No discussion on SaaS licenses would be complete without bringing up Salesforce. The CRM giant surpassed $10 billion in revenue last fiscal year. It has 30,000 employees and counts 83% of the Fortune 500 as customers. It owns 20% of the crowded CRM market share and is on track to surpass $12 billion in revenue next year.

CRM tools in particular lend themselves to being sneakily significant contributors to software overspend. Their fundamental purpose is to be a central hub to view and manage ongoing sales, service, operating and marketing activity. This means everyone from the CFO, to front line customer service reps or the VP of Sales live inside the system. It is vital for managing, monitoring and maintaining customer success.

SaaS license findings

What Cleanshelf has found, however, is that the tool’s significance leads to a surprisingly costly decrease in license management and optimization vigilance.

By design, firing up new SaaS licenses is as easy as a quick email or call. Even departmental managers at the the smallest startups have Salesforce on speed dial, adding licenses or features on a whim as their teams or use cases grow. However companies end up missing out on massive savings by failing to optimize where and how licenses are getting used.

Here’s a real world example.

The following figure offers a recent Salesforce utilization example of a Cleanshelf customer. This table is not abnormal and is generally representative of how companies in most industries use Salesforce. The Sales team uses the CRM religiously, as shown by the nearly 99% utilization rate. But on the Global Services team, fewer than 70% of the team are actually using their assigned SaaS licenses. For CIOs, this could mean that their reallocation gives Sales the licenses they need without making any new purchases. It would also right-size Global Services’ ownership, thereby reducing unnecessary spend. In this client’s case, reviewing utilization uncovered nearly $40,000 waste.

SaaS License imbalances

Whether due to lax off-boarding practices, add-ons being owned by departmental managers armed with a credit card, or overbuying to take advantage of volume discounts, the license imbalance issue is expensive, common, and really hard to discern.

Cleanshelf encourages clients to look to other departments for SaaS licenses before making new purchases. Unused or underused licenses are a great way to keep costs down while giving employees the tools they need. Of course, companies improve utilization by actually seeing what they are using (or not using!) and where licenses live. Call or email us today and see how license optimization using our cross-departmental support can unlock instant savings.

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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 Qumulo, Wodify, and CoStar Group.

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