How SaaS cloud management platforms can help CIOs


Michael Fornander


September 15, 2023

Most companies are seeing a significant increase in SaaS adoption over the past years. On average, a company would be paying for more than 600 SaaS tools! 

While there is no doubt that the usage of cloud software boosts the employee productivity and motivation, as well as creates a technologically advanced corporate environment, it certainly poses some challenges to the CIOs and the IT departments as a whole.

The evolution of software usage in companies

Years ago, employees were working on big desktop computers and software used to be installed on-premise. All employees were using the same software tools, vetted and purchased by the company, and access to those tools was done via one centralized server.

Today, a company’s workforce is operating remotely, from any part of the world. And even though this trend has started over the past several years, it has most seriously been affected by the recent Covid pandemic, when working from home was not only allowed, but even encouraged by companies. With the start of the pandemic, it was the CIOs who took the burden of ensuring remotely working employees had anything needed to stay productive, including access to applications required to do their job. This included access to collaboration tools, identity management tools, web conferencing software and so on. As a result, the average SaaS spending of companies increased with more than 20% for Feb-April 2020, compared to the same period in the past year.

But, an ongoing CIO challenge presented by this shift to remote work and cloud SaaS, is ensuring that the SaaS inventory is secure, optimized and efficient enough, at any time. 

Questions that CIOs and IT departments should be addressing following the increase in the company SaaS stack

How to measure the ROI on SaaS usage?

SaaS usage is literally exploding, with employees being allowed to expense SaaS tools and staying unaware of cloud software signed up by other employees. It is estimated that 3/4th of the entire SaaS stack has actually been acquired by the employees themselves, with no approval or vetting by the IT department. Hence, CIOs are completely lacking visibility and awareness on the SaaS availability, usage and spend throughout the organization. Without having the full picture, they are unable to optimize the costs and figure out the SaaS ROI.

How to ensure centralized SaaS approval using a straightforward, quick and easy process?

It is clear that controlling SaaS spend requires an established and centralized process for SaaS approval and acquisition. But, employees have already been used to gaining immediate access to SaaS tools they need and they have the same expectations towards a centralized IT stack review process. If the tech process of getting access to an application is clumsy, takes time or requires too many steps, the employees will certainly go for the faster option - signing up a freemium account for the tool and expensing it later.

Setting up an easy, but reliable SaaS acquisition process and ensuring it works for everyone may be challenging though, particularly when ITs do not have visibility on the entire SaaS inventory.

How to balance between innovation and risk

With new SaaS tools being released on the market at an unprecedented rate, employees are looking to keep trying new solutions and further increase their productivity. At least 10 new SaaS apps are estimated to be entering a company, every month! When new SaaS software is entering the organization, others are being abandoned, exposing the company to security and compliance risks due to lack of vetting on the new SaaS. ITs are thus faced with the difficult challenge of managing the dynamic SaaS environment without hindering the employee innovation.

SaaS cloud management platforms and the benefits for CIOs

It is obvious that SaaS adoption will keep increasing. But, thanks to SaaS cloud management platforms like Viio, the CIOs and tech departments in general can handle SaaS management in a much more efficient manner.

What exactly is SaaS management?

SaaS management is the process of managing and controlling the SaaS inventory, optimizing the SaaS spend and reducing the risks. The process includes ongoing monitoring and visibility on the SaaS stack and managing the entire lifecycle of each application - from purchasing to offboarding.

SaaS Visibility

A first and required step in the SaaS management process is having the full picture on the entire SaaS stack used across the organization. Because you can only manage the tools you are aware of. This requires obtaining the full details on each application purchased by the employees, including: who signed it up, cost, renewal date, usage, contract terms, etc.

Applications vetting

When employees or teams are purchasing the applications themselves, there is no review on the compliance, data security and other risks the application may expose the company to. With a timely discovery on all SaaS obtained in the organization, ITs can either vet them for use or cancel them, if risks are identified.

Ensure a motivating and innovation-driving SaaS adoption process

With a reliable SaaS discovery process in place, CIOs can quickly find out which SaaS tools are secure and compliant, and which ones should be eliminated. Having quick access to the complete SaaS usage data, they can set up quick and efficient application vetting processes, ensuring that the employees are working with only the most innovative and secure tools. The availability of efficient processes that encourage innovation will definitely boost the engagement and motivation of employees.

Optimizing SaaS spend

With no visibility on the SaaS purchasing process, there is a big chance that the organization is wasting money for redundant applications, unused upgrades or seats. This is particularly the case with web conferencing accounts when multiple employees across the organization may sign up accounts for the same conferencing software.

But visibility on the SaaS inventory enables CIOs to immediately track redundant applications and eliminate the ones that are less used and not appreciated. They can also track unused upgrade features, or licenses and reassign them to another employee who may need them.

How to start using a SaaS cloud management platform?

Even if CIOs are aware of the existence of efficient SaaS cloud management platforms like Viio, they may be unsure about the steps they need to take. Here are the steps we recommend:

Set up a reliable process for discovering, optimizing and managing your SaaS inventory

Viio will help with all these steps, allowing you to immediately get control on all your SaaS costs and risks, along with a plan for managing your SaaS growth.

Select the SaaS cloud management platform most appropriate for your needs

It is not impossible to manage SaaS manually - using spreadsheets or other means. But, particularly with large organizations having a huge SaaS stack, mostly obtained by employees, this might be a very time-consuming task. Especially when this stack is getting changed on an ongoing basis, with new tools entering the organization and others leaving it.

With Viio cloud management platform, you can discover, optimize and manage your SaaS stack, in a time- and cost-efficient manner, while ensuring your employees always use the most-efficient and innovative tools to stay productive. Find out more - in a personalized demo.

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Michael Fornander

Chief Executive Officer

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