What is Shadow IT? Answers to Common Questions.

July 2, 2019 in SaaS Management, Security, Shadow IT

A visualization of shadow IT

Shadow IT Explained

Shadow IT is the use of IT hardware or software by an individual without the knowledge of IT within the organization.

With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices and cloud-based services, IT has moved from being a tightly controlled environment to being an open environment with a great deal of stakeholders and movement. Users have become comfortable downloading and using apps and services from the cloud to assist them in their work, and will do so with or without company approval.

According to Cisco in 2016, 80% of end users use software not cleared by IT, 83% of IT staff admit to using unsanctioned software or services, and only 8% of all enterprises actually know the scope of shadow IT within their organization. And shadow IT has only grown since then.
SaaS management software can help by providing both visibility and control of apps throughout the organization.

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The 3 Best Practices for a Cloud-First IT Strategy in 2019

June 28, 2019 in SaaS Management, Shadow IT

There was a time when IT (Information Technology) was a naturally centralized function. Information technology experts made decisions about everything from the phone on your desk to the screensaver on your computer. They controlled budgets, conducted troubleshooting, and served as the “buck stops here” department for all things tech.

If you work at a modern business today, you know this is rarely the case anymore. Read on to learn about the best practices for Cloud-first IT in 2019.

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3 Steps to Effective SaaS App Onboarding

May 31, 2019 in Employee Lifecycle, SaaS Management

The one thing that remains constant about SaaS apps is change. According to Blissfully’s 2019 SaaS Trends research, more than 40 percent of the average company’s SaaS stack has completely changed in the last two years. If that’s not complicated enough, the typical midsized company uses 120 apps overall, and sees an average of 2,700 app-to-people connections in their SaaS Graph. Companies need to master SaaS app onboarding to ensure that people know how to properly and securely use their applications, and are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Here are some tips on where to start.

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Inside The SaaS Graph: The Hidden Relationships Transforming IT Management

May 8, 2019 in SaaS Management, SaaS Trends

The relationship between apps and people is far more complicated than most organizations realize. Much like Facebook’s “Social Graph” for people-to-people relationships, the SaaS Graph illustrates people-to-app relationships and the complexity they can introduce into the organization. Each SaaS Graph relationship could represent a potential point of security vulnerability or unnecessary efficiency. A new approach to SaaS management can minimize these risks and optimize once-cumbersome workflows. Let’s dive into how.

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Why You Should Optimize Your SaaS Stack for Flexibility

May 2, 2019 in SaaS Management, SaaS Stack

There’s a good chance that at least one of those hot new SaaS apps you’re about to implement organization-wide is going to be replaced in a year.

Whether due to acquisition, funding woes, or a well-publicized security breach, some apps simply don’t stand the test of time. Others will serve their purpose for a while but then you need new features, so you make a switch. In still other cases, a product already in use at your organization will expand its feature set to cover the territory of another app; it can be wise at that point to consolidate.

Regardless of the reason, the reality for modern businesses is that app turnover is very common. In fact, the typical mid-sized company saw 39% of their SaaS stack change in 2018. According to our research, it’s safe to assume that within two years, roughly half of your tech stack will be different than it is today. While it’s easy to interpret this as bad news and look for strategies to avoid app turnover as much as possible, we argue a better approach is to embrace change and build your business for SaaS flexibility.

The ease with which your organization can adopt new apps, and switch out old ones, is critical to maintaining a strong technology stack. The rapid pace of change in SaaS feature sets makes it nearly impossible to predict which apps you will keep for the long term, which will disappear, and which ones you’ll want to replace with a better, more innovative option.

Rather than trying to predict the future, focus on optimizing for flexibility and process. This will empower your team leaders to experiment and give your organization leverage to adopt the best tools at any given point in time.

Here’s a look at how to prioritize a flexible SaaS stack at your organization.

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Why Your Company Needs a SaaS System of Record

April 17, 2019 in Compliance

Team leaders throughout the years have relied on technology systems of record to keep their data organized. A system of record is the authoritative data source for a given type of information, and the software that maintains this data becomes the organizational foundation for certain business processes. While many options exist for systems of record for single-lane disciplines like sales, HR and finance, there’s one area of business operations that many organizations have not systematized: SaaS.

Part of the challenge around adopting a SaaS system of record is that no single department “owns” SaaS anymore. This challenge is also the single biggest reason to evolve from ad-hoc processes to a system of record. In the past, a command-and-control approach to IT management meant that the IT leader owned the procurement process for all hardware and software. Rarely were employees empowered to make their own purchasing decisions.

Today, that reality is much different. Team leaders often select the tools they need for their direct reports to be productive. While this level of autonomy is great for business, it can also get messy when it comes to budgeting, security, compliance, and common business processes, such as onboarding and offboarding. Many employees today, regardless of their level of technical knowledge, spend the majority of their time at work using SaaS apps. Their reliance on these apps leaves little room for error for organizations to get SaaS management right.

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5 Practical SaaS Vendor Management Tips for IT Leaders

April 4, 2019 in SaaS Management

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.

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How to Accurately Account for SaaS Spend in Your Bookkeeping

February 6, 2019 in SaaS Spend

Guest post by: Jaren Nichols, Chief Operating Officer at Zipbooks

Keeping accurate books may seem sleep-inducing, but it’s actually a fundamental that can keep your business growing. Accurate books lead to accurate reports that lead to smart business decisions. You simply can’t grow your business without minding your chart of accounts.

One account (or category) that has grown 20x within the last five years is SaaS spending. This represents an amazing improvement for businesses who have been able to increase productivity, innovation and even revenue by taking advantage of SaaS applications. However, these spending trends also have the potential to wreak havoc on your books.

Businesses can better categorize their accounts and use that data to manage the money they spend on SaaS apps through careful bookkeeping.

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Ditch the Spreadsheet: Track SaaS Subscriptions the Smart Way

January 18, 2019 in SaaS Management

Did you know that the average mid-size business has 100+ SaaS apps in place? Even with numbers that high, the majority of businesses still track their SaaS apps with an Excel or Google spreadsheet. If you’re one of them, then you probably know first-hand how unwieldy and inefficient managing a SaaS program manually with a spreadsheet can be.

In this post, we take a deeper look at why tracking internal SaaS usage with a spreadsheet has become increasingly difficult, and offer a more effective approach going forward.

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6 Common SaaS Management Challenges High Growth Companies Face & How to Address Them

December 20, 2018 in SaaS Management

Managing IT in the era of SaaS proliferation can be difficult, especially since the command-and-control model of old no longer works for most companies. A Collaborative IT approach, to contrast, involves team leaders, employees, finance, HR and IT in collectively solving SaaS management challenges. Here are six of the challenges high growth companies most commonly face, and how Collaborative IT can help address them.

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