The number of SaaS apps within organizations has been growing for years, rising from just a handful at the start of the decade to today, when the average 250+ employee organization uses over 120 apps. Tracking when subscriptions renew is difficult and dispersed. Some companies are great at notifying you, some aren’t, and you may not hear about a renewal until just a few days before the deadline. That’s why you need a simple, repeatable renewal process that you can maintain on your own.
This checklist covers all the necessary steps in your vendor renewal process to ensure you have the right tools, are not wasting budget, and maintain your data security.
1. Keep Renewal Records
The first step in the renewal process is knowing that a renewal is coming up and having enough time to act. You need to maintain a central record of apps being used and their contract status so you can plan for renewals and start a renewal approval process with a long runway to make key decisions. This can be a simple spreadsheet for small organizations, but as your company adopts more apps, it’s best to use a SaaS management tool to automatically track apps and their renewal dates.
Often, an organization will discover an upcoming renewal without enough time to make an educated decision about how or whether to renew. Avoid this by keeping an up to date record of all your SaaS apps and the dates they renew.
Responsibility: IT or Finance
2. Establish a Timeline for the Renewal
Some renewals are straightforward, others are more comprehensive. If you’re considering changing a critical element of your SaaS stack, make sure you give the team ample time to evaluate alternatives, come to a decision, and migrate data. This timeline for each renewal will vary. We recommend 2 months as a baseline.
3. Confirm App is Still Active & Needed
Every app should have a primary owner within the business. During the renewal process, this person should confirm that the tool in question is still in use and needed by the team. It’s easy to reflexively renew a tool and then discover it was no longer being used. That’s a simple way to waste a chunk of your SaaS budget.
If the tool is no longer needed, the primary owner should confirm no processes will be disrupted or any necessary data will be lost by cancelling the subscription.
Responsibility: App owner
4. Evaluate Overlapping Feature Sets of Apps in Your Tech Stack
SaaS applications consistently add new features, and as a result, can start to blend into new categories over time. Larger SaaS vendors are also not shy about acquiring smaller startups and incorporating their functionality into existing tools. Renewals are a good time to do an internal evaluation of a team’s tech stack to see if you can consolidate apps.
5. Revisit Pricing and Terms
Many apps have tiered pricing models and the price you pay on renewal could rise considerably if you reach the next tier of usage, accounts, or integrations. If you’re nearing a price increase, now may be a good time to try to negotiate lock-in pricing for a multi-year deal or, potentially to find a different solution.
When an agreement is reached, make sure to keep a copy of the executed contract for your records.
Responsibility: Finance, Legal, Procurement
6. Renew Security Assessment and Documents
A best practice in the age of SaaS is to make sure to review the security of key vendors each time you enter a contract with them. In the rare case this vendor doesn’t have access to anything sensitive, then you can skip this step. Otherwise you’ll want to get documentation on what security processes, certifications, and/or attestations your vendor has and what has changed since your previous engagement, particularly as it relates to your internal or regulatory compliance.
Responsibility: IT, Security
7. Record Key Vendor Metadata
Update your app inventory with any new information from your renewal and be sure to confirm or update key metadata about this product. You will want to have a documented record of:
- Next renewal date
- Business Owner
- IT Admin
- Compliance and security documentation
- Key Documents
- Any important notes
You can use a spreadsheet to track this information, but it can quickly become hard to maintain if your organization is using more than a handful of apps. A SaaS management platform will track key information for the many vendors your organization uses and give you automated vendor renewal workflows to use.
Following these steps for your SaaS renewal process will ensure you get the most out of your SaaS toolset and are in a position to optimize SaaS spending across your organization.
As your software stack grows, you’ll want to consider a SaaS management platform like Blissfully to maintain a real-time system of record of all your SaaS apps and automate app renewal workflows across your organization. To see how Blissfully can help you accomplish this, schedule a demo today.
To learn more about SaaS Management, check out our comprehensive SaaS Management Guide.