Increasing IT efficiency in post-Covid times


Michael Fornander


September 15, 2023

The post-Covid recession has resulted in spending cuts across many industries. And as a Forrester research showed, this cut is also affecting the tech spending, with at least 5% cut estimated for most companies.

For IT this means a need for increased operational efficiency, so more could be done with less. What tools and best practices could be used, however, to increase the IT efficiency?

Continue replacing on-premise software with SaaS

In the last few years we have seen a major change in the way software is being used, with a fast shift from on-premise software to software in the cloud. However, even though this shift has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic and the need to keep employees productive while working from home, at least 30% of software used in companies is still on-premise one. This means ongoing costs for server infrastructure, security, backups, disaster recovery procedures and of course, manpower to supervise all this, including handling support requests.

But, there’s a lot more to on-premise software costs: that hardware and software requires being upgraded, reinstalled, patched, maintained, etc. and all this needs to be accomplished outside the working hours of the people working with it. Meaning extra pay and likely post-upgrade disruptions during work hours, which on their own bring further costs.

On the other hand, cloud software saves a company all this hassle - it only needs to select the right cloud apps for work and then pay the subscription fees, plus possibly small customization or API work. Everything else is handled by the apps themselves.

Centralize the IT apps management

The IT functions in a company may be centralized or not, depending on the scale and innovativeness of the company. Large companies usually have the IT functions centralized while smaller companies that need to act fast and be innovative, are usually practicing more decentralized IT management.

But, when it comes to cost savings, being more centralized certainly helps to cut down expense. The challenge, however, is to balance between centralization and flexibility, so employees can still be encouraged to innovate without following complex procedures.

SaaS apps are certainly facilitating the employee innovation, but might be too time-consuming to manage by IT, with no centralized approach. Logging into each app admin console, reviewing privacy, and defining settings like access to application data, users, files and others, especially considering that each app has its own admin interface, may be too much of a hassle for ITs. And that is a repetitive, boring and error-prone task in general. 

Frequently the burden of SaaS app reviews is distributed between different IT teams, but this means that there isn’t one centralized place that controls and manages all apps in the organization. As a result, policies may not be applied in a consistent manner, across the entire stack of SaaS apps and this may result in lack of compliance with standards and poor data security.

The solution is to be able to manage all SaaS apps, along with users, policies, data, etc. from one single place, so SaaS management can be reliable, faster and error-proof and IT efficiency can be increased.

Ensure optimized SaaS spend

It is quite easy, especially for big organizations, to end up with hundreds of unused licenses and keep paying them for months or even years on end. And while the monthly subscription price of such licenses may be really small, it does accumulate when it comes to hundreds or even thousands of such unused SaaS seats.

Having a SaaS management platform that can help identify duplicate, redundant, unused or underused SaaS licenses and rightsize your SaaS applications can certainly help with cutting down the tech spend.

Take advantage of automation for IT tasks

According to a survey, approximately a third of ITs report spending half of their worktime in manual, repetitive tasks. But, automation can have a big cost impact, reducing human errors, increasing performance, but mostly - freeing the IT time and letting them focus instead on tasks that are strategic for the company. Examples of IT processes that could most benefit from automation are:

Employee onboarding and offboarding

An employee on- and offboarding process includes tons of small tasks that need to be checked off a list - tasks that are critical for data security, compliance and smooth business operations. But even with a checklist, you are very likely to omit something, and double-checking the tasks to ensure nothing was missed further adds to the time consumed.

The same applies to onboarding an employee, where the new hire needs to have an account created, with the appropriate access permissions, in each of the SaaS tools they would need for their job. But entering each SaaS tool separately, creating accounts and setting permissions is a time-consuming, and boring, completely non-creative task that can easily leave room for error. With automation, the time required for off- or onboarding a person can well be confined within an hour, and likelihood for errors totally eliminated.

Ongoing changes on employee access permissions

Onboarding and offboarding are one-time actions per employee, but throughout the entire lifecycle of the employees in the organization, there are numerous SaaS access-related that need to be performed. Some of those are adding the employee to a project, moving the employee to another position/department, restricting his account following security attack on the account, password reset and many others. 

Each of these would require change in access rights, security actions, revoking access from files, calendars and other assets, to name a few, all of them done within shortest terms. Within a huge organization, handling all these in a timely manner becomes a true challenge, particularly in a situation where spending is getting cut on all ends, including for IT staff increase. With automation, all these repetitive employee lifecycle management tasks can be automated, increasing the IT efficiency, reducing errors and cutting down on IT costs.

Tasks related to staying secure and compliant 

Ensuring data security and compliance with standards requires numerous regular checks - checks on sharing settings for documents and follow-up corrective actions if necessary, manual management of sharing settings for groups, calendars, files, folders, etc., manual preparation of security and compliance reporting documentation, manual checking of administrative access for all SaaS apps and revoking of access for unneeded admins and so on. Only few organizations, however, can afford to allocate time for manual checks on a regular basis, and often those checks are not performed in the timely manner required. Others cannot dedicate neither manpower nor time for regular security and compliance checks. As a result, many organizations are running a high risk of exposure to data security breaches and non-compliance.

In the above case, considering automation to ensure data security and compliance is not ‘good to have’ but, rather, must-have.

Taking timely action when devices w/ sensitive company data get lost or stolen

The Covid crisis showed that SaaS is an enabler for continued employee efficiency, in situations where circumstances require work from home. But with work from home comes the inevitable usage of personal devices to access company SaaS accounts. Company devices also get used at home and other non-office locations.

When such a device gets lost or stolen, however, the company is immediately exposed to security breaches and ITs should take immediate actions to revoke all access. With automation, the company can ensure that all needed access revoking steps are 100% completed, within shortest terms, at a fraction of the time it would take an IT for manual execution of those tasks. 

How do you evaluate the efficiency of your IT operations?

We have seen above some of the IT tasks whose efficiency could get vastly increased via automation. But how do evaluate whether or not your IT management is efficient enough? There are several key points you should be looking at: 

  • The visibility you have on your SaaS stack, on its data security, compliance and cost
    This includes number of apps reviewed and approved by IT, apps not yet reviewed, apps the IT has admin access, apps unused or underused and others.

  • The time is takes to perform SaaS management tasks
    Here you can look at the time spent for key tasks like onboarding and offboarding employees, managing the employee tasks related to their lifecycle in the organization, performing security audits and reporting, performing compliance audits, etc.
  • The overall effectiveness of the IT team
    Here you can evaluate the number of SaaS-related tickets, IT member to user ratio, employee satisfaction with IT, time saved by automation and other metrics.

How can a SaaS management platform like Viio help with boosting the IT department SaaS management efficiency?

You get centralized management on all your SaaS apps

With a single place to manage all your SaaS, you get full visibility on your SaaS stack, on key metrics you need to measure, and see any potential for SaaS optimization, right from your Dashboard screen.

Manual work is vastly reduced by using workflows

Rather than checking off long checklists of tasks, related to on- and offboarding for example, you can have a workflow automate the execution of all those tasks for you. You can save hours of work and ensure the employee has been fully onboarded and immediately becoming productive, or completely offboarded in a timely manner, ensuring the organizational data is kept secure. You can also use workflows to apply policies across all apps, assign access roles and others.

SaaS spend is optimized

Viio platform can track the usage of all SaaS apps and automatically initiate follow-up actions based on workflows. For example, it can track unused license seats based on last login date and kick off a workflow that rightsizes the license respectively. This feature alone may bring the benefit of huge monthly savings. 

Viio can help IT teams to become even more valuable for their organizations by identifying the areas of inefficiency for IT and use automation to replace manual work in those areas. With time and cost savings realized thanks to using Viio, IT teams can bring more value to their teams, while at the same time fitting within the reduced tech budgets caused by the Covid pandemic. 

Looking to learn more on how Viio can help increase the IT efficiency? Book a personalized demo!

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Michael Fornander

Chief Executive Officer

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