Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 5+ years, as an ITAM professional you will be more than aware of Software as a Service (SaaS) and the challenges our profession faces in managing spend and keeping SaaS under control.
At the time of writing, we are entering a new financial year for a number of global organisations, so it is time to look ahead to our ITAM strategies for the next 12 months. Sure, you may have something more pressing that having SaaS management high on your list like that SAP audit letter you’ve just received, your business case for that extra head-count you desperately need or trying to implement a new technology.
I’ve spoken to organisations who have a firm stance on “SaaS is the devil – we control our SaaS estate like Fort Knox.”
But with SaaS becoming a huge part of an ITAM professionals daily life, I’m urging you to get SaaSy this year and build a governance model that allows you to control your SaaS estate but also enable your stakeholders to take advantage of it.
Be firm, but fair
It is so easy for an ITAM professional to put huge barriers up and want full control of all SaaS elements within your organisation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it may not be the correct approach. What I personally have found works best, and from speaking to others, is a governance model that encourages the use of SaaS due to it being so accessible and flexible whilst making sure it is procured and used in the correct way.
I’ve spoken to organisations who have a firm stance on “SaaS is the devil – we control our SaaS estate like Fort Knox.” Whilst that may ensure a lack of over-spend and micromanaging each SaaS instance, can those organisations and their stakeholders truly say they are getting the most of our their SaaS investments? Unfortunately, the answer 9/10 is ‘No’.
And that’s a real shame. The whole point of SaaS (other than a constant revenue stream for software vendors) is to enable your stakeholders with flexible options for them to achieve a project target, meet a personal objective or deliver an immense sales pitch worth billions!
Absolutely push that ITAM needs to ‘own’ the management of SaaS, but don’t make ITAM the constant ‘No’ team because you’re not confident in how to manage your SaaS environment. So, in summary:
Do – create a defined and communicated SaaS process, policy and governance controls to ENABLE the proactive usage of your SaaS solutions. If you see customers going outside of your defined governance parameters, absolutely pull them up on it.
Don’t – think of SaaS as the devil and say ‘No’ to customers wanting to use a SaaS products. This will annoy your customer base and push them to finding alternative, unapproved ways of gaining access to the SaaS they want.
The whole point of SaaS (other than a constant revenue stream for software vendors) is to enable your stakeholders with flexible options for them to achieve a project target, meet a personal objective or deliver an immense sales pitch.
Technology can help
If you’re worried that you haven’t got the means to manage or track SaaS licensing/consumption effectively due to a lack of technology, then fear not! There are options out there. The major ITAM vendors have invested heavily recently in either developing their own SaaS modules, or buying dedicated SaaS technologies and integrating them within their product.
Therefore, if you are an existing ITAM tool customer contact your Account Manager to understand what they can provide in the SaaS space.
If you want a pure, dedicated SaaS solution then there are plenty of those too. The ITAM Review are actually running an in-depth piece of research, which you can find here.
Don’t worry, get SaaSy!
Gone are the claims that SaaS means the end of ITAM or SAM. It can be overwhelming for some to get to grips with but it doesn’t need to give you nightmares or cost your organisation millions in wasted spend. Controlling usage (but not being over-bearing) and making sure you have effective processes and governance behind SaaS will help your organisation embrace all the benefits SaaS has to offer whilst not blowing your IT budget on unwanted SaaS spend!
This is just a high-level blog on SaaS management – we could go a lot more in-depth with actually building a SaaS strategy and what the processes around SaaS governance would look like. If you want to know more, or help/advice please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.