Excessive SaaS Subscriptions Can Cost You Much More Than You Think

Ekaterina Mizrobova

There are always more SaaS applications than you know of and there are always fewer licenses assigned or used than you paid for. All this is due to the uncontrolled SaaS app adoption and inadequate SaaS management. When there are thousands of cloud services on the market, relatively cheap and easy to deploy, employees and business units procure their own SaaS. And then it snowballs, generating cloud software chaos and skyrocketing SaaS costs.

Today employees subscribe to SaaS apps without consulting IT or checking whether an app with the capabilities they need has already been procured. As a result there are hundreds of duplicate SaaS applications across a company, as there are plenty different available email, CRM, file sharing and other services and each employee/department has their own preferences.

Today you need to make smarter decisions about your saas spend. To do that, Gartner recommends to “optimize software configurations”, “recycle software licenses”, and “leverage software asset management (SAM) tools”.

We’ve already talked about software optimization and leveraging SAM tools, in this post we’ll talk about software recycling. According to Gartner, recycling software licenses means “the recovery of unused license rights for reuse to avoid new license purchases” (also called rehavesting). That means you should discover, track, & manage your recurring cloud software subscriptions.

First and foremost, to be able to recycle the procured licenses, you need to know what licenses you have, which of them are used and in what scope they are used. In other words, you need total visibility for your business’s cloud software apps to identify any unused, underused or abandoned licenses. Abandoned licenses are those that have not been in use for quite a while. This can happen, for instance, when an employee was retired or moved to another position, or just don’t need this app any more and hasn’t cancelled the subscription. Situations of this kind were dealt with in our previous post on the JML process.

The next step is cloud-based portfolio optimization. Upon discovery of all inefficiently used SaaS applications, you can reassign unused entitlements, downgrade subscriptions if not all their capabilities are used, and plan future purchases.

To prevent inefficient SaaS adoption and limit the number of SaaS apps across the company, you need IT transparency. So that any employee in need of a new capability could check whether there is already an entitlement available. An so that the IT and procurement before buying new apps could recover and redeploy existing licenses.

How to save IT budget on SaaS subscriptions and software compliance