The remote work era can lead to SaaS application chaos. These management platforms help to maintain an overview. Photo: A.Solano – shutterstock.com
Thanks to the pandemic-related remote work trend, many companies are faced with a flood of new, cloud-based applications that are used company-wide. This continuous growth of SaaS applications in companies is becoming a challenge for IT managers in particular: They not only need to know what is being deployed, but also whether the applications are secure, compliant and on budget.
The market for management tools and platforms that can handle the SaaS proliferation is booming in parallel with the explosion of SaaS applications themselves: according to Gartner, by 2026 50 percent of all companies using multiple SaaS applications will be on board a SaaS management solution for centralized usage and management.
According to experts, companies should consider SaaS management software if:
They notice an increase in subscription costs;
multiple departments start buying the same software;
those responsible for security raise concerns about whether the apps used are secure and compliant;
managing software purchases in an Excel spreadsheet is a nightmare.
If you are considering a SaaS management solution, you should know which core features should be on board. Any tool for SaaS management should be able to do these three main tasks:
Automatically discover applications within an organization's infrastructure;
manage and automate administrative functions such as onboarding and offboarding;
Provide a central point for enforcement of application and privacy policies within the SaaS portfolio.
As additional features and functions, some tools offer, for example:
Role-based access controls;
the ability to document, cancel, transfer and update software licenses;
a central reporting system for executives or compliance audits;
the ability for admins to create a catalog of approved apps for employees to download;
Monitoring employee acceptance and use of apps;
predicting future needs and/or SaaS app recommendation services to reduce app overlap and optimize spend.
Many automation features rely on integrations with SaaS providers, so it's important to do your research beforehand.
With many vendors offering standalone SaaS management software, and traditional software asset management (SAM) vendors also offering SaaS components, every organization should be able to find a product that fits their specific needs. The following list focuses on pure providers of SaaS management tools – however, you will also find some SAM options below. The type of provider you choose ultimately depends on whether your company already uses a SAM tool or whether you are looking for tools that can manage on-premises applications in addition to SaaS applications. We have selected the following products, listed alphabetically, based on independent research and interviews with analysts. The list does not claim to be complete and is intended to provide an initial overview.
BetterCloud platform features include:
Onboarding and offboarding,
Least privilege access,
Workflow automation and
centralized management of multiple instances of popular SaaS applications.
The company offers integrations with more than 60 different software-as-a-service offerings, including Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and Okta.
This SaaS management platform offers various organizational, automation and security functions, including:
Classic software asset management,
IT Asset Management,
Vendor and employee workflows,
Auditing as well
G2 provides a software marketplace where users can search, buy and manage their software and services. Recently, G2 Track has been helping companies to find and manage the applications used in their company. The platform also enables companies to:
To manage software and expenses,
Track usage trends of employees for added value,
Review contracts and compliance regulations as well
Show license and budget trends.
This platform uses machine learning models to detect "uncontrolled" apps and ensure compliance. In addition, the SaaS management tool provides recommendations for optimizing app spend and processes. Productiv can provide usage data for more than 20,000 apps, including:
Onboarding and workflow automation for SaaS applications are also available.
Features of this platform include:
a subscription calendar to track historical, current and future issues,
a centralized dashboard for provider data, contracts and invoices,
Alerts regarding upcoming contract renewals as well
Security alerts regarding vulnerable vendors and ex-employees.
Stackshine also offers services such as provider search and contract negotiation support. In addition, surveys can be conducted among employees to identify the most popular and least popular applications.
This platform automates:
The app detection,
The expenditure optimization,
The operation and
the compliance of SaaS applications in an enterprise.
Spend monitoring includes vendor and license management as well as chargeback reporting. The management platform can automate SaaS-related processes for the employee lifecycle, includes an application catalog and provides details on software usage. Torii also includes automated risk analysis and access control features, as well as security alerts.
UK-based Trelica automates SaaS detection to:
Identify shadow IT installations,
Optimize spending on applications,
Automate IT operations and
To contact end users.
Engagement data can be used to determine savings from unused licenses. Other features include automation of employee onboarding, security and access risks, and the ability to measure user satisfaction. Integrations with numerous identity providers, SSO applications, financial tools and enterprise applications are also available.
This provider aims to simplify the world's transition to SaaS by helping companies adopt and operate their software stack through an intelligent dashboard. Zluri platform features include:
The intelligent recognition of applications,
The optimization of application costs,
The automation of on- and offboarding,
Application usage data as well
Real-time notifications and reports.
This system can:
Discover applications across the enterprise,
Optimize spend and uncover inefficiencies,
Manage contract renewals and spending forecasts and
ensure compliance with policies through governance processes.
Organizations looking to manage both on-premises and SaaS applications should consider software asset management (SAM), IT service management (ITSM), or IT asset management (ITAM) offerings, many of which are beginning to offer SaaS management capabilities as well. Vendors in this area include:
We also discovered other tools that, while having one or two of the top three SaaS management capabilities (discovery, management, and security), are not currently considered a full SaaS management system. Vendors like Airbase and Vendr, for example, offer expense management capabilities – others, such as CoreView, Sonar Software, and AvePoint, offer SaaS management capabilities, but only for specific products, such as Microsoft 365 or Salesforce. (FM)
This post is based on an article from our US sister publication Computerworld.