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While there’s no doubt organizations of all sizes are relying more on the cloud than ever, the shift toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications has become especially pronounced. Organizations may be building and deploying more applications on public clouds in the months ahead, but it’s apparent the path of least resistance for many was to employ readily available SaaS applications in place of on-premise applications.

That shift enabled many businesses to continue to operate at a time when remotely accessing applications running in on-premises environments often proved problematic. As is always the case with such transitions, there were tradeoffs to be made.

A survey of 200 enterprise IT executives conducted by Productiv, a provider of a platform for managing SaaS application costs, finds only two percent have complete visibility into the return on investment (ROI) of their current application stack. Not surprisingly, going into 2021 a full 81 percent plan to improve their SaaS application visibility as part of an effort to optimize spending.

However, nearly half (44 percent) report that they currently lack the tools required to make those assessments. Well over half (58 percent) of tech executives rely heavily on manual tracking through individual application dashboards to achieve some semblance of application value management (AVM).

Optimizing spending is only part of the challenge

A separate survey of 700 IT leaders and security professionals conducted by BetterCloud, a provider of tools for managing SaaS applications, finds organizations use 80 SaaS applications on average. While manually onboarding employees to each of these applications is tedious enough, it turns out most organizations struggle whenever an employee leaves the company. The survey finds IT teams spend an average of 7.12 hours offboarding a single employee from all the SaaS applications being employed.

All too often, many former employees are never offboarded. It’s not uncommon for organizations to discover employees still have access to applications for months, sometimes even years, after they have left the company. Obviously, that creates a major compliance issue that many organizations will need to address.

There will be no going back

Most organizations will not only continue to rely on them as employees work from the office more frequently; the average organization will also integrate and customize those applications to better fit their preferred workflows.

All this reliance on SaaS applications is giving rise to a new SaaSOps term to describe the unique challenges associated with managing SaaS applications. It will only be a matter of time before many organizations will be looking for the equivalent of a managed SaaSOps service that manages multiple application environments on their behalf. Savvy managed service providers (MSPs) will be presented with a major opportunity to expand the scope of their practices.

In the meantime, MSPs should be investing time and energy in mastering as many of these application platforms as they can. There is likely to be a lot of merger and acquisition activity among providers of these platforms in the next 12 months. However, most of these platforms have achieved enough critical mass in the last year to now remain sustainable for years come.

Photo: thodonal88 / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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