“Is SaaS expensive?” It is a question that more and more tech CEOs and CFOs are asking every day. Broadly speaking, there are two camps in this debate. One camp maintains that yes, SaaS is wildly expensive – companies sign up for dozens of SaaS tools and their monthly bills end up being sky-high.
The other camp (the one that’s right) offers a more measured response – SaaS is expensive, but only if you buy it wrong.
Sure, SaaS procurement is a difficult and time-consuming process. You need to figure out which SaaS tools are essential for your business to function normally and which ones are expendable. And if you don’t get this bit right, your business can flush thousands of dollars down the drain in unused software every month.
There are no two ways around it – SaaS procurement is a high-risk, high-reward enterprise. This is why many high-growth companies have decided to outsource their SaaS procurement to SaaS experts and rely on SaaS management platforms. That way, they can still get all the rewards that SaaS promises and none of the risks.
Among these in-vogue SaaS buying platforms, Vendr and Tropic stand out as two of the most popular tools on the market. But which one of them is better? Vendr vs Tropic isn’t really a David vs Goliath battle, but it’s a fascinating one nonetheless. Let’s have a look.
- Vendr and Tropic are two of the most popular SaaS procurement tools out there – but their use cases have a fair amount of variance.
- Vendr is an all-in-one SaaS procurement platform that promises to take care of everything from contract negotiations to SaaS compliance. However, some of its customers argue that these contract negotiations don’t always go as smoothly as they would like.
- Similarly, Tropic can review, purchase and renew SaaS licenses for you. While Tropic is incredible as a workflow tool, both data (from utilisation and pricing standpoint) and expertise remains a question mark.
What is Vendr?
Only formed in 2018, Boston-based Vendr is one of the fastest-growing companies in the SaaS sector. It was one of the first platforms to offer specialised SaaS procurement services. In fact, Vendr used to be primarily a SaaS procurement tool. But in 2022, it acquired the SaaS management platform Blissfully and integrated it into its own platform.
Nowadays, Vendr is an all-in-one tool. In a nutshell, it promises to take care of every single SaaS-related aspect of your business processes – from spend tracking to procurement, to even contract management. But does it fulfill its promises? Let’s find out.
Pros of Vendr
These are some of the reasons why Vendr keeps attracting more and more customers:
- It can take care of contract negotiations for you – meaning you won’t have to hire an in-house SaaS procurement expert
- It delivers valuable insights and analysis to help you make smarter business decisions. The Vendr SaaS Spending reports are very thorough.
- It’s an ever-expanding platform that keeps adding new tools every other month
- It saves you time by taking over the procurement process, from software tracking to subscription negotiation.
- It helps with SaaS compliance – meaning it protects your data and the data of your customers
- It includes a wide range of customisable purchase processes so you can tailor your SaaS procurement to fit your business needs
- Its customer service team can provide background support
- It can help you coordinate security reviews to ensure all potential threats are detected on time
As great as Vendr is, it also comes with its fair share of disadvantages – let’s see what they are.
Cons of Vendr
These are some of the reasons why certain Vendr customers have started looking elsewhere for their SaaS procurement needs:
- Vendr is harder to use than other SaaS procurement tools: because new features keep being added to the platform, it can be difficult to keep up with them.
- It doesn’t offer monthly usage reports, so you can’t track your SaaS subscription usage as closely as you like.
- It is known to have caused friction between companies and SaaS vendors, potentially damaging professional relationships between both parties.
- It only helps with Shadow IT detection if you pay extra money.
- If you let Vendr handle your SaaS procurement, contract negotiations may take much longer than expected.
- Vendr doesn’t include enough in-app feedback options — there will always be a lot of back and forth via email to solve issues.
- Vendr relies too much on manual inputting when it comes to registering your contract preferences – which can lead to the odd oversight
- Vendr has junior salespeople acting as procurement experts
There’s no doubt that Vendr is one of the most popular and useful SaaS procurement and management platforms out there. But when it comes to saving money, does it do enough? Not really. To start with, Vendr is known for being one of the most expensive SaaS procurement tools on the market. Sure, it can do a lot of things for you – but they certainly don’t come for cheap.
It’s true that Vendr will help you to manage your SaaS portfolio more efficiently. It will also save you some very valuable time. But if your main priority is slashing your SaaS spend, you’re better off with a company that offers guaranteed savings on your SaaS subscriptions. That way, you’ll only pay for your SaaS procurement tool if it’s actually saving you money.
Now that we’ve gone over the pros and cons of Vendr, let’s have a look at one of its competitors – Tropic. Will it fare better when it comes to money-saving?
What is Tropic?
Tropic is an all-in-one procurement platform that makes buying and managing your SaaS portfolio a lot easier. How does it stand out from the other platforms that do the same thing? By being experts in simplifying SaaS workflows. Tropic will identify the redundant tasks in your SaaS processes and help you to find shortcuts that enhance efficiency without compromising quality.
Although Tropic markets itself as a one-stop store for all your SaaS requirements, the truth is that it is mostly focused on the finance side of things. It can help you to optimize your SaaS spend and can take care of contract negotiations for you – which is a great plus if your workforce is too busy to deal with that. On a similar note, Tropic can also do the exact same thing for SaaS vendors.
Pros of Tropic
These are some of the reasons why Tropic software is one of the most popular SaaS procurement tools on the market:
- Tropic has a large volume of customer success associates, who focus on your needs.
- It can purchase, renew and cancel software for you – meaning it’ll save you plenty of time and ensure that unused applications aren’t automatically renewed.
- It’s one of the best tools on the market to simplify workflows and increase their efficiency. The flexibility in workflows is supreme.
- It helps with compliance requirements by optimizing licenses and automatically collecting security documentation.
- Tropic allows you to track your SaaS spend, so you can always be on top of your budget.
- Tropic has been clear that it has no conflicts of interest.
However, there are a few issues with Tropic that ought to be mentioned.
Cons of Tropic
In spite of its name, Tropic isn’t always paradise:
- The procurement services arm at Tropic is new, and they’ve self-admittedly lacked expertise. It does not help that the negotiators hired are often not from a procurement background. Here’s one such Job Description:
- It doesn’t entirely replace procurement – certain customers have reported that they still need in-house procurement experts.
- It doesn’t allow you to set up your own self-managed workflows – every time there is a change, you need to reach Tropic’s support team.
- There are not enough usage mapping features – there are other SaaS procurement tools that will save you more time, such as Vendr or Quolum. For instance, Tropic mostly measures usage by looking at logins via Okta/Google, rather than truly understanding how a product is used.
- Their spend control feature is still a beta – meaning it’s not completely reliable.
- It doesn’t help you detect Shadow IT – meaning you’re more likely to have exposure risk from a cybersecurity perspective.
This review isn’t surprising, given that the buyers at Tropic need not necessarily have procurement or legal expertise. It often means you spend hours on reading SaaS Contracts, which isn’t really time saved.
While Tropic is far from being the all-in-one SaaS tool it promises to be, it’s still a really good SaaS procurement platform. But is it better than Vendr?
Vendr vs Tropic? The final verdict
Although they’re both SaaS procurement platforms, Vendr and Tropic are different tools that serve different purposes. If you have plenty of experience with SaaS management platforms, you might benefit from using Vendr, which is harder to use but has more customisation options. And if you’re happy to let a third-party take complete care of your SaaS procurement needs, then Tropic is the one to go for.
Overall, there’s no clear winner between Vendr and Tropic. This is particularly true when it comes to saving money. Both Vendr and Tropic are likely to help you get better deals for your SaaS subscriptions. But they will do so at a cost.
With Tropic, the lack of usage data is a big question mark, whereas with Vendr, the fact that they act as a reseller, or have connections with both buyers and sellers must make you hesitant.
To avoid these pitfalls, you could consider the third choice. Quolum – an all-in-one SaaS management and procurement platform. Why? To start with, because Quolum does guarantee that you’ll save money with it. But more importantly, unlike both Vendr and Tropic Quolum has both (a) a far more robust utilisation and analytics engine; and (b) a team of procurement experts, and not just salespeople doing the negotiation.
How does Quolum compare to Vendr?
As we’ve seen, one of the biggest weaknesses of Vendr is that it can cause friction with SaaS vendors. Sometimes, Vendr extends negotiations unnecessarily – which leaves you without the software you need.
To make things worse, it prioritises certain SaaS vendors over your preferred clients. As you’ll probably know, this might also give your company a bad name. After all, word spreads at the speed of light among SaaS vendors.
At Quolum, our biggest priority is making you happy. And we believe that the key to making you happy is listening to you. So if you’d rather work with this vendor instead of that other one, that’s what we’ll do. If you give us a deadline, we’ll hold up our end of the bargain before it expires.
With Quolum, your thoughts matter.
With expertise, no conflict of interest and more, here’s a summary of how they stack up.
How does Quolum compare to Tropic?
The problem with Tropic? That it ignores shadow IT, which can leave your SaaS defences completely exposed. And with SaaS software becoming a priority target for cybercriminals in 2023 (Forbes’ words, not ours), this can be fatal for your business.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fight cybercriminals on your own. For Quolum, bringing shadow IT apps into the light is a priority, not an afterthought. With our SaaS management tool, your SaaS portfolio will be impenetrable.
And another big difference. As helpful as Tropic is, it doesn’t completely erase the need for an in-house SaaS expert buyer – plus a paralegal to help with SaaS compliance. What does this mean? That you’ll have to pay even more money.
But most crucially, Tropic does not have a utilisation framework that’s extensive. So you may buy 100 seats, even though only 60 members of your team use the paid features. True story (ask an expert for details here).
If you want to look at a heads on comparison between the tools, deep dive here.
And it’s not just about the money. On top of saving you thousands of dollars, Quolum will also help with all of the following:
- We take care of your SaaS procurement from start to finish – you do your work and we’ll get you the tools you need
- Instead of using sales people as negotiators, we only rely on procurement experts who know the ins and outs of SaaS apps
- We can help you reclaim your unused SaaS capacity so you don’t waste money on unused software
- We offer in-depth utilization tracking stats to make sure that we’ve got all the necessary data to make SaaS-related decisions
- We will identify your shadow IT to enhance your cyber security posture – as SaaS security experts, we’ll always have your back.
- We will provide you with an easy-to-use dashboard where you can review all your relevant SaaS data and compare your SaaS spend with previous months.
Start saving today with Quolum
The verdict is in – if you want to save money without compromising efficiency, Quolum should be your go-to SaaS management and buying platform. While Quolum definitely has it’s flaws (on say workflow for instance), the data-driven approach, coupled with expertise makes it a clear priority for any leader looking at ROI over anything else.
Want to hear more about our services? Then waste no more time and speak with a savings expert today.
What is SaaS procurement?
SaaS Procurement is the process through which a company identifies, reviews and ultimately purchases SaaS tools. The procurement process also includes tasks such as security compliance, risk mitigation and implementation.
What does Tropic do?
Tropic is a SaaS buying service that manages your SaaS subscriptions and contracts for you. It can also recommend you SaaS tools and take care of your contract negotiations with SaaS vendors.
What is Quolum?
Quolum is an all-in-one SaaS management and procurement platform that enhances your SaaS workflows while guaranteeing money savings. From identifying shadow IT, to reducing unused seats, to making payments and to even negotiating SaaS contracts, Quolum can do it all.