SaaS Operations

Complete guide to
SaaS operations

SaaS operations are critical in today’s software-driven world, ensuring organizations maintain top-spec security, cost optimization, and business agility.

This Vertice resource explains how SaaS operations management works, its benefits, and how we can help.

What is SaaS Ops?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) underpins the modern cloud-based and application-driven business ecosystem, allowing organizations to leverage scalability, agility, and access to innovative features without the burden of managing complex IT infrastructure. 

SaaS products unlock significantly more efficient workflows, higher productivity, and better ROI, but this comes with a caveat. Effectively managing a SaaS stack is difficult, and without doing so, organizations can become overburdened. The sprawling miasma of software tools can generate security risks, time-consuming regulatory compliance issues, and rampant SaaS spending. 

The antidote? SaaS operations, commonly shortened to SaaS Ops. This strategic process orchestrates the entire SaaS lifecycle, ensuring optimal business value, compliance, security, provisioning, cost allocation, and more. SaaS operations can form the bedrock of a wider Cloud FinOps strategy, focusing exclusively on an organization’s SaaS subscriptions. 

SaaS operations management oversees the lifecycle from procurement and onboarding to continuous monitoring for optimal performance. Practical SaaS operations examples include: 

  • Centralized SaaS apps onboarding – SaaS operations teams implement centralized onboarding portals helping employees understand an organization’s apps and workflows. This also enables easily orchestrated role-based access control (RBAC) configurations to ensure users have correct permissions, an important consideration of SaaS security posture management
  • Identifying SaaS product cost savings – SaaS operations management identifies cost savings by spotting redundancies, improving resource allocation, and renegotiating SaaS vendor subscriptions. A SaaS Ops team could leverage a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) like our very own Vertice solution to gain a unified view of their SaaS landscape with real-time metrics and visualized dashboards.
  • SaaS applications integration and automation – SaaS operations management teams may leverage Application Planning Interfaces (APIs) and integration tools to automate data exchange between the various SaaS applications an organization uses. This negates the time-consuming and potentially error-prone manual data entry process, streamlining workflows and unlocking greater efficiency.

Why is SaaS operations management necessary?

The examples above demonstrate why SaaS operations management is necessary at surface level, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Boutique businesses all the way up to multinational enterprises leverage more SaaS tools than ever – a trend showing no signs of abating. 

Widespread SaaS adoption exemplifies the cloud computing revolution over the past decade, with IT professionals consistently navigating this brave new world. Gartner forecasts almost a $250 billion spend on SaaS tools alone during 2024, illustrating the sheer scale of SaaS uptake. 

Vertice’s own investigations paint a similar picture. Our 2024 Q1 SaaS purchasing and cloud spend insights report shows that new SaaS software purchasing is actually trending downwards, from 20% of the proportion of total spend in Q3 2023 down to 8% in Q1 2024. 

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, this downward trend is more of a reaction against rampant spending throughout the first half of 2023, where average SaaS spend per employee increased by 27%. Check the full Vertice 2023 Q4 SaaS purchasing insights report for further insights. 

A company’s SaaS stack still grows by 18% on average year-on-year, despite a reduction in spend on new applications. Organizations are understandably more cautious in a tumultuous economic climate, especially with inflation hitting 12% for SaaS pricing in Q3 2023.  

On the flip side, advances in AI and automation have opened extensive new possibilities. Just consider the fact that the share of spend for AI software tripled between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024. And with inflation trending downwards (reducing to 9.6% in Q1 2024), renewed purchasing is surely on the horizon. 

An abundance of software applications can significantly enhance an organization’s business operations, but only with successful SaaS operations management. The benefits should always outweigh the drawbacks, so keeping tabs on SaaS landscapes is essential. 

Some of the main reasons why SaaS operations management is necessary include: 

  • Fighting SaaS sprawl – Uncontrolled purchasing can easily lead to software sprawl. SaaS operations management tools negate this by promoting SaaS stack visibility to eliminate shadow IT, sub-optimal subscriptions, overspending, and redundant applications. 
  • Guarding against inefficiencies – SaaS operations management helps IT teams fight inefficient workflows by automating time-consuming tasks and providing better orchestration across an organization’s SaaS landscape.
  • Maintaining data security – SaaS operations safeguards sensitive data with regular audits and SaaS security posture management (SSPM) tools. This strengthens data protection by enforcing user access controls and continuous monitoring for potential security threats. 

The benefits of adopting SaaS operations principles

Effective SaaS operations management provides several significant benefits: 

  • Streamlined workflows – SaaS operations management software automates repetitive tasks like user provisioning and software license management, enabling IT departments to spend less time on menial workloads and more time for strategic initiatives. 
  • Enhanced SaaS spend management – Successful SaaS spend management is a bastion against overspending. Organizations gain a clear and holistic overview of their SaaS usage with effective SaaS Ops, minimizing redundant and wasteful spending. 
  • Improved data-driven decision-making – SaaS operations generate real-time metrics and analytics for software usage, enabling data-driven decision-making for procurement, resource allocation, and other SaaS management processes. 
  • More robust security posture – SaaS operations enhance an organization’s security posture with SSPM tools and a generally more transparent SaaS ecosystem. Continuous surveillance and proactive reporting reduces the risk of data breaches and successful cyberattacks.
  • Optimized procurement – SaaS operations drive strategic procurement negotiations with vendors for optimal pricing. For example, the Vertice platform leverages insights into what other organizations are paying for similar subscriptions to negotiate the best price.

Best practices in SaaS operations management

SaaS operations management requires meticulous attention to detail and a thorough, targeted approach. The list below outlines best practices: 

  • Centralize visibility – SaaS Ops platforms like Vertice provide centralized dashboards powered by holistic and real-time insights into user activity and resource allocation. Organizations can subsequently identify underutilized features and optimize subscriptions based on actual usage data. 
  • Establish clear governance – Implementing a defined blueprint throughout the SaaS procurement cycle and beyond is vital. Negotiating, maintaining, monitoring, and evaluating applications must always have clear rules and centralized governance. Standardize management tasks like user provisioning, offboarding, and categorization to streamline operations and enhance efficiency.  
  • Strengthen security posture – SaaS operations management is vital for robust security, helping organizations gain better visibility and control. Leverage integrations with security information and event management systems (SIEMs) to proactively respond to potential threats. Additionally, establish RBAC to minimize the potential for unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Automate workflows – SaaS operations management solutions can help organizations automate time-consuming manual workflows, reducing human errors and creating more time for advanced tasks. Leverage these capabilities to streamline repetitive chores like onboarding and offboarding processes, user provisioning, and license management.
  • Continuously monitor and optimize – SaaS operations management never stops. Organizations must continuously monitor and optimize their SaaS landscapes to help increase cost-effectiveness and security posture.

Supercharge your SaaS operations with Vertice

Vertice’s comprehensive SaaS operations management platform is a proven catalyst for greater cost savings, security, and efficiency. Our white-glove service starts with direct negotiation with vendors, leveraging pricing insights to secure deals at the best price. 

But it’s not just the procurement cycle Vertice can assist with. We also provide real-time reporting, unified dashboards, streamlined renewals, granular control, and diligence insights for compliance, taking care of your tech stack from top to bottom with supercharged SaaS operations management. 

The results can be spectacular. Vertice helped Holidu save more than $330k over a year’s operations, achieving an average 30% SaaS discount and 800% ROI. 

And the service isn’t solely financially-motivated. While Spenmo achieved 25% savings using Vertice, its sales team also saved 50 hours of negotiating time and sent 30% fewer emails per year. Our solution is cost-effective and time-effective, maximizing efficiency via holistic SaaS operations management. We’re not short of more positive customer stories – take a read for other case studies. 

For more information regarding  the SaaS Purchasing Platform, click the link and start saving with Vertice.

Negotiate with leverage to get the best deal

Knowledge of best practice SaaS negotiation strategies gives you unparalleled buying power when approaching software vendors.

To retain your business as a customer, providers are often willing to offer competitive rates or more flexible contract terms — but only if you drive a bargain in your negotiations.

To gain the all-important leverage, Vertice can handle your negotiations with the data necessary to secure a discount — all the while avoiding the common pitfalls in software buying.

Effectively manage SaaS renewals

Renewals are another component of software contracts that can be negotiated. With each new tool taken in your SaaS stack, you’ll be dealing with another renewal date to keep on top of, and another means for software vendors to increase the price you pay.

When you’re expanding, it can be all too easy for contract dates and timelines to fall by the wayside and be forgotten about until it’s too late.

If you aren’t managing your renewals, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to cancel unused contracts or renegotiate your terms for maximum return on investment.

With our one-stop software management platform, Vertice can help you to manage your renewals and identify opportunities across your portfolio to maximize return on investment.

Solve the problem of pricing transparency

One of the biggest challenges that you’ll face in SaaS procurement is the lack of pricing transparency across the industry. Just 45% of SaaS vendors publicly display their pricing information online, leaving many buyers none the wiser as to whether they’re getting a good deal or not.

Using an extensive database, Vertice provides unparalleled insight into the pricing benchmarks offered by over 13,000 global SaaS vendors — intelligence that you won’t find anywhere else.

See how much you could save with Vertice

Use our calculator to estimate how much time and money your business could save on SaaS by using Vertice.

Number of employees
Number of applications
$181,481cost savings
466hours saved
Annual Cloud Spend
Number of Cloud Engineers
$11cost savings
2hours saved
$181,492cost savings
468hours saved

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Ready to save 20% or more on SaaS?

Businesses spend over $150 billion annually on SaaS, across more than 15,000 software vendors. The odds are that you’re overpaying by as much as 20% per year for SaaS.

On top of that, buying, renewing, negotiating and managing your company’s SaaS stack are all major headaches.

We’re here to fix that.

SaaS operations FAQs