Growing companies inevitably hit the wall where ad-hoc, disorganized or process-less working slows down growth. Leadership will need to embrace and establish processes like SaaS management to compete. This reduces stress on overtaxed employees and helps stop the frantic, reactionary way of doing business that worked in a company’s early days, but is no longer sustainable.

Once a leader recognizes that process is needed, it’s often needed now. This is common in startups that have experienced rapid growth but haven’t changed cultural norms, like how they buy SaaS licenses, for example. Fortunately, building a process around this is both easy and impactful. Without emphasis here however, CFOs and technology leaders are going to daily grapple with issues surrounding:

  • Redundant applications
  • Unused licenses
  • Low security and data compliance
  • 3rd party access to data and devices
  • License term violations
  • Undesirable auto-renewals
  • Expired contracts

SaaS Management Process Basics

Building processes is most simply about identifying the primary and secondary tasks associated with completing or delivering a desired objective. Here are the essential ones that dozens of client and startup relationships have showed us:

  1. identify what was bought,
  2. find what is being used,
  3. make sure you are paying the best possible price.

Consistent, predictable and easily executable processes free up bandwidth. They reduce the 30% waste driven by workplace inefficiencies. They support quality control and repeatability in the most critical business operations, like customer support or financial management. Done well, they actually support agility – and don’t have to represent the scrappy startup’s biggest fear: becoming a slow-moving, bureaucratic enterprise dinosaur.

Want to add process but not sure where to start?

Try focusing on existing finance workflows that are already impacted by SaaS spend. Here are few ideas offered up by existing Cleanshelf clients:

Establish process around how new vendors are added. With Cleanshelf, new SaaS vendors are detected automatically, reducing the need to track vendors with spreadsheets or otherwise miss new vendors that are being engaged or need to be paid by AP. Additionally, this accelerates employee accountability for purchasing and makes establishing guidelines on SaaS purchasing by budget owners and card owners a simpler exercise.

Establish process around contract renewals. Unless an established process is in place around renewals, contracts will be either a) automatically paid, regardless of use, or b) become points of contention as teams have conflicting and arbitrary conversations around whether a software tool is being used effectively, or is worth renewing. Finance can establish consistency and drive expectation setting here by first understanding what is coming for renewal, validating the software’s use and guiding productive conversations on what to do with the licenses moving forward.

These are just two process examples but they prove an important point – effective processes are supported by automation and other technological ‘shortcuts’ that make things faster and less prone to error. Healthy processes will reduce manual (read: expensive and inaccurate!) work and save time while boosting opportunities to spend hours and dollars in more valuable ways.

It is never too early to establish a process for software management. By adopting a systemized approach for managing SaaS Finance and Technology leaders get a single, automated source for spend and vendor management, utilization measurement and license optimization. Contact the team at Cleanshelf today to learn about our software system of record and how you can easily introduce cost and time saving processes with it.

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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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