A key challenge in managing SaaS: Removing redundant applications


Michael Fornander


September 15, 2023

If you are using project management, collaboration and communication tools in your SaaS stack, you are most likely faced with application redundancy. Functional redundancy is one of the biggest issues when managing SaaS and it can contribute to a big portion of your unnecessary SaaS spend.

How do you identify the overlapping of features between different SaaS tools and optimize your stack?

What are Redundant Applications?

These are applications that have similar features like other applications the organization has subscribed for. Eliminating redundant applications is a key step when managing SaaS, since it directs all users to a single application rather than splitting the users among several software assets serving the same purpose.

Having multiple overlapping applications in an organization has several negative consequences: the SaaS spend gets excessively increased, the buying power of the organization is reduced and compliance /security risks are higher. With all users using the same application, the organization has the power to negotiate for an enterprise-level license, under much more favorable terms - terms related to pricing per seat, security, upgrades and more. It can also ensure that the application gets regularly reviewed and seats purchased get fully utilized or downgraded if not, this optimizing SaaS spend.

What is the reason behind so many redundant SaaS applications?

Technology advancements and the need for higher productivity are definitely a key driving force behind the increasing inventory of organizational SaaS tools. But what is the reason behind the increasing redundancy of corporate SaaS apps?

SaaS acquisition by employees

With the option for expensing purchased SaaS apps, employees can acquire applications with no IT oversight. Research has shown that as much as a third of the applications get obtained by employees. This is one reason the company could be paying for redundant SaaS apps.

Specialization of SaaS apps

Considering the specific needs of the different departments in the organization, many project management, collaboration and other tools have tuned their interface and features to the needs and goals of those groups of users. Hence, it is natural to have a subscription for a task management tool for developers, another for marketers, a third for sales, etc. 

Considering the above, eliminating redundant applications during the process of managing SaaS proves to be a complex task that requires carefully examining both the features of the tool and the goals/departments it is serving.

Typical redundant SaaS tools

There are several types of SaaS applications that are very likely to share the majority of their features with other apps from the same type. Among the top redundant apps are:

Employee collaboration apps

In a workspace that becomes more and more digital, collaboration tools are compensating the need for live coordination between the teams. Tools like Confluence and slack are affordable, product-focused and meet similar needs, hence they would usually end up on the list of redundant apps the company is paying for.

Web conferencing apps

The use of web conferencing tools has been steadily growing over the past years, but the Covid pandemic and switch to working from home for a big part of the workforce has caused a dramatic increase in the usage of online conferencing SaaS. Tools like Google Meet, Zoom, GoToMeeting offer free or freemium subscriptions, causing numerous accounts being signed up throughout the organization and high level of redundancy for those applications.

Online training apps

There are numerous online learning tools offering training for specific audiences - sales, marketing, developers, etc. While they all have overlapping functionality, due to the specific learning content they offer it might be complex to identify the redundant apps.

Project management apps

On the project management end there is also an abundance of tools offering similar functionality like Trello, Asana, etc. However, with the different teams having specific preferences on the tools they want to use, it could be challenging to eliminate a specific app from the SaaS stack, even though on a corporate level it may indeed be viewed as redundant.

Managing your SaaS: Steps to reducing apps redundancy

Reducing apps redundancy requires that you first have a complete record of your SaaS inventory. Once you’ve created that, you can take the next steps:

  1. Enrich your SaaS tool data, adding cost, renewal date, category, function, seats, privacy and license agreement terms
  2. Obtain feedback from your employees regarding their sentiments towards each of the duplicating applications, and let them reason their preferences
  3. Find out the extent to which each application is utilized - both in terms of seats being used and frequency of usage
  4. Based on the understanding obtained above, select the set of applications that would keep serving your organization’s needs
  5. Eliminate the tools that are unused, as well as the ones that are too costly but serve the same purpose as another tool

Removing the expenditure for duplicate functionality applications requires careful examination and consideration, but may considerably cut the SaaS spend. How can Viio help with cutting down on application redundancy? Find out in a personalized demo!

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Michael Fornander

Chief Executive Officer

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