The task of SaaS vendor management has become a lot more challenging over the last few years, since the CIO and IT team don’t always have direct visibility into the apps employees are using across the organization. A variety of trends — including team members directly testing and purchasing new apps themselves — have made the “Command and Control” (or highly centralized and restrictive) role of IT management virtually impossible. The following SaaS vendor management best practices can help CIOs and their teams get a handle on the growing SaaS boom, while giving team members the freedom and flexibility to choose the tools they want and need.

1. Streamline Vendor Contract Ownership

One reality of modern SaaS vendor management is that vendor agreements and contracts may be owned by multiple team leaders across the organization. This distribution of ownership may result in unnecessary spending from unused, redundant, or underused apps.

Finance and IT teams (who were once responsible for vendor procurement and subsequent management) may find it difficult to rein in these contracts. On a regular basis, take an inventory of who owns what vendor relationships, and try to consolidate these touchpoints to as few owners as possible.

2. Check In On Your SaaS Renewals

Renewals are one of the trickier parts of SaaS vendor management, simply because the account owners don’t necessarily always know when these renewals are coming. One common scenario is that an account may be set to an auto-renewal status, and the owner may not even realize they’re being billed annually for an app they aren’t using. In other cases, the team has chosen to use a free software product and continues to be billed annually for a redundant paid product.

Either scenario can add up to a lot of wasted budget!

Managing all of your renewals and contracts with one system of record can alleviate some of the stress behind trying to remember when renewals will come along, or being caught off guard by an unexpected bill.

3. Audit SaaS App Redundancy and App Effectiveness

Collaborating with team leaders whose direct reports use SaaS applications on a daily basis is the only way to really know if an app is working well for the team. A quarterly or twice yearly review of your app inventory — completed with the help of team leaders — can provide a wealth of information for the IT team, including:

  • Which apps are in heavy rotation
  • Which paid subscriptions are underutilized
  • Whether there are any redundant apps
  • Whether free tools could replace paid apps in certain circumstances.

In cases where the current tools are underutilized, there may be a case for selecting a new app that meets more of the team’s requirements. Taking the time to understand these requirements will pay dividends when end-of-year budget talks come along, since teams can request more budget.

4. Reassign Billing Owners During Offboarding Process

One of the most surprising data points in our 2019 SaaS Trends was that 71% of companies have at least one SaaS subscription with no billing owner. You don’t want to be paying for subscriptions indefinitely. Make sure to include a step in your offboarding process to check for and reassign any billing relationships (and licenses) a departing employee may own.

5. Use a Complete SaaS Management Platform

A complete SaaS management platform like Blissfully can automate many of the tasks and workflow management recommendations described above. Rather than tracking SaaS vendors in a spreadsheet, Blissfully provides a constantly updated system of record that gives CIOs and IT leadership visibility into every app across the entire organization. From SaaS spending, to onboarding and offboarding, to security visibility, having a SaaS management platform can save time and frustration, so IT teams can focus on more strategic work.

Hopefully these SaaS vendor management best practices help your team get organized in 2019. For more details and useful tips, check out The Blissfully Guide to SaaS Management, Blissfully’s 2019 SaaS Trends Report, and The Blissfully Guide to Employee Offboarding.