What is SaaS Management?

Everything you need to know.
Manage your apps with a SaaS management platform

The growth of SaaS applications has been explosive. The size of the SaaS market is estimated to reach $208 billion by 2023, and this figure will only continue to increase.

Cloud-based software offers a fast and cost-effective alternative to traditional IT deployments that you have to build and maintain. And because they reside in the cloud, they can easily scale up (or down) to fit your business needs.

But there’s a catch.

Every company uses more than one SaaS application. You might use one platform to manage your accounting, another to organize your documents, another to communicate with your team, and so on. Pretty soon, you’ll find it difficult to manage all those subscriptions (many companies today have hundreds).

So how do you keep track of the software your company uses? And how can you monitor app usage and ensure your data is secure?

That’s where SaaS management comes in, a process to keep all your subscriptions and tools under control.

Here, we’ll explain what SaaS management is and how it can benefit your company. We’ll also break down the SaaS management journey and look at how SaaS management platforms like Cledara can help you manage each step.

What is SaaS management?

SaaS management is the process of managing the cloud-based software applications used in a company. It is a relatively new discipline because the problem is also new.

Most companies opt for SaaS solutions due to their flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. But the more subscriptions they add to their tech stack, the more difficult it becomes to manage.

The goal of SaaS management, then, is to reduce the risk of uncontrolled tools or technologies in a company, improve the value of each software used, and increase the effectiveness of teams that rely on it to drive success.

It sounds simple enough. But if you’re reading this, you know that with SaaS applications more popular than ever, the number of subscriptions used in businesses continues to grow quickly. This forces finance and IT teams to figure out how to manage this growth effectively.

Fortunately, the right SaaS management platform lets you manage your subscriptions, monitor application usage, and ensure compliance all in one place.

How the growth of SaaS subscriptions led us here

The move to the cloud over the last two decades has been nothing short of stunning, and it shows no signs that it’ll slow down. As SaaS companies make it easy to try and buy their products on a recurring basis, IT and finance departments are frequently unaware of the software that teams are using or the scope of software sprawl across their organization.

In fact, the information most businesses have about the software they use is scattered among spreadsheets, bank statements, expense reports, emails, and even browser histories.

The subscriptions bought and used across a company have become a significant point of friction to the tune of dozens of hours of unnecessary administrative work every month, even for relatively small companies, like startups.

Companies waste time because they have to manually:

  • Manage their subscription renewals
  • Track their app usage and spend
  • Provide (and revoke) access
  • Collect and reconcile their invoices
  • Audit and document all their apps

Worse, because no one typically has the full picture of the software in a business, this wasted time translates into wasted money and processes that don’t scale. In fact, it’s estimated that globally, 30% of SaaS spend is wasted on forgotten, unused, and duplicate software.

With SaaS now a major expenditure for companies, the sense of urgency we feel in helping companies better manage their software subscriptions is clear.

Let’s look at why in the next section.

Why companies need SaaS management

The initial convenience of SaaS has now become a double-edged sword, as the challenges of tracking and managing SaaS apps lead to wasted time and money, as well as company culture, security threats, and compliance issues.

Benefits of using a SaaS management platform

Here’s how a SaaS management platform like Cledara can help address these challenges.

Increase visibility

It’s easy enough to manage one application. But a lack of visibility into the tools a company uses starts to become a problem as its technology stack grows.

Business leaders estimate that their respective organizations have an average of 66 SaaS subscriptions. And that’s just the ones they know about, there are likely more that are underutilized or not used at all.

Number of SaaS subscriptions that companies think they have

This lack of visibility manifests itself in various ways — duplicate subscriptions and wasted budget, software with overlapping functionality, and even tension as finance teams chase down colleagues for invoices to reconcile purchases.

SaaS management platforms give you visibility into every piece of software your company uses. From a single dashboard, you can see:

  • Usage breakdowns
  • Statuses (active/inactive)
  • Renewal dates
  • Total software spend

And more.

With full visibility into your tools and how users interact with them, you can determine whether a piece of software is valuable and decide whether you should keep or cancel it.

Prevent Shadow IT

21% of companies don’t have a documented policy for the evaluation and purchase of SaaS applications. That’s a problem because it increases the risk of “Shadow IT” — the unauthorized use of software or services without knowledge or approval from IT or the team in charge of new software approval.

Shadow IT — or informal SaaS, as we call it — presents significant security risks. If an employee uses software that hasn’t been properly vetted, they may store data in an unsecured location or unknowingly grant access to sensitive data.

Cledara Engage lets you see all the SaaS tools your team uses — even the unapproved ones.

User management with Cledara Engage

This helps management stay on top of all the software used throughout the company and thus minimizes risk and compliance issues.

Streamline onboarding and offboarding

As more work shifts to the cloud, you need to ensure that new team members can access the software they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. SaaS management helps you manage your licenses and deliver a more efficient employee onboarding experience.

Proper SaaS management can also streamline offboarding. If an employee leaves, you can see what software they have accounts on and easily revoke their access to mitigate security risks.

Control and manage SaaS spend

Only 14% of companies say that all their SaaS subscriptions add value to their organization. Any piece of software that doesn’t add value costs your company money.

A SaaS management platform can help you control SaaS spend, as it lets you monitor usage for every piece of software. If certain subscriptions are rarely used, you can cancel them instead of letting them renew automatically (locking you into another payment cycle).

Ensure compliance

A SaaS management platform can help you evaluate whether the vendors you choose have the security measures in place to keep company and user data secure.

Cledara’s compliance add-on streamlines the way you evaluate SaaS solutions. It allows you to embed the key steps required to comply with ISO27001 and SOC2 — standards that ensure your company securely manages its customer data.

Ensuring compliance with a SaaS management platform

Learn more about SaaS compliance here and see how Cledara can help you integrate compliance into your purchasing process.

The SaaS management journey

In the “old days” of on-premises software, employees were simply provided with pre-installed, pre-approved software to use, and that was that. This top-down approach left little agency to individual teams in pursuit of specific challenges and thus resulted in one-size-fits-all software that inspired no one but was easy to manage centrally.

When the cloud burst onto the scene in the 2000s, SaaS changed that model forever, and now, there is no other way to consume software. We love our software subscriptions to the tune of the almost 25,000 different tools available today.

At Cledara, we look at software adoption as a journey rather than a point-in-time purchase. A single system that manages the end-to-end journey to discover, buy, manage, and cancel software is the basis for how we see SaaS management and provides a foundation for success to get the most out of the software companies use.

Each step of the SaaS management journey

Here’s a closer look at each step of the SaaS management journey.

1. Discover

With seemingly endless software options available, it becomes harder to discover the right app. Think of how you now use the software you depend on daily. Maybe it was already in use when you joined the team. Or it’s a well-known application and considered one of the main solutions that companies your size use. Or maybe you chose it based on a recommendation.

The app discovery process comes down to visibility, collaboration, and recommendations: 

  • Visibility: What software do you already have in your business?
  • Collaboration: How do you get easy access to it?
  • Recommendations: What is the best SaaS for companies like mine? 

What if you could discover software at the right time for your team based on what other companies at the same stage already use and find valuable?

How SaaS management helps
Whether you’re in pursuit of a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a business analytics platform, or collaboration tools, our Marketplace contains a comprehensive list of carefully curated SaaS solutions. Plus, you get 2% cashback on your software spend when you pay with Cledara.

2. Purchase

It’s never been easier to buy software. Trials are seamless, subscriptions roll over to paid commitments, and before we know it, we have yet another subscription on the corporate card — for several years.

Buying software is the easy part. The harder part comes next. For example, how did you purchase the software? Did you use a shared corporate card or even a personal card that needs to be expensed? Did we just make it harder for the accounting team to reconcile this spend at month’s end? 

The buying process of the SaaS management journey revolves around authorization, payment, and spend control:

  • Authorization: How do I get approval for new software?
  • Payment: How do I pay for it in a compliant way?
  • Reduce and control spend: How do I control the costs associated with this application as my business grows?

How SaaS management helps
Cledara’s unique approach to SaaS management rests in combining a software purchase and management platform in one. This approach allows for complete visibility of the software purchased and used at a company. With Cledara, you can create a virtual card for each subscription and manage software spend from one dashboard.

3. Manage

The next step is to manage your software. Once you’ve discovered and bought a software subscription, chances are your company will use it for years. That’s the part of the SaaS business model that investors love — the revenue that recurs every month.

Managing SaaS applications in one place

However, for you as the buyer, the question to ask pertains to sustained value. Is your software investment still worth it? Stop and think about some fundamental questions about your software, and you’ll see why we stress the importance of the journey of software.

We think about the Manage stage across five dimensions:

  • Automation: How can I automate administration tasks, like chasing invoices, bookkeeping, and reconciliation?
  • Onboarding: How do I facilitate leaver/joiner/mover processes as my company grows?
  • Manage: How do I manage the moving targets of budgets and spend?
  • Track Usage: How do I know which apps are used within my company? 
  • Compliance: How do I simplify the risk management process for my SaaS subscriptions? 

How SaaS management helps
SaaS management helps you manage all your software subscriptions from one location. That means you won’t have to dig through spreadsheets, search your inbox, or look through your bank statements to get information on the software your company uses. Cledara provides SaaS usage breakdowns, automates reconciliation, streamlines compliance, and more.

4. Cancel

It makes little sense to continue to pay for software that doesn’t provide value. Yet globally, it’s estimated that 30% of SaaS spend is wasted. Unlike buying software, some vendors make it tedious, opaque, and sometimes infuriating to cancel software.

The last stage of the SaaS management journey revolves around visibility, savings, and cancelations:

  • Visibility: See what software is being used by whom. 
  • Savings: Find that 30% wasted software in your company and cancel it. 
  • Cancellations: Simplify and standardize cancellations.

How SaaS management helps
Cledara makes it a snap to cancel any subscription in just one click because we assign a unique virtual card to each application, keeping you in complete control. Once you have proper visibility, you can establish savings by ensuring that software is in use — and, if not, canceling what you don’t need. It’s that simple.

However, for you as the buyer, the question to ask pertains to sustained value. Is your software investment still worth it? Stop and think about some fundamental questions about your software, and you’ll see why we stress the importance of the journey of software.

Get started today with a SaaS management platform

With thoughtful and robust SaaS management processes, companies can gain full visibility over subscriptions, figure out which purchases are driving ROI, and implement workflows to reduce wasted hours and team tension.

Finance teams — and, importantly, the rest of the organization — can manage all of their subscriptions, see who’s using them, get renewal reminders, automate reconciliations, and much more.

Cledara was founded to help companies like yours get visibility and control of the software you use so you can focus on what really matters: the growth of your business.

A holistic SaaS management process helps businesses continue to use SaaS solutions in the way they were intended — as innovations that save money and encourage collaboration between teams.

Book a demo today to learn how Cledara can help you take control of your SaaS subscriptions.

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Jenny Liu
Head of Finance @ Marshmallow