SaaS Management
Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

Best SaaS Management Platform

Explore the world of SaaS management platforms and discover how this tech can help you.

It’s a familiar story that most of us working in the tech world know and dread—SaaS sprawl. That’s right: your VP of sales signed up for DocuSign for sending contracts, the marketing team jumps into Salesforce every day, the HR department is trying out BambooHR…oh except that one manager who also subscribed to 15Five…the SaaS sprawl quickly gets out of control. You need some way to manage all the SaaS subscriptions that proliferate like gremlins.

But proper SaaS management isn’t just about streamlining your tech stack. It’s also about security (like setting the appropriate level of user access), handling sensitive data, and being able to access the data you need to make informed decisions about the tech tools your teams have access to.

Here’s the good news: there are great SaaS management solutions like Lumos that can turn you into an IT hero. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the benefits of a SaaS management platform, give practical advice on how to manage your tech stack, look at what the vendor management process is, and empower you to select the solution that’s right for your company. That’s a lot to accomplish in a short amount of space, so let’s jump in!

Containing the SaaS Sprawl: Users and Vendors

The first step in stopping the sprawl is to understand the problem fully. Common issues include:

  • Shadow IT: This dramatically named issue involves employees independently using SaaS applications without IT oversight. When workers go rogue, IT quickly loses visibility into the tech stack—which leads to increased security risks. Sensitive company data can be spread across numerous apps, exposing organizations to vulnerabilities.
  • Tool Overlap and Superfluous SaaS: The next common problem in SaaS management is tool overlap or superfluous tools that have been abandoned but you’re still paying for them. Larger organizations often have an excessive SaaS license overhead, with tools that essentially do the same thing and/or are being underutilized.
  • Too Much (or Too Little) Access: It’s unclear if Goldilocks ever worked in IT, but if she did, she may have struggled to find the just right balance of giving employees the appropriate level of access to applications. When companies restructure, it can be difficult to stay on top of who has access to what with people leaving, new hires, and promotions.

So, How Do I Manage SaaS Users?

It’s simple: you manage SaaS users with the help of Lumos! Okay, but you’re not just here for the sales pitch. Effective management of SaaS users comes down to a simple concept: let them manage themselves. That’s right, we’re all about giving power to the people!

Using Lumos, you can empower your employees by setting up a simple AppStore, where they can quickly select the SaaS tools they need and have self-service access requests. The platform allows employees to request access via Slack or Lumos, with pre-approvals, multi-stage approvals, break glass and time-based access, as well as granular permissioning to protect your sensitive information. All this information is then logged and filed so you can easily pull audit reports with every single access request that’s been issued.

How Do I Manage a SaaS Vendor?

Vendor management with SaaS comes down to knowledge—knowing what licenses can be cut and when your renewals are coming up so you can negotiate proactively. With Lumos, you can easily bring data from your apps into one single source of truth. You can then easily identify expensive licenses and unused accounts in the last 90 days across your entire tech stack. You can even reduce the number of paid licenses by leveraging time-based access and pre-approvals so that only those who actually need access get it. And, with all your vendor data imported, you can have a single source of truth for contracts too.

As you can see, containing the SaaS sprawl requires managing SaaS users and vendors alike. This requires a multifaceted approach that addresses visibility, security, compliance, and efficiency. And it’s possible! By understanding the full scope of SaaS management, and leveraging the appropriate management platform, your company can be ahead of the pack with a streamlined and effective solution.

What Is a SaaS Management Platform?

SaaS management platforms are basically magic—yes, it may seem absurd to use a SaaS tool to manage your SaaS tools—but Lumos is like a toolbox and a librarian all in one. This is the container that allows you to see what you have, who is accessing it, and what is actually being used. Your container can set controls on who is allowed to use the hammer…er…software. See? Magic!

It’s important to note that not all SaaS management software is created equal and some people get different types of toolboxes confused. Common platforms that get confused for solutions like Lumos are:

  • IT Service Management (ITSM) platforms focus on the delivery and management of IT services within an organization. These are more about managing IT workflows and ensuring efficient IT service delivery rather than overseeing SaaS subscriptions and usage.
  • Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are designed to enforce security policies between cloud service users and cloud applications. They provide the security and compliance features, but again, lack the focus on managing SaaS applications. While they can offer visibility into cloud app usage and security, they lack the comprehensive SaaS spend and license management capabilities of a dedicated SaaS management platform like Lumos.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions can play a role in managing user access to resources in an organization. However, they don’t offer the broader functionalities of SaaS management platforms like cost optimization or subscription management.

Understanding these differences is key when selecting the right platform for your organization. Keep in mind that an excellent SaaS management platform should be able to integrate with these types of solutions to make sure that all your bases are covered.

Selecting The Right Tool: Making Sense of the Market

The SaaS management market has witnessed substantial growth over the past few years, driven by the increasing adoption of SaaS applications across various industries. But just how big is the SaaS management market? According to Verified Market Research, the SaaS management platform market size was valued at $113.82 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to $176.52 billion by 2028.

This growth has really been driven by several important factors, like:

  • The rise of remote work, which accelerated digital transformation in many organizations. With so many workers working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in the adoption of cloud-based solutions.
  • The increasing complexity of SaaS ecosystems (aka…the sprawl!) that has driven the need for visibility and control over SaaS investments. Organizations are desperately trying to get a handle on their tech stacks from an IT perspective.
  • Inflation and unstable economic conditions, which led to rising costs in all areas; SaaS is no different. Companies need to focus on optimizing their SaaS expenses in order to not just survive,but thrive during difficult times.
  • Compliance and security concerns as regulations change and bad actors evolve their tactics. Companies need tools to help them adhere to regulatory standards and maintain secure environments.

How do I choose a SaaS management platform that’s right for me?

With many different SaaS management companies and SaaS management tools available, it can be tricky to select the right solution. We’ve put together this list of questions to help you select the best SaaS management tool for your organization.

  • Does the tool provide comprehensive visibility into all SaaS applications used across the organization?
  • Can it identify and manage shadow IT and unauthorized app usage?
  • Can the platform help manage both users and vendors?
  • Are there self-service tools available to empower users?
  • What user access and identity tools are available?
  • Is there functionality for automated license management and reclamation?
  • How flexible is the solution?
  • Can it integrate with your existing tech stack, including ITSM tools?
  • Is there an option to create custom integrations?
  • Does it support scalable management as the organization grows?
  • Are there detailed analytics tools available?
  • Is there reporting for software usage and license optimization?
  • Can it track and demonstrate software spend and savings?
  • Is there real-time monitoring and alerting for security breaches or compliance risks?
  • Are there one-click audit reports that can be generated?
  • How user-friendly is the tool?
  • What is the learning curve like?
  • What support and training does the vendor offer?
  • How customizable are the features and workflows?
  • What is the vendor’s reputation and track record?
  • Are there case studies or testimonials available from current users?
  • What resources are available from the vendor to help enable users?

Lumos: Conquer the Sprawl with the Best SaaS Management Platform

Ready to don your cape and become an IT superhero? With Lumos as your sidekick, you can conquer SaaS sprawl once and for all. Our comprehensive end-to-end solution was designed to combat the issues you face on a daily basis. You can slash software costs, uncover shadow IT, stay on top of renewals, streamline access and permissioning, empower your users and IT team, secure your tech stack, and ultimately manage your software assets effectively and efficiently.

To see the impact that Lumos could have for you, check out our ROI calculator. If you’re interested to see Lumos in action, get a demo today. We’re excited to help you tackle your tech stack and start saving money and time!