eight out of ten of them being introduced without IT input (AKA shadow IT)—trying to contain the problem is like trying to hold a handful of water. Of course, this is where that solution we teased earlier comes in.
As part of our SaaS Ops program, we utilize Saaslio to identify and manage SaaS platforms to keep organizations secure, reduce spending, and function efficiently. Saaslio enables you to
Saaslio ensures you have a complete view of which applications exist in your system and who uses them. It’s a way to get control over what’s happening now and reduce unnecessary expenditures. It also keeps you updated as platforms or users are added.
Keeping a close eye on SaaS platforms is an important element of reducing spending and maintaining data security. It’s also an important part of our approach to IT managed services.
Get in touch to learn more.