Businesses usually have strict and well-documented processes set up for the entire lifecycle of an employee in the organization. There are processes for hiring, onboarding, performance assessment and career development, as well as for offboarding of employees.
However, the same is not true for the SaaS lifecycle management processes. And due to the low cost and ease of acquisition of SaaS, by virtually any employee in the organization, the lack of clear processes hugely intensifies the problems and risks related to shadow IT. In addition, shadow IT is growing to be as much as 70% of all software expense in an enterprise!
But, as we will see, both processes have a lot of similarities and if companies follow the same rules for SaaS lifecycle management as for employee lifecycle management, they will certainly need to deal with less shadow IT and less compliance and data security risks in their organization. Lets take a look between the similarities between both processes and what that means for SaaS lifecycle management:
Companies commonly start the process of looking for new hires when an existing hire is leaving the company or when they expect growth in the company operations. They first evaluate the skills they need and whether or not they can use the existing resources for the new responsibilities.
The same principle applies for software acquisition - when tools become outdated, underused, inefficient, or when the increased volume or complexity of tasks require new SaaS tools - companies should start looking for new additions and updates to their SaaS stack. However, they should be regularly executing a SaaS discovery process, ensuring they are aware of the full set of tools available for the organization, along with their owners, available seats, usage terms, data security and compliance policies, so no redundancy in cloud software occurs.
We all know that hiring new team members is performed by HR people who are skilled and trained to identify the best fit for a specific open position. Likewise, SaaS acquisition should not be done by just about anyone, simply because SaaS is low-cost and can be easily expensed by the employees. Ensure the organization has clear processes on new SaaS acquisition, on how such acquisition should be requested, who should be in charge of processing new SaaS requests, including evaluating the real need behind a new tool, the existence of similar tools, as well as the tool security and compliance.
The employee hiring process includes studying the background of potentially suitable applicants, holding an interview and asking the right questions, giving test tasks, etc. Likewise, adding a new tool to your SaaS stack should only be done after a careful audit of the tool functionalities, security and compliance terms. And just like references are required and valued for new hires, obtaining customer references and screening reviews for the SaaS tools should be a mandatory step in the tool evaluation process.
Companies are regularly assessing the performance of their hires and taking action when an employee underperforms, but they hardly have a practice of holding regular performance reviews on their software stack. As a result, software tools may linger in the tool stack, underused or completely unused, for months. Having a SaaS management platform like Oveo that can clearly show each tool’s utilization data can help with taking actions towards optimizing the SaaS usage and expenses.
SaaS subscriptions are renewed on a monthly or annual basis and hence, there are similarities in the renewal process for SaaS and for hires only when the hire is signed up for a short-term contract. But again, the two processes have very much in common: when temporary hires underperform, their contract will not be renewed, but if they meet or exceed the expectations, a new contract will be signed. The same should be applied to SaaS renewal evaluations. And, just like the evaluation for contract renewal of temporary hires begins at least a month before the contract termination, the SaaS renewal evaluation should be scheduled and completed well ahead of the renewal date. Because, just like you would not want underperforming temporary workers staying for another contract period, you shouldn’t be renewing SaaS that are not working for you.
Considering that the average company is processing 1-2 license renewals every business day, it is, hence, critical to maintain a renewal calendar ensuring the SaaS tool performance is reviewed well ahead of the renewal date.
With SaaS adoption growing at unprecedented rates, companies are reaping the benefits but also starting to see the drawbacks of SaaS - in terms of shadow IT, uncontrolled spending and increased data security and compliance risks. If they create a process for SaaS lifecycle management that follows the process for employee lifecycle management, however, they can take advantage of the huge potential of SaaS while minimizing risks.