Successful IT and Finance leaders have loads of responsibilities – tracking technology, eliminating security risks and increasing user satisfaction, managing resources and budgets, and analyzing reports to name a few. On a busy day, the workload becomes quite overwhelming. To automate time-consuming tasks and follow the rapid growth of the SaaS tools, leaders need the best SaaS management platform with the best SaaS management features.

Every SaaS management platform differs. So defining essential features and how each platform addresses the challenges of fast-growing companies, is important.

SaaS management systems may focus on policy management, the automation of administrative IT workflows, or even role-based access management. They can be geared for overseeing licenses or they can serve as a platform that generates reports for usage, security and compliance, implementation, and future planning.

The “best” platform differs depending on a leader's or corporate’s particular needs. However, the most robust platforms include the following key features:

  1. Automatic discovery of company-wide SaaS
  2. Overall expense reduction
  3. Broad vendor integrations
  4. Top-grade security
  5. Analytics-driven command over SaaS

After you’ve finished this guide you’ll have a clear understanding of the essential SaaS Management features and ready to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right SaaS Management platform for you.

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    1. Automatic discovery of company-wide SaaS

    Leading SaaS management platforms have the ability to automatically discover, then list, all of a company’s SaaS software. This reporting includes subscription as well as acquired license information.

    Automated discovery reduces the time-consuming, manual task of finding, viewing, and adding details about every SaaS acquisition and license.

    You know how long it takes to reach out to the department leaders to get all the information on SaaS tools they use and how often running the spreadsheets get so complicated because the employees change so fast.

    In our 2019 The State of Business SaaS Spend, Harry's estimated to have 80 apps deployed while in reality, they had more than 146 apps on their payroll.

    Central storage of all SaaS information means swift, convenient, SaaS management. As important: companies know exactly how much they spend on services.

    2. Overall expense reduction

    As enterprises add SaaS tools, ongoing monitoring of the subscription stack becomes more difficult. This results in extravagant and unnecessary expenses, wasted technologies, and organizational inefficiency.

    SaaS management platforms help companies reestablish control. A key facet of control: cost reduction. Leading platforms offer insight into what subscriptions are owned, but not used.

    From there, companies can boost organizational efficiencies (e.g., become more productive with the tools they already own) or shed expenses by cancelling unused subscriptions.

    These utilization and spend insights inform every step of the SaaS management process – from considering SaaS deployment for highest ROI, to planning and negotiating renewals. As well, they provide useful data for finance functions like corporate card management, cost reporting, procurement, and accounts payable.


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    3. Broad vendor integrations

    The features discussed above are made possible because of robust platform integrations and partnerships with SaaS providers. Consider how expansive (or limited) these connections are before investing in a SaaS management solution.

    For example: providers should list at least 2,000 SaaS vendors, and work with multiple, single sign-on (SSO) systems, HR and ERP applications, contract management tools, and cloud access security brokers.

    An array of integrations and partnerships ensures simple management, measurement, and access. Confirm necessary financial integrations in particular, to ensure that 100% of visibility on spend is obtained.

    When calculating SaaS expenses, it’s important to have clear processes that drive error-free outcomes. The right partners can help implement business process management software.

    Finally, platforms should work with cost management tools on wider expense management initiatives and to surface shadow IT. Target integrations like SAP Concur, Expensify, and Nexonia.


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    4. Top-grade security

    Regulation compliance is fundamental to enterprise SaaS management. Many platforms utilize SSL encryption and advanced server infrastructure, however, consider the added benefit of SOC 2 compliance.

    SOC 2 compliance is critical for technology-based businesses that store consumer information in the cloud. When a SaaS management solution obtains this compliance, it reflects a commitment to security, accessibility, procedural ethics, and customer privacy. Cleanshelf, one of the earliest industry platforms, is an example of a vendor that maintains SOC 2 compliance.

    Working with SOC 2 compliant vendors remains a vital point when selecting a vendor to work with.

    Additionally, verify that the platform keeps pace with SaaS security using safeguarded databases with superior AES-256 cryptographic libraries.

    Finally, determine whether a system is compliant with the coding guidelines of a particular industry. Hosting via the reliable Google Cloud platform, which is supported by experts in data, platform, and network security is a wise choice.


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    5. Analytics-driven command over SaaS

    A SaaS management platform uses intelligent tools and analytics to supply Chief Information Officers with improved spend transparency and usage insights.

    This intelligence should be delivered in an easy-to-consume interface with reporting and dashboard visuals. CIOs shouldn’t have to make sense of static data points from disparate sources. Instead, their platform should support rich visualizations for decision-making speed and effectiveness.


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Powerful solutions that cut costs, increase efficiency, and supercharge SaaS administration

According to 360 Market Updates, the worldwide SaaS spend management platform market is predicted to witness promising growth in the upcoming years.

Prompted by the development of new SaaS services as well as the intensifying competition among key players in the industry, the market is predicted to hit $1518.2 million by the end of 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.2% during the 2021 to 2026 forecast period.

That’s no surprise, given the robust features of the SaaS management system and with the persistent utilization of SaaS services by companies across the globe.

This bodes well for enterprises with significant SaaS deployments. With innovative management tools in their hands, they can better allocate resources, improve user engagement, and reduce manual, error-prone reporting.

Of course, they can achieve the most pressing goal too – maximize the capabilities of their SaaS, and optimize workflows for business growth.

Summing it up

So what are the irreplaceable SaaS management features you need to successfully manage SaaS in your organization?

SaaS management can either be a tool or platform, a supporting system or a system driving decisions.

A single tool is a one-time thing that can help you cover specific needs - SaaS discovery or cost optimization while a SaaS management platform is an automated ongoing companion that drives decisions by helping leaders with complete SaaS intelligence into SaaS adoption, culture sentiments, department collaboration, and AI-supported insights.

The verdict? – find a SaaS management platform that covers all the features important to you, and complement it with specific leadership skills such as communication and negotiation skills. There is no perfect platform, but you can come pretty close to it if you do your research properly.

After you’ve found the perfect platform, make sure to understand why SaaS management means more savings and security, and get to know the four tenents of better enterprise SaaS management.

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About Cleanshelf

Cleanshelf is the leading enterprise SaaS management platform focused on tracking, controlling, and benchmarking SaaS applications. Their SOC 2-compliant and AI-powered technology helps companies save up to 30% on their SaaS spending by automatically identifying unmanaged contracts, duplicate licenses, and wasted cloud software subscriptions. Based in San Francisco, Cleanshelf provides an enterprise-grade solution to over a hundred clients, including Hilton, Looker, and CoStar Group.

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