Why you should audit your company’s SaaS stack
It is possible to have too much of a good thing, and many businesses end up with unnecessarily large or over-complicated SaaS stacks.
Over time, a business’s needs also change. As you grow, your SaaS software is likely to have to keep up or get replaced by a more suitable solution. Indeed it’s reported that over two years as much as half of a company’s SaaS stack typically needs to change.
Of course, SaaS makes it much easier to change than if you had the software locally installed. And the rapid rate of change in the industry means there are always new alternatives coming along. So, how do you go about reducing your SaaS stack and ensure that you only have the applications that you really need?
The big picture
Because SaaS apps are so easy to acquire, it can be hard to keep track of which ones you have within your stack. The first step in taking control is to work out what you are using. You need to conduct an audit to find all of the tools that you are currently using and all of the software subscriptions that you now have active.
Once you know which SaaS apps you are running, you can start to determine which are essential to the running of your business and which are potentially not required.
You may find that the functions of some tools overlap, so you can reduce your SaaS stack by consolidating on just one or two that serve all of your needs. Many SaaS apps are also sold on a modular basis, so you need to review what you are actually using. Are you paying for some modules that you don’t use, for example?
When a new SaaS platform is launched, you need to look beyond the attractive features and consider how well it will work for your business. It is also essential to look at the company who built the platform. The SaaS market is fast-moving and providers may come and go.
In choosing any new SaaS app, you will also need to consider the security implications. How well is your data protected and how safe is the sign-in process, for example? In addition, there are compliance implications, such as where your data is stored, and meeting legislation such as GDPR.
Before you adopt a new SaaS solution, you will also need to consider how it will integrate, not just with the rest of your SaaS stack, but also with any applications that you still run in-house. SaaS can help to reduce the ‘silo’ effect where applications are kept separate from each other, but only if you choose those that are able to work together through proven integration.
One of the primary benefits of adopting SaaS solutions is that it can empower your business beyond the capabilities of your in-house IT team.
However, this is not to say that you don’t need to retain control. If you don’t have an overview of what is being used and where, then it’s very easy to end up with a bloated SaaS stack that duplicates functions and ends up with valuable data being lost.
What you need is a strategy that will allow your team the benefits and flexibility of rapid SaaS adoption, but which retains management overview. A good starting point is a pool of approved or preferred apps that will meet most needs. Anything that falls outside of these can then be subject to additional scrutiny before being added to the stack.