Why SaaS visibility matters
In order to effectively manage SaaS ecosystems, IT needs:
- Full visibility into applications, access, drill down usage and costs
- Centralize knowledge in a Single Source of Truth
- Automation of time-consuming and error-prone manual SaaS management processes
The first and most foundational capability of SaaS management is the ability to discover all applications within a company. Effective SaaS management isn’t possible without this visibility. IT, finance, procurement and line of business teams need this insight to inform actions and to create a Single Source of Truth based on accurate information that people can trust.
It’s important that the discovery process is automated and does not rely on manual processes like employee self-reporting and searching through company expenses.
Automated discovery uncovers all the applications in an organization's tech stack in real-time—including the Shadow IT apps that end-users have integrated with core business apps. It also collects important data about those discovered applications. The beauty of discovery is that it illuminates all Shadow IT applications and provides more comprehensive information about known apps without any effort on the part of IT staff or other employees.
Effective SaaS management also requires comprehensive information on application usage and users so IT can see which applications are “fan favorites” and which should be removed, downsized, de-risked, or re-evaluated. Ultimately, this newfound visibility puts the power back in the hands of IT, finance and procurement. They can use this information to make critical decisions about the different applications within their organization to reduce exposure to data security risks, deprovision former employees or contractors, save costs by right-sizing licenses, remove duplicate apps, prevent surprise contract renewals and enter future application contract negotiations with an upper hand.
With full visibility into an organization’s tech stack, businesses can more easily uphold security and compliance policies as well as improve their SaaS spend management, all without squashing employee ingenuity.
When this occurs, Shadow IT no longer represents looming security threats. Instead, it means a team of innovative and creative experimenters can continue to be empowered to find the most effective applications to accomplish goals and drive the company forward.
What’s more, with SaaS management tools, organizations can have all this knowledge in a readily accessible, centralized place—a Single Source of Truth (SSOT).
Single Source of Truth
A Single Source of Truth is where all of an organization’s SaaS-related data is normalized, organized and, most importantly, constantly updated, ensuring its integrity. SaaS management tools automatically gather, structure and maintain this data without the risk of human error.
This SSOT then provides a centralized place for all stakeholders in a company to have visibility into their SaaS applications. That visibility is important since application management is often distributed across multiple departments and teams. By centralizing all the critical information, IT, finance, security and compliance and other departments all gain access to information around costs, usage, risks and more. Simply put, a Single Source of Truth puts everyone on the same page.
As critical as it is to have complete real-time visibility and a single source of truth, it’s equally critical to be able to easily act upon that knowledge. Because otherwise, what good is it?
SaaS management tools and their automated workflow engines enable IT, security, finance, procurement, and business teams to act on those insights, without any effort. This enables companies to keep up with the SaaS tsunami that is sweeping their organizations and ensure that key tasks don’t fall through the cracks. It also removes the risk of human error that may corrupt the Single Source of Truth, or lead to a costly security breach.
Flexible workflow automation can be tailored to each organization’s unique needs and set up in minutes. Once IT sets the rules, conditions and processes they want their SaaS management tool to follow, everything will be automatically executed. This can be everything from canceling unused or duplicate SaaS subscriptions, deprovisioning unused licenses and unapproved users and onboarding approved users, to notifying application owners of upcoming renewals, notifying employees who haven’t recently used an app that they will be offboarded unless they contact IT and much more.
An ideal SaaS management plan entails having software managing other software. In other words, a SaaS management tool that can act as the one platform to rule them all.