SaaS in Schools: Friend or Foe

Ekaterina Mizrobova

We live at the cloud age, where SaaS apps are used everywhere, including schools. At that, in schools SaaS benefits are even more prominent.

Software management has become easier: SaaS deployment is simple, maintenance is now vendor’s concern, and updates are mostly automatic. So, from this perspective, SaaS is an ideal solution for a situation when one IT specialist is responsible for software management in several schools. In addition to simplicity, SaaS is scalable, which is also valuable for schools enrolling dozens of new students every year. Another advantage is accessibility. With SaaS students can work from any computer and from any place, the only thing they need is Internet connection. This is useful when the number of computers at school is limited and therefore the number of on-premises software copies may be not enough to provide to each student in a class, or when the same applications are used to do home assignments. Besides, cloud-based applications facilitate information sharing — home assignments, tests, etc.; and facilitate collaboration — students can work on one project simultaneously from different locations. Another important aspect is pricing, at first sight SaaS pricing models seem to be less complicated than those of on-premises software.

For instance, one IT specialist manages software in 20 schools and all in all there are 11000 students, 2500 staff members and 9000 thousand computers. That’s indeed a huge number to manage for one person! Such a volume assumes several thousands entitlements as well. So, it’s important to know what SaaS apps and plans are really used and are cost effective to optimize spend on SaaS. The quicker you do it, the less money you’ll waste, taking into account that not all cloud-based apps are free or offer trial versions. On the bright side, one SaaS app can be easily replaced by another app with similar functionality in case the former didn’t work out well – e.g. an app wasn’t attractive to students and didn’t capture their attention, or a teacher considered it unuseful.

To manage SaaS vendors and reduce SaaS spend, schools need SaaS management systems and tools managing, monitoring and optimizing SaaS subscriptions. Binadox SaaS Web Usage Monitoring can be an optimal solution here, as it not only tracks SaaS subscriptions, but measures their real usage. The insights on real usage enable schools make informative decisions on SaaS procurement and facilitate SaaS optimization. This Binadox’s competitive advantage is of great help especially if a school has implemented a Single Sign On (SSO), such as Okta or Clever, because when a student enters the system using SSO they log into all the applications assigned to their accounts simultaneously. Therefore, without real usage metrics it’s impossible to say which apps and features were actually used and which not.

SaaS proliferation rates are gaining momentum. They are sprouting like mushrooms after the summer rains, therefore organizations, including schools, need a future proof solution, such as Binadox. Binadox registers all kinds of usage and all domains visited by users. Cloud-based apps are making our lives easier in many aspects, but we shouldn’t forget that they cost money, and therefore need to be managed and optimized.

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