What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) refers to software that is developed, managed, hosted and delivered via the internet by one or more service providers. SaaS, is a popular and cost-effective way of accessing software required by an organization. Instead of installing software on-premise, SaaS companies enable businesses to rent software that’s hosted centrally. Payment is typically in the form of a monthly or yearly subscription fee. It is a promising solution and is garnering interest among organizations and business managers, with a market forecasted to reach $113.1 billion in 2022 (Gartner forecasts).
What makes SaaS so popular?
Software as a Service is considered the most popular topic of discussion in the IT market today. Forrester Research estimates that the SaaS market will grow at a speed of 18.9% year-on-year. It is not surprising that the SaaS market is expanding rapidly. This type of business model has plenty of advantages that attract business managers and new entrepreneurs. The following are the primary reasons for the high SaaS adoption rate seen during recent times.
- SaaS adoption eliminates the upfront cost of purchase and installation involved in on-premise applications, as well as avoids ongoing costs like maintenance and upgrades.
- Businesses can avoid spending large amounts of money on hardware installations. SaaS applications can be easily accessed over the internet and have little or no hardware costs.
- Furthermore, pay-as-you-go models allow businesses to pay for only what they use and not pay heavily for un-used products/features of on-premise installations.
- SaaS is especially beneficial for small businesses because it provides cost-effective access to expensive, feature-rich software that might have been otherwise unobtainable through conventional methods.
- Businesses can mitigate the risk of expensive software by using the subscription-based model.
- For most SaaS applications, installation is as simple as having an internet connection and acquiring a log-in. There is typically no hardware/software installation which saves time.
- Maintenance responsibilities are shifted from the organization’s IT department to the SaaS Vendor. This eliminates extra work hours and downtime that might have been necessary to upgrade/maintain conventional software.
- SaaS apps tend to have a smaller learning curve which means quicker adoption across the workforce.
3. Scalability & Accessibility
- The SaaS pay-as-you-go model provides tremendous flexibility and options. Because the software is hosted externally by a vendor, changing your usage plan is easy and can be done without advance planning and notice.
- Businesses can scale at their own pace without incurring significant costs in upgrading systems and software.
- Web-based access allows subscribers to access the software easily from any location with internet capabilities.
- Updates for conventional software installations require enormous amounts of time and money.
- Version discrepancies between members of the workforce can lead to compatibility issues during such updates. With SaaS however, subscribers face no such issues as they always access an already upgraded service.
Rapid SaaS adoption. What are the pitfalls?
In recent times, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has emerged as a preferred distribution model for software applications. The relatively low costs of license subscriptions, and virtually no deployment lead times, have encouraged businesses to adopt the applications quickly.
However, uncontrolled proliferation of SAAS apps have their own pitfalls. The following are some of the common pitfalls of adopting SaaS at a rapid pace.
Shadow IT – uncontrolled adoption of new SaaS apps increases the use of unsanctioned and potentially harmful apps (shadow IT or shadow SaaS).
Data Security – Sensitive corporate data may be at risk as the unsanctioned SaaS apps do not go through a thorough Security evaluation process typically undertaken by the IT security teams.
Off-boarding – Former employees may still use SaaS applications and create additional vulnerabilities to data leaks.
Overspending – due to lack of proper financial control and monitoring, redundant or duplicate applications add up quickly and cause budget overspending.
In some cases, individual workers simply opt into these services using company credit cards. In other cases, different departments may have subscribed to the same SaaS product independently. In the absence of a lengthy and formal purchasing process involving the business, IT teams, most of these purchases go unreported to the business IT teams.
Loss of Control – Previously, software purchases were typically made through lengthy formal purchasing processes involving the IT teams in every such purchase. However, since acquiring tech tools has become easy, the problem of bloat and loss of control in enterprise IT has also emerged. On the average, enterprises could be using hundreds of services across various business functions, many of which may be underutilized or even unnecessary. The IT teams are typically unaware of many of these subscriptions.
How can these challenges be handled?
The risks associated with SaaS stack bloat mean that the stewardship of the business IT teams is instrumental in ensuring that the business makes the right technology choices. Business It teams must also ensure that the SaaS apps will work well with existing on-premises IT and enterprise software.
The following steps can be taken in order to prevent IT Bloat due to decentralized SaaS use.
Before an attempt is made to manage SaaS usage, it is important for one to gain a clear picture of SaaS use in the organization. It is advisable to create a comprehensive and up-to-date list of all subscriptions and users that are active within the enterprise. One should make a note of key details including the application names, subscription costs, registered users, access credentials, and subscription duration, and compliance and legal information. This information is essential to formulating a strategy on how to streamline and manage these SaaS apps.
Tools such as CloudNuro, meanwhile, can help IT admins in application discovery and regular audits. By integrating with an organization’s web browsers and single sign-on providers, the SaaS usage within the network can be tracked easily. This solution can also monitor employee activities so that SaaS apps are automatically identified for review whenever users sign in.
The list obtained after the application discovery and audit should help identify potentially redundant functionalities and services.
Teams may use various tools that have intersecting feature sets. There may be many SaaS apps available with similar features, and teams may have subscribed to many such apps to cover features available in one that others lack.
By understanding these overlaps and the strengths of each tool, business IT teams may be able to identify redundant subscriptions and those that do not fit the current processes of the business. This allows for IT teams to retain only the services that perform best leading to significant savings for the organization.
In order to offer the maximum benefit to an organization, SaaS Ops solutions like CloudNuro integrate with a large array of SaaS offerings. Along with Integration, they offer many automation capabilities (e.g., automated user provisioning and de-provisioning) related to any of the connected solutions.
SaaS Ops services ease the product maintenance burden on the IT teams. For instance, software updates are often deployed automatically, unlike with conventional software, where IT teams get involved in the rollout of patches to endpoints themselves. However, monitoring is still required for such apps to ensure that updates to these apps do not introduce any issues to the ecosystem.
Such products are also able to offer visibility into SaaS usage, thereby allowing IT admins to track application usage and manage spends.
Furthermore, SaaS Ops solutions like CloudNuro can perform functions similar to security tools, especially around access management. These platforms are designed to provide complete visibility and function as central command points for all SaaS governance, management, and security needs.
SaaS Ops services allow user/access monitoring of SaaS apps ensuring access security. For example, left untracked, some employees may be able to retain access-sensitive business through their own SaaS subscriptions long after they’ve left the company. SaaS Ops Solutions like CloudNuro help plug these security risks in a timely and cost effective manner.
Keywords: Information technology (IT) adoption; Software-as-a-service (SaaS); Technology-SaaS Ops.