Analytics in Service of SaaS Management

Ekaterina Mizrobova

Everything is changing including methods of application delivery. On-premises software is being replaced by web-based (SaaS) applications. Today, according to Microsoft, a typical organization has 12 SaaS (web) apps for each on-premises application. The benefits of SaaS apps are enormous, including lower costs, flexibility and day-and-night availability. However, web-based apps still need management, but traditional Software Asset Management (SAM) tools, which are used to manage on-premises software, are not suitable for SaaS management due to some peculiarities of SaaS applications.

First of all, the environment SaaS apps work in is much more complex. On-premises software can be compared to a private house, while SaaS can be compared to a rental. On-premises apps are limited to an operating system environment, which is define and mature. Unlike on-premises software, SaaS applications are not that isolated, on the contrary they are open, versatile and dynamic. For SaaS apps a browser becomes an operating system with its inherent peculiarities and unique challenges. That is why SaaS management requires other tools different from those used to manage on-premises software.

There is a number of impediments that complicate SaaS management, including a variety of web-based applications, the fact that employees can use different browsers and SaaS proliferation rates. Besides, being web-based SaaS apps leave no footprint in the operating system and, therefore, no information or inventory is available.

One of the main impediments is the browser platform itself with its multiple security contexts and script libraries. The browser platform is dynamic and is supposed to perform multiple tasks, including web-page loading, playing games, audio and video, and enabling customer services, and therefore requires dedicated management tools capable to look inside the browser.

Another complexity is the number of web-based applications. Organizations adopt hundreds and even thousands of SaaS applications, which are onerous to manage without insights on their usage and ownership, and such insights cannot be provided by conventional software management tools.

To manage web-based applications, you need to know what apps are subscribed to in your organization and how those apps are used. IT teams frequently make faulty assumptions on SaaS usage across organizations relying simply on the number of licenses and information on the purchases made. Absence or lack of SaaS usage information does not only create obstacles for SaaS management, but can also delay projects, deteriorate employees’ performance and inflate costs.

New SaaS web usage monitoring tools, such as Binadox, can provide deep insights into web-based apps and their usage to help in their management. The data Binadox is able to provide are key for making informative and accurate decisions.

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