SaaS Management
Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

How Do I Manage a SaaS Vendor?

Positive and productive vendor relationships are often the backbone of success—but how do you develop and maintain them? Learn more in this article.

Would it surprise you to learn that some businesses use 100 different SaaS applications on a regular basis? Not only is it true, but the average is closer to around 130 unique software tools. Yes, that’s a lot of software—it’s also a lot of unique vendor relationships to manage, contracts to deal with, and different things to troubleshoot. It can also be a security nightmare.

That being said, you’re probably somewhat familiar with SaaS management already—especially if you’re one of the unsung heroes of IT who keep the ship steady at your organization. If you’re looking to learn a little more about how to keep these relationships positive and productive, you’ve come to the right place. In this, our brief guide to SaaS vendor management, we’re looking at what it takes to maintain great vendor relationships—and how doing so can benefit your company in a number of ways, in both the short- and long-term.

Who Are SaaS Vendors?

SaaS vendors are the companies behind the applications your business is using every day. Even if you’re a small-to-midsize business startup, chances are that you likely have dozens of active vendor relationships. Of course, if you work in IT you already know this—but you may not realize how easy managing these relationships can be. When you consider all the applications you’re using—from the CRM to sales, marketing, project management, and beyond—it’s tough to overstate the importance of vendor management.

What Is Software Vendor Management?

Vendor management is exactly what you would assume—the efficient and effective management of various vendor relationships. Creating an effective vendor management process empowers organizations, and IT teams especially, to get the most bang from their tech budgets and keep costs low. Ideally, this will happen without leaving any team or department under-served. Comprehensive vendor management closely tracks contract details and life cycles as well. This also helps with maintaining continuity and security, while identifying and addressing duplicate or under-used applications, security vulnerabilities, and more.

Ultimately, the objectives of SaaS vendor management are simple:

  • Streamline and consolidate the tech stack.
  • Optimize the tech stack and maximize applications’ value.
  • Ensure business continuity and transparency.
  • Identify and mitigate security risks, such as shadow IT.

What Are the Four Stages to Managing a Vendor Relationship?

Because every vendor is unique, so too is every vendor relationship. That being said, there are certain best practices you can use to consistently create an effective vendor management strategy. Here are the most important vendor management process steps to get right:

  1. Set clear objectives and expectations, and translate them into buying criteria. The more focused you are on the organization’s objectives and priorities, the easier it will be to identify the vendors—and applications—whose value aligns best with your needs. Throughout vendor negotiation, make sure all contract language is clear and that all bases are covered. In doing so, you’ll set the perfect foundation for great relationships that should serve the business well.
  1. As you evaluate your options, focus on quality over quantity. Tech stack proliferation is increasingly real, as new and often hyper-focused SaaS offerings are constantly being introduced to the marketplace. It doesn’t make sense, however, for an organization to work with a different vendor or vendor set for each essential business function. That’s how they end up with 100+ vendors—and contracts—to manage, after all! By being very intentional about the vendors you work with and the solutions you adopt, the easier it will be to maintain productive relationships.
  1. Keep the lines of communication open—and communicate clearly and consistently—to develop relationships and monitor their progress. Don’t let uncertainty fester and turn into anxiety or undue stress; instead, be willing to communicate with candor. Vendors don’t want to lose their relationship with your business, but they can’t address things they’re unaware of. At the end of the day, effective vendor management involves a great deal of relationship development.
  1. Realize that vendor management isn’t a one-and-done business activity: it’s an ongoing and constant process. As your business grows and evolves, so too do the types of SaaS applications on the market and what they could do for your organization. Encourage open communication from business units and partners, to identify areas where it might be worth looking for upgraded solutions, or applications that are better-tailored to your unique needs.

What Is the Best Way to Manage Vendors?

Whether you have 12 or 120 vendors to manage, one of the best ways to manage those relationships and optimize the SaaS applications your organization is using is to leverage a SaaS management platform—like Lumos.

What Is a Software Vendor Management Platform?

This type of platform provides a centralized interface for managing various applications and vendor relationships. Yes, it’s another piece of SaaS technology, but it’s so much more than that. The Lumos platform, for example, provides a one-of-a-kind SaaS management and identity governance solution that can be used to:

How Do You Manage Vendor Information, Relationships, and Contracts? With Lumos!

Vendor relationships are too important for your business to leave to chance. Lumos provides a single, comprehensive platform you can use to manage apps, access, and vendors—all in one place. We’ve empowered a wide range of customers with the tools and insights they need to achieve positive results that go well beyond mere vendor management.

These include things like cutting software costs, streamlining and automating access reviews, and too many other outcomes to mention here. Visit our website to see just what Lumos might be capable of doing for your business. If you prefer to see it for yourself, we don’t blame you! Why not request a demo to see the platform in action?