The Definitive Guide to

SaaS User Management

Learn why stakeholders need to manage SaaS users, what are the main benefits, and how it brings more efficiency and better security compliance within your enterprise.

► Find out how to increase user productivity with SaaS management!

Introduction

In a digital age where cloud-based applications have become the norm, accurate and up-to-date user data is essential to keep all stakeholders happy. Ultimately, if you don't know who is using which application within your company, it is hard to manage or even optimize SaaS licenses and spend.

Read on to learn about successful SaaS user management practices and how to track employee's SaaS usage to maximize productivity.

 

What is SaaS user management?

SaaS user management is a process to manage and control the access employees have to SaaS products within an organization. The more centralized the SaaS user data is, the more effective are these management efforts.

After all, the days when every employee had a pre-installed program on their assigned computer are in the past and companies depend on various tools to create full SaaS visibility and maximum usability for their employees.

A proper SaaS user management platform with a comprehensive overview of all SaaS applications used and accessed is useful for IT, Finance, HR, InfoSec, and other departments that have to manage SaaS directly and indirectly.

In the next sections, learn about the motivations behind SaaS user management and why it is important to have a single source of truth.

 

What are the goals of managing SaaS users?

Over the past years, software management has become increasingly decentralized. This is partly due to the fact that almost everyone feels empowered to procure cloud-based software solutions to get the job done. And at most companies, it is very unlikely that multiple user and app spreadsheets are being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

This is precisely why SaaS account user management tools are needed in every enterprise that uses SaaS. If implemented and used correctly, one single source will allow you to reach the following goals:

  • Increase productivity of all SaaS users within the company as you get to allocate the right resources to the right users.
  • Improve collaboration with the IT department that has relinquished control over software due to decentralized SaaS procurement.
  • Bring stakeholders together when they need to gather all important data on SaaS users – apps, cloud spend, usage patterns, and behavior, all within one system.
  • Secure the organization by having company-wide SaaS visibility

In the next section, learn in detail why stakeholders need to manage SaaS usage to get the best out of their cloud-based solutions.

Why do stakeholders need to manage SaaS users?

Being in control of SaaS products and knowing who uses them should always sound like a good idea to any stakeholder. However, SaaS user management is not only “nice to have” but essential practice for organizations who operate in the cloud. Below are some of the main reasons why you should manage SaaS users.

SaaS growth: The quick adoption of SaaS products leads to more users, more tools, and ultimately, more licenses to manage for each user. This can lead to inefficiencies when it comes to the company workflow.

Decentralized SaaS purchasing: SaaS solutions do not share a common link or platform which makes a centralized management approach without the right tool impossible.

Replacing outdated systems: Most companies still use spreadsheets that are not synced or updated automatically – with a 20% employee turnover in the US, these records tend to be rather useless.

Inefficient processes: With an increased number of SaaS solutions, there is also more administrative work that can lead to inefficient business processes and security loopholes.

Compliance: Operating in the cloud means that there are more regulatory policies that companies need to adhere to. It’s important to know how the user data is used and where it's used and stored. Thus, unmanaged users pose a security threat.

Tracking SaaS usage and adoption: Slow adoption can be an indicator that employees need more help to adopt the SaaS tool and low usage can also bring an opportunity to cut costs.

Remember that there are also a few things that make it much harder to manage SaaS software compared to traditional solutions. For one, SaaS offers different roles with different user access models as well as various licenses that can be free or paid.

Plus, SaaS vendors store data in different ways and are not all in the same vendor lifecycle (e.g. free trial, IT-approved apps, IT-unapproved apps, or unused but not yet cancelled).

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The key benefits of a SaaS user management solution

The main advantage of using an intelligent SaaS user management tool like LeanIX is the fact that you can replace an old system or multiple spreadsheets with a modern single source of truth that syncs all information automatically and helps multiple departments and their leaders. Below, find out how different internal stakeholders benefit from a SaaS user management platform.

Finance: With direct access to SaaS usage data, finance heads can budget and forecast the company’s cloud spend more accurately. They can easily see how much each license costs and how utilized a particular SaaS solution is. A user management platform offers them information like the anticipated monthly and annual SaaS spend, the spend by department or user, and the name of the application owner which is important for SaaS optimization efforts.

IT: The biggest benefit for IT lies in SaaS visibility. IT staff can quickly retrieve information on which users subscribed to unmanaged SaaS. They also get to identify which SaaS applications were used by a former employee and reallocate the respective licenses. They can also track the adoption progress and identify which employees need additional training after the initial SaaS implementation.

HR: With a SaaS user management platform, HR can make sure that new employees get the right access and the right tools for the position they filled by looking up the list of SaaS applications by the department.

Procurement: Procurement departments can use user's usage data and negotiate existing SaaS renewals with the vendor. When the usage is lower than the contractual value, procurement has the chance to optimize SaaS by matching it to the actual usage. Important information they can retrieve from the platform includes items like SaaS renewal dates, service usage by user and department as well as the names of application owners.

InfoSec: The InfoSec department can minimize SaaS security risks by tracking which apps employees are using and whether they are still compliant with the company's security policies. If the company migrated to another SaaS solution, they can also monitor which users are still resorting to the old solution.

 

Best practices to manage SaaS users

Once you have installed a SaaS user management platform, you should take advantage of all of its features and benefits to maximize the value that SaaS solutions can bring to your company. Below are 6 best practices:

  1. Discover all SaaS applications your employees are using to create maximum visibility.
  2. Identify application owners and reassign ownership if an employee has left the company.
  3. Build a proactive SaaS renewal strategy with a renewal calendar that notifies you when it’s time to review a SaaS contract for re-negotiation.
  4. Track SaaS usage and utilization by users, so you know which applications are business-critical and which ones are obsolete.
  5. Identify any new SaaS services recently added by users across departments.
  6. Promote SaaS services that increase productivity, collaboration, and follow security standards.

 

Conclusion

SaaS solutions have revolutionized how modern companies operate on a daily basis. And while they offer a multitude of advantages, they have also created new security risks and challenged traditional management styles that need to be revised and adjusted.

As more and more data is stored off-premise, enterprises rely on SaaS user management platforms that create maximum SaaS visibility and facilitate SaaS vendor management at the same time.

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Answers to frequently asked questions on SaaS Management

What is SaaS user management?

SaaS user management is a process to manage and control the access employees have to SaaS products within an organization. The more centralized the SaaS user data is, the more effective are these management efforts.

What are SaaS user management best practices?

1. Discover all SaaS applications your employees are using to create maximum visibility.
2. Identify application owners and reassign ownership if an employee has left the company.
3. Build a proactive SaaS renewal strategy with a renewal calendar that notifies you when it’s time to review a SaaS contract for re-negotiation.
4. Track SaaS usage and utilization by users, so you know which applications are business-critical and which ones are obsolete.
5. Identify any new SaaS services recently added by users across departments.
6. Promote SaaS services that increase productivity, collaboration, and follow security standards.

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