Establishing SaaS management ownership across the organization


Michael Fornander


September 15, 2023

SaaS management ownership in an organization can be taken over by the enterprise leaders, the business unit leaders, as well as by the employees themselves. What are the ownership specifics for each of these groups?

SaaS management ownership assigned to enterprise leaders

Enterprise leaders are of key importance for setting up an efficient SaaS management strategy across the organization

With SaaS spend taking a steadily growing share of the organizations’ budgets, there is an urgent need for a solid SaaS ownership strategy. Due to most SaaS spend being incurred outside of the IT departments, enterprise leaders should collaborate with business unit leaders and IT teams to set up SaaS ownership rules that preserve the organization’s flexibility while maintaining centralized visibility and control.

Enabling decentralized ownership of SaaS applications preserves agility while controlling risk

Traditional software asset management policies required centralized deploy and management of the full software stack, on-premises, by the IT department. Nowadays, however, the need to act quickly and remain flexible requires that the different lines of business within an organization take ownership of the software provisioning.

While IT should still own the SaaS management strategy, lines of business within the organization should be allowed to obtain SaaS licenses as they need, within well defined guidelines and best practices. To be able to manage this decentralized process, however, they should be given the responsibility to manage the applications throughout their entire lifecycle, while still maintaining full visibility for IT leaders.

Clear tiers of responsibility are a must

With multiple SaaS licenses to be managed throughout the organization, it is important to introduce tiers of responsibility, based on the impact and costs associated with each single application. The different lines of business in the organization, being familiar with the tools used to achieve their business goals, should hence be responsible for vetting tools related to their business role.

Applications that are widely used, strategic and critical for the organization should still be vetted centrally, however, by the IT departments.

Thanks to SaaS management platforms, a central record can be kept that enables the assignment and communication of SaaS ownership to everyone in the organization - IT leaders, line of business and individual employees.

Role of the Business unit leaders in an organization’s SaaS management

Contribute to establishing and maintaining a single source of SaaS data

A key first step that IT leaders and Business unit leaders should take is deciding on how to keep inventory of SaaS assets, so the list is always complete and up-to-date.

Having full visibility on the SaaS stack allows IT and business unit leaders to work together towards optimizing this stack. With a SaaS management platform like Viio in place, all software assets used within the organization can be easily discovered, and the list monitored and updated on a regular basis. With a clear idea of the SaaS inventory, IT and Business leaders can then come up with a reliable strategy for SaaS spend optimization.

Collaborate on enriching the SaaS subscription data

The business unit leaders in the organization should contribute to getting the full picture on the SaaS tools they have assumed ownership for. They can do this by adding details to each SaaS software asset, such as reason for purchasing, renewal dates, notification periods, cost, data, compliance and security information. Having this information, IT and business unit leaders can identify compliance and risk control specifics, can reduce spend by identifying duplicate SaaS subscriptions and may opt to go for enterprise-level subscription, if the terms for it would be more favorable.

Follow IT-derived best practices for SaaS management

Once IT has set up clear and easy to follow best practices for keeping the SaaS inventory up-to-date, the Business unit leaders can take responsibility for purchasing and managing the SaaS tools they have assumed ownership for.

Those best practices, however, should cover the entire lifecycle of SaaS applications, from application vetting, to new employee onboarding, identifying the tool usage on a regular basis, to license renewal and offboarding.

The business unit leader’s responsibilities should include adding a new record upon SaaS purchase, storing contract documents and terms, assigning users and roles in the tool, monitoring tool adoption by the users and level of satisfaction with it and managing the SaaS renewal tasks.

The role of employees in the SaaS management process

Be aware of and stick to the organization’s SaaS management strategy

Employees have little contribution to the creation of the organization’s SaaS management strategy, but they contribute a lot to the quality of the SaaS record purchased and the amount of spend associated with it.

Hence, an efficient SaaS strategy should make employees fully aware of the SaaS purchase and adoption guidelines, as well as familiarize them with the compliance, security and privacy requirements for all technology tools used.

Take responsible ownership for the apps that are individually purchased

Employees who purchase applications on behalf of the organization need to be aware of the responsibility they are taking towards evaluating the security, privacy, risks, etc. of the technology they are obtaining, even when it comes to free or low-cost tools. They should perform this evaluation with respect to both the organizational and customer data being used inside the application.

To ensure quality control of new tools entering the corporate environment, the organization may choose to have a review and vetting process for new items added to the SaaS inventory. This review could be performed by the IT department, who would check the new app against the current SaaS stack and review its privacy, compliance, legal and other data and then add it to its catalog of approved applications.

Provide feedback on the SaaS management strategy

Employees are the end users of all applications paid for by the company. Hence, their feedback on the level of usage and satisfaction with the apps they are working for can have a positive effect on the SaaS optimization - helping to reduce redundant apps, downgrading under-used ones and eventually optimizing costs.

Viio SaaS management platform can help to set up a robust SaaS management strategy, optimizing the time spent for all stakeholders. Find out how - in a personalized demo!

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