Do you need a SaaS manager? That’s a question for many of today’s employers in nearly any industry. Traditionally, businesses hire IT Asset Managers to handle everything technology related. That includes laptops, data servers, software, and so on. The offshoot of cloud-based applications increasingly finding their way into corporate tech stacks, however, is that there’s a rising star in the software space. And that’s the SaaS Manager.
With the acceleration of global cloud adoption, Gartner predicts that spending on public cloud services will reach $482 billion in 2022. More importantly, this spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending by 2026. Since SaaS businesses are reaching 7X forward revenue, traditional software companies are in a rush to convert their offerings from on-premise to SaaS.
If managing all of these SaaS applications sounds overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. Many companies are concerned about subscription costs. And then you’ve got issues such as compliance or cyber security concerns related to vendor subscription services.
SaaS managers help businesses scale their cloud usage fast while mitigating data breaches or other threats that come with the cloud. Here, we’ll cover why you need a SaaS manager and provide you with a sample job description you can use today.
Software Asset Management vs SaaS Management
First, it’s important to understand the difference between Software Asset Management (SAM) and SaaS Management. While related and overlapping, these two roles have unique responsibilities when it comes to overseeing technology.
SAM includes all software, both in the cloud and on-premise. SAM managers are focused on tracking all software that exists in the organization. This includes managing when maintenance or service work is needed, as well as handling integration into on-premise infrastructure.
A SaaS manager has a rapidly widening scope of responsibilities. They monitor only cloud-based software and dig into data like license usage stats, feature engagement, and contract details.
Why do you need a SaaS Manager?
Cloud-based tools make it far easier to purchase, implement, and use business critical tools. And that’s across all departments – including engineering, sales, and finance. This problem with this, however, is that anyone in the organization can make those purchases without oversight from procurement or IT.
Without a central SaaS management system, it’s impossible to know where money is going to waste or if the company is open to risks like data breaches. A SaaS manager can monitor, document, and ensure compliance across the entire organization’s SaaS technology stack.
SaaS management can be broken down into three equally important components of purchased software:
- License management: Documenting how many licenses you have with each vendor, who those licensed are assigned to, and whether they are being used effectively.
- Vendor management: Staying in compliance with vendor contracts and building strong relationships with suppliers to secure better pricing, access the newest features, and enjoy smoother renewal negotiations.
- Spend management: Tracking every purchase with every vendor, identifying opportunities to cut SaaS waste and grow spend with strategic vendors.
Key competencies for a SaaS manager
Since SaaS is usually on a licensing subscription model (though some vendors are switching to consumption models), it’s important to optimize your software to get the most value for your spend and remove tools that are no longer useful. SaaS managers are also responsible for ensuring IT security, tech stack compatibility, vendor management, and reducing SaaS waste.
Businesses must have trust in their vendors’ security and risk mitigation processes. Oftentimes, buyers express serious concern and frustration with vendor sales reps— usually because they make claims about security measures but don’t have the evidence or security experts to back up their assertions. SaaS managers have a deep understanding of compliance and security requirements and can ask the right questions on sales calls.
Integration with an existing IT stack
Integration isn’t simply about whether two systems are able to speak to each other and share data. SaaS managers will also have to vet third party integrators and API costs, while ensuring integration addresses security and compatibility. If a new tool doesn’t meet important industry guidelines like GDPR or HIPAA, it can open up your entire stack to risk.
Reducing SaaS waste
Almost 30% of the money companies spend on SaaS software is underutilized or completely wasted. SaaS managers have an important role to play in identifying these tools, canceling contracts, and redistributing spend towards more strategic needs.
Two common types of SaaS waste include shelfware (products that were purchased but never deployed), and Shadow IT (tools purchased by end users without IT oversight and without going through compliance governance). Regular audits and monitoring can catch both of these problems.
Strategic SaaS contract management
When SaaS managers have audited and documented all of their tools, they have the ability to truly optimize the SaaS spending. They can identify duplicate applications, ask for concessions and discounts with existing contracts, rightsize licenses, and even cancel agreements all together. These specialists come to the table with their expectations and concerns prepared ahead of the time, streamlining renewal negotiations and saving the business money.
Sample SaaS Manager Job Posting
We’re looking for someone experienced in working with Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, vendors, and contracts. You must have a deep understanding of SaaS management systems and the ability to compile and interpret usage data and pricing comparisons. You will be in charge of supporting internal customers including procurement, finance, and vendor management teams.
You will head up automating SaaS monitoring to improve compliance, tech stack integrations, and license utilization. You will serve as part of a team of specialists who create, implement, and enforce company wide governance processes.
You will also be tasked with increasing our organization’s technical maturity and supporting stakeholders on our digital transformation by lowering costs, improving efficiencies, establishing data governance, and encouraging better buying decisions.
- Record and maintain a record of all SaaS assets
- Regularly audit the number of SaaS tools purchased, used, and going unused
- Monitor license and feature utilization to make sure the company is getting the full value of our subscriptions
- Review contracts and terms of service to ensure that the company is protected from security risks, compliance concerns, and data breaches
- Work in collaboration with internal end users and buyers from all departments
- Act as a middle man between internal customers and vendors whenever there are concerns related to the use of SaaS products including feature limitations, licensing access, bugs, and more
- Understand and enforce approval processes for new purchases
- Lead evaluations for new SaaS services including reviewing and shortlisting vendors
- Increase automated workflows within the business to save time and money
- Ensure that all SaaS products safely integrate with the existing technology stack
- Hold vendors accountable to SLAs and KPIs
- Conduct at least one audit of SaaS tools annually
- Work closely with finance and procurement teams to forecast spending, find opportunities for savings, and plan for growth.
- Deploy, track, and re-assign licenses to avoid SaaS waste
- Act as support for procurement/sourcing teams when in vendor negotiations
- Provide guidance to C-suite when planning for future growth
- Implement compliance and risk management methodologies
- Increase visibility by creating reports and dashboards that are tied to key business outcomes and goals
Invest in SaaS management software
If you don’t have a SaaS management platform already, it’s time to invest. Software like Quolum helps SaaS managers monitor and evaluate all applications, vendors, and contracts in one place. You can learn more about what to look for in a platform with our guide on the 12 Questions Your Spend Management Software Should Help You Answer.