There's no denying that we're in the mature age of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and even if you haven't heard of it, it's happening in your organization right now. SaaS refers to centrally hosted, subscription-based software licensing and delivery. What this means is that the old model of employees asking an administrator to purchase, download, and install a piece of software for them is quickly becoming obsolete.
BetterBuys recently estimated that the SaaS industry will see revenues totaling $26 billion this year. And the supply side of the equation is responding in kind. Today, it's easier and cheaper than ever to build Web apps, thanks to cloud hosting platforms like AWS's Free Tier and drag-and-drop tool builders like Bubble.
Overall, this is a huge plus for businesses. Especially given the emphasis most companies put on innovation and growth, professionals need to be able to make decisions on their own and on the fly--and SaaS enables a level of agility required to keep pace. However, while this root-level agility is great in terms of efficiency, eliminating redundant communication, and making sure each actor has the right tools for his or her job, it comes at a cost.
With the SaaS model empowering individuals--and entire departments--to choose from a huge range of products (which may be unverified by the IT team) and bring them into the workplace, reduced security is inevitable.
To fill the gap, companies like Torii are emerging to help IT admins more easily manage tech stacks comprised of various SaaS products, and help provide businesses with maximum agility at minimum risk. If using a service to manage your services seems like overdoing it, consider that over 75 percent of apps used in the workplace are currently not managed by IT departments, a recipe for cyber chaos and gaping vulnerabilities.
SaaS management helps with this problem by providing companies with tech transparency, organizing company-wide software information in a visible way so that leaders can view data about costs, ownership, access, and usage--all at a glance. The team at Pipedrive, for example, estimates that they've been able to save 1.5 hours of work removing users from various systems every time someone leaves the company, thanks to their centralized dashboard.
Backtracking on SaaS isn't just impossible for most companies, it's also impractical. The right move is to encourage employees to continue experimenting with plenty of new tools. Not only is this the most efficient path to innovation, but studies show autonomy as having one of the highest correlations with job satisfaction. Instead, entrepreneurs and businesses should build an awareness of the risks involved and proceed accordingly.