packet and blissfully

SaaS Stack Optimization at a High Growth Startup

Robin is modernizing the open office. Their scheduling, space management, and digital signage software help organizations efficiently manage shared and open office environments. 

Robin is growing fast. The five year old company has over 100 employees and $30 million in funding. When Robin's team surpassed 50 employees, SaaS management became a considerable pain point. 

Team leaders were choosing their own tools, and as teams became more specialized, the company would occasionally end up with two different tools to accomplish the same goals. This overspending was a symptom of a larger problem: not having a clear process to approve and manage their SaaS stack.

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Visibility, Process, and Spend Optimization

Robin’s first priority with Blissfully was to establish an up-to-date inventory of all their SaaS apps. They quickly found duplicate subscriptions and apps with redundant functionality. In some cases, teams were purchasing their own subscriptions to accomplish the same goal, and in others, employees were accidentally given two licenses for the same product. With those subscriptions identified and cancelled, Robin’s Business Operations & Finance Lead, Alix Gregory, estimates that Robin saved at least $1,000 per month.

Next, Alix focused on creating an internal process for evaluating and approving new tools that went through key stakeholders (IT, CTO, Finance, Legal). It was important that this new process added functionality and security reviews without slowing down decision making. 

“There’s a process now.” Gregory said, “There’s a request, an IT review, we see if they’ve published their security certifications, and if so IT makes a decision. Anyone can sign up for a free trial, but a paid relationship goes through an approval to make sure we don’t have any redundant tools.”

The added structure has helped Robin make intelligent assessments before buying. Data Protection Officer, Mick England explained, "As you recruit new people everyone has their favorite tool, so someone has to make an independent assessment. Now that falls to me"

Culturally, it’s slowed Robin down in a good way. As Gregory described the change, “People think before they buy.” Blissfully made the process as unobtrusive as possible.”

Employee Lifecycle Management

When Robin began their phase of rapid growth, they sought a better process for provisioning SaaS tools for their new hires. Now that they had a real-time SaaS system of record, with apps and people organized into teams, visibility was no longer an issue. When a new hire joins, a list of all the SaaS apps that the new hire will need is generated, approved, and sent to the necessary stakeholders responsible for provisioning those tools. Everyone involved can view the status of the workflow, eliminating countless email threads. 

Next, Alix focused on creating an internal process for evaluating and approving new tools that went through key stakeholders (IT, CTO, Finance, Legal). It was important that this new process added functionality and security reviews without slowing down decision making. 

Robin’s deprovisioning process also got an overhaul from spreadsheets to automated workflows in Blissfully. “It got hectic. Paid accounts need to be deprovisioned.” Gregory said about offboarding, “Now with Blissfully, there’s no physical or mental list needed of who is in charge of key items.”

Preparing for ISO 27001

An ISO 27001 audit is a complex project that requires a documented information security management system for all data that an organization touches, and for any third party accessing that data. 

Data Protection Officer Mick England manages Robin’s security, compliance, and privacy. When Robin began to pursue ISO 27001 certification, he was the man to lead the audit. 

“I had to clean up the mess.” Says England, “Blissfully was integral. It showed us the amount of apps we were using and helped us manage 3rd party vendors and implement a stricter IT approval process. Now the entire process is all documented in one place, ready for auditors.”

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As Robin approaches its ISO 27001 audit in the next few months, that documentation will be critical.

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