SaaS management lags behind rapid adoption

The discipline of SaaS management across organisations lags behind this growth even if 70% of international IT leaders reported strong SaaS growth — in some cases doubling — over the last two years.

Results from the LeanIX SaaS Management Survey 2021 show a lack of standardised processes and clearly defined roles in SaaS management, which lead to widespread challenges.

Enterprise architects from a total of 105 companies – selected from LeanIX’s international customer portfolio – were covered in online survey done in July and August.

The survey also found no common standards when it comes to responsibility for SaaS management. In 80% of the companies surveyed, SaaS management can involve four or more departments. 

The enterprise architects surveyed indicated that the challenges associated with SaaS management, including poor visibility into SaaS application portfolios, are having an impact on their efforts to continuously transform the IT landscape in their organisation. 

With this in mind, many expressed interest in the concept of a SaaS Center of Excellence, believing that their organisation could benefit from the guidance one might provide. Unfortunately, the majority of enterprises have not even begun discussing the implementation of such an initiative.

“Those who establish a functioning SaaS management system will gain access to the detailed, timely information needed to make data-driven decisions about their SaaS application portfolio,” said LeanIX CEO André Christ.

“This will provide two benefits — on the one hand, it can prevent security and compliance issues,” said Christ. “On the other hand, it’s the only way to take advantage of the special benefits SaaS has to offer.”

The survey showed that 68% of respondents reported strong growth in SaaS adoption since 2019.

While SaaS accounts for less than a quarter of the application portfolio in 58% of companies, it accounts for more than 50% of the portfolio for a growing number of companies.

While SaaS actually makes decentralised purchasing easier, only 18% of participating companies said decisions about SaaS purchasing are made predominantly on a decentralised basis. 

Companies use a range of tools to manage SaaS, but Excel spreadsheets – used by 57% of respondents – are the second most common.

A quarter of respondents said their leading challenges included discovering all the SaaS applications the company had purchased, providing information about the number and types of licenses currently in use, and calculating all SaaS-related costs.

LeanIX said the study also shows that the necessary steps have not yet been taken for effective SaaS management.

These steps include establishing clear accountability for SaaS management, implementing processes that take advantage of the benefits unique to SaaS without exposing the organisation to security and compliance risks or uncontrolled spending, and implementing SaaS management tools that provide timely insight into every aspect of the SaaS application portfolio.