SaaS Management
Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

SaaS Management

Learn about SaaS management and SaaS management platforms.

Over the past decade, SaaS (Software as a Service) has become a staple for many businesses. And as companies embrace technology and/or shift to remote or hybrid workplaces, tech stacks explode. Employers (and employees!) find a SaaS solution for every problem—some legitimately helping and others becoming more like that treadmill you bought: used for two days, and then forgotten about in your garage. In fact, one source found that in 2022, organizations were using an average amount of 130 SaaS applications. And that’s not to mention that a staggering 32% of SaaS spend is wasted on apps that are unused or underutilized!

Now you might be thinking, “But we have an IT team for this, right?” Absolutely! And your IT team is incredible—but they aren’t magic (Not yet, anyway). There’s no magical piece of software that lets you know what apps are being used, by whom, and whether each one is worth the investment…

…or is there?

In this guide, we’re going to let you in on a secret: there is an answer to your tech stack proliferation problem—one that you can (and should) be wielding. Let’s open the door and get swept off to the world of SaaS management, SaaS management platforms, and how Lumos can turn you into an IT Hero.

What Is SaaS Management?

SaaS management is a strategy companies use to maximize their SaaS investments. It’s like having a digital librarian who keeps track of all your SaaS applications: maintaining what you have, monitoring what is actually being used, and verifying people’s ability to “check out” of the library. This approach is crucial for any business who leverages SaaS platforms and attempts to tackle the problem of tech stack proliferation. Another important facet of SaaS management is ensuring that the right user has access to the tools and information they need to do their job—and doesn’t have access to things they don’t need.

SaaS Management, Gartner reports, is a rising trend. Businesses are increasingly adopting SaaS management platforms to assist them in this task. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2027, 40% of companies with multiple SaaS applications will begin using a platform to help them manage their SaaS applications (up from less than 25% in 2022). Take a moment and think through all the subscriptions your company currently has. Odds are, you probably don’t know how many solutions you’re paying for and if they’re actually being helpful—and do you know who has access to what?

Without the right approach, managing subscriptions, user access, and security across all your solutions can feel like trying to convince hobbits to go without “second breakfast”—it quickly becomes chaotic and nearly impossible.

What Is a SaaS Management Solution?

A SaaS management solution is just what it sounds like: any tool that helps you with the Sisyphean task of managing apps, access, and vendors. However, it’s important to note that SaaS management solutions are often easily confused for other types of tools. For example, other platforms that might seem ideal but aren’t an all-in-one solution are:

  • Software Asset Management (SAM) is limited to providing insights on current and future software needs.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a software that focuses on monitoring and enforcing security policies for cloud applications.
  • Security Service Edge (SSE) works to secure access to web, cloud, and private apps.
  • SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) encompasses automated tools for tracking security threats in SaaS solutions.

What Is a SaaS Management Platform?

A SaaS management platform is a centralized hub where you can manage, monitor, and analyze all your SaaS applications. Essentially, it’s a control center for your digital tools. Platforms like this discover and address crucial questions such as:

  • Which apps are we paying for but not using?
  • Are we complying with data security standards?
  • Where are the gaps in our toolset?
  • How can we support our IT team?

SaaS management platforms enable you to be an IT Hero, making sure your company is getting the most out of your investments.

So, how do you manage software in SaaS applications? With SaaS management software like Lumos.

Yes, we’re aware of how silly that might sound: almost like a pyramid scheme. “No really, all you need is another platform!” Don’t worry, it’s not like that at all. Think of it more as the toolbox that holds all your tools and lets you neatly keep them. Or, to go back to our theme here—remember that rhyme from the Lord of the Rings?

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all

and in the darkness bind them.

Our platform (hopefully) won’t corrupt your soul, but it will act as your “One Ring” to govern over all your SaaS subscriptions. And, our unique approach to SaaS management is a bit like your own personal Gandalf—you’ve got an experienced guide who can shine a light in all the hidden corners of your SaaS portfolio. Here at Lumos, we’ll help you discover underutilized tools, mitigate your risks, streamline your operations, and learn more about the world of IT. Together we’ll consolidate tools once and for all, ending the dark reign of Lord Shadow IT.

What Is a SaaS Management Platform Example?

Let’s take a look at how a company can leverage Lumos in their day-to-day work. Imagine Clare, a hardworking IT professional who has just discovered Lumos. Using our platform, she can quickly and easily:

  1. Automate Repetitive Tasks: Just last week, Clare had to spend hours going through long ticket threads trying to resolve access requests from different employees—Dan needs to download Microsoft Office, Melissa needs access to Adobe Creative Suite, Jules is locked out of the time clock app…the requests are endless. With Lumos, Clare can set up an app store with all the software options people can use. This can easily be integrated with Slack so that Dan, Melissa, Jules (and everyone else) can request access in their work chat and get working within minutes!
  1. Protect Sensitive Information: In addition to easing the burden of access requests, Clare can also quickly implement least privilege to ensure employees have the appropriate level of access for their roles. She can:
  • Assign specific managers, admins, or groups as approvers for apps and permissions.
  • Set pre-approval for certain employees depending on their job function or other criteria.
  • Add multiple layers of approvals for the most protected data.
  • Allow access for only a certain period of time and automatically deprovision access.

In short, Clare has all the tools she needs at her fingertips in order to maintain compliance and protect the company.

  1. Streamline Audits: Audits can, and do happen. In fact, Clare was just notified that she needs to provide an audit report. Thankfully, with Lumos she can create a report in seconds using the “one-click” functionality, pulling together all of the app access data already collected in a single place. It’s simple for her to collaborate with stakeholders via Slack integration, and generate an audit report in minutes that satisfies auditor requirements.

These are just a few examples of how Lumos can benefit an organization. Let’s dive more into how these platforms work and what the benefits can be for your company.

How Does a SaaS Management Platform Work?

From a high-level view, a SaaS management platform like Lumos works by integrating with your existing tech stack, centralizing the data, uncovering shadow IT, and then providing you with analytics and automations to manage everything you’ve just found out about. Let’s look at each step more closely.

  1. Integrate With Your Tech Stack: You can quickly and easily hook up Lumos to your tech stack with the hundreds of integrations that we support. For example:
  • IT Service Management apps like Zendesk, Jira, ServiceNow or FreshService
  • Single sign-on providers like AWS, Google, Azure AD, OneLogin, or Okta
  • Spend, invoicing, and contract negotiation apps like Netsuite, Coupa, Ironclad, Zip, or Vendr
  • Messaging apps like Slack or Google

Once you’ve integrated your tech stack with Lumos, it’s time to start digging into your unique situation.

  1. Centralize Your Data: Now that Lumos is hooked up, you’ll have all your data in one place and at your fingertips. In fact, with 80+ connectors and an API, you’ll have a real-time database of all your license, permission, and usage data to peruse.
  1. Uncover Shadow IT: With the visibility you’ve now gained, you can quickly and easily spot superfluous software and stay on top of your SaaS spend. With Lumos, you can see your renewals and contract information, giving you the ultimate power to streamline your tech stack. And the fun keeps on going—another method we use to uncover shadow IT is scanning email providers for email subject lines to understand what apps people are signing up for.
  1. Utilize Analytics and Reporting: This is where the fun begins: you can leverage Lumos to generate analytics (like a software spend report to show your success to leadership!). You’ll be able to break down your Saas spend by team and use this for forecasting spend in the upcoming quarters.
  1. Leverage Automations: When it comes to automations, Lumos shines brightly. For example, with inactivity workflows, Lumos shows you the gaps within your software ecosystems. The platform uncovers inactive accounts, highlighting underutilized licenses or software and sets up automations to have them systematically removed.

Lumos is truly an end-to-end SaaS management solution that lets you manage apps, access, and vendors in one easy-to-use platform. And, the implementation time is quick and easy—on average, customers are up and running with Lumos within 50 days.

What Are the Benefits of Saas Management Platforms?

Benefits of a SaaS management platform include:

  • SaaS Spend Management | First and foremost, a SaaS management platform like Lumos can significantly slash software costs. Additionally, you’ll gain:
  • Usage and license analytics that can help you identify unused or underutilized licenses.
  • Detailed spend reporting across all applications, aiding with budget allocation and identifying areas for cost optimization.

Some of our customers have saved over $200,000 in SaaS costs (and automated 20% of IT tickets)! If you’re curious to see how much you could save, check out our SaaS Management ROI calculator.

  • SaaS Vendor Management | You’ll have a centralized view of all your vendors, including shadow IT, allowing you to get more out of every contract. With visibility over every application in your tech stack, you’ll understand and manage your SaaS solutions.
  • Enhance IT Efficiency | With centralized management and the ability to leverage automation and AI, Lumos frees up your IT team to focus on strategic initiatives that move your company forward. Lift them out of the mire of routine operational tasks—your IT team will thank you!
  • Increase Security and Compliance | You’ll be able to lock down your sensitive data and easily comply with SOX/SOC regulations (and more) using the tools that Lumos provides. You’ll be able to:
  • Quickly review access requests and ensure that the right people are let in (and bad actors kept out).
  • Enforce least privilege access and cut threats with just-in-time access.
  • Create audit reports with the click of a button to satisfy auditor requirements.

In short, a SaaS management platform like Lumos offers a comprehensive approach to managing all the complexities involved with your SaaS spend. You can maximize the value of your software investments while maintaining security and compliance—plus your IT team will be thrilled! It’s a win-win-win all around.

How Do I Choose a SaaS Management Platform?

There are many SaaS management companies out there, each of them claiming to be the best. Here’s a quick word to the wise: not all SaaS management platforms are created equal. So to help you figure out how to choose a SaaS management platform, we’ve put together this checklist for you, drawn from information compiled about SaaS management platforms by Gartner.

  • Does this SaaS management platform help you discover both sanctioned and unsanctioned SaaS use and cost?
  • Are there tools like insights or alerting to help you optimize your SaaS cost?
  • Can you manage many different SaaS applications within a single console?
  • How many integrations does the SaaS management solution offer?
  • Does it integrate with your tech stack or offer customizable integrations?
  • Does the platform include turnkey automation powered by artificial intelligence?
  • Is there an employee-facing application store or catalog to simplify SaaS requests?
  • Will this solution help eliminate IT tickets?
  • Are there tools that your IT team will be excited by?
  • Do you have access to reporting tools that give you analytics and insights across all areas?
  • Are there baked-in compliance and regulation features like break glass access, multi-stage approvals, or time-based access?
  • Are there easy audit tools?
  • Does the SaaS management platform offer a user-friendly experience?

Using this checklist, you can quickly identify if a vendor is right for you and if the SaaS management platform you’re considering will actually provide the benefits you need.

Choose the Best SaaS Management Platform. Choose Lumos.

So here we are: we’ve journeyed through SaaS management, and woven a tale of triumph over tech stack chaos orchestrated by Lord Shadow IT. The great news? You now see how you can govern them all with Lumos in your pocket (sorry, had to bring it back to Lord of the Rings after all!). But don’t just take our word for it! We love lifting up our partners and hearing their stories and how Lumos has helped them:

  • “We had pain points between manual provisioning and access reviews. We wanted one tool to manage everything and help us maintain compliance. Lumos was that tool.” Rohan, Senior Dir. of IT, Security, & Compliance. ChargePoint
  • “We were able to maximize the IT team’s efficiency after implementing Lumos. We saw massive reductions in ticket volume as well as significant cost savings for our organization.” - Bradon, IT Operations Manager. Checkr
  • "Lumos automated repetitive access provisioning tasks, reducing burnout and increasing team morale. We now can focus more on strategy and less on operational tasks.” Mark, CISO. VoxMedia

If you’re ready to be an IT Hero, wielding Lumos to bend your tech stack to your will, schedule a demo today. Not ready to take the plunge? Explore our resources to learn about other IT Heroes and discover why we’re “IT Obsessed”!