Has your SaaS stack become a Frankenstack?
Sarah Monette | JUL 12, 2022
Maybe it was a favorite tool from a previous job, team members who felt more comfortable with a certain software, or the feeling that one of your tools just wasn’t doing everything you wanted it to. Perhaps it was a really good sales person or the time pressure that got you to sign that contract.
Whatever the reason, you’ve ended up with a bunch of niche tools that are stitched together, some overlapping and others missing entirely. Not to mention the ones that you may not know about at all.
If this sounds familiar, it’s likely that you’ve created a “Frankenstack.” With all the best intentions, your tech stack has been patched together in a way that is, at best, inefficient and costly and, at worst, a security hazard. If you’re not careful, your Frankenstack could develop a mind of its own.
Why does this matter?
If Frankenstacks were merely difficult to manage, then perhaps they could be dealt with. Unfortunately, the trouble goes much deeper than that. To begin with, cluttered tech stacks could be harming your employees’ productivity.
In a 2021 study by Cornell University and Qatalog, 54% of respondents said the number of applications they use actually makes it harder for them to find information, and that this takes up roughly 20% of the workday. On average, respondents said that 21% of the mistakes they make can be attributed to problems accessing information on different tools.
Aside from eating up valuable time, the proliferation of tools is also chipping away at IT budgets. According to Vertice’s database, the average app engagement score is only 45% — meaning companies are either over-licensing or employees are not adopting tools as expected.
Then there are the risks of shadow IT, including untracked spending, security issues, and lost data. According to Cornell and Qatalog, 63% of employees admitted to using tools other than the ones recommended by their IT departments. It’s highly likely that this is happening in most companies. IT just may not always be aware of it.
How to take back control of your SaaS stack
The first step to getting the proverbial monster under control is to get a better idea of what kind of monster you’ve created. If you think this is easier said than done, you’re not alone.
Contracts can be managed by department heads, the IT department, individuals, or a mixture of all of these. They can be tracked in spreadsheets or stored in a file-sharing platform. To get them under control, you must first get them all in order.
Tools like Vertice can help with this, providing a dashboard that ties all of your company’s SaaS contracts together in one convenient view — making it easy to track contract owners, timelines, and costs.
Once you have all the information in one place, take a step back and consider how your stack functions as a whole. It’s likely that you have some tools that are doubling up on tasks. For example, 89% of companies still use multiple video conferencing tools. Consolidating all of your contracts helps you see where you can trim back licenses or replace tools altogether.
This is also a good opportunity to determine where you might have gaps. Your employees can help you figure this out. What tools do they feel like they’re missing? Where do they get stuck? What tools have low adoption because they’re hard to use?
Utilize employee feedback about what works and what doesn’t to remove the incentive for them to provision duplicate tools on their own.
Keeping the monster at bay
Cleaning up your SaaS stack is one thing. Keeping it tidy is another thing entirely. Here are three tips for maintaining a well-balanced stack:
1. Take a holistic approach to tech
Think about how an individual tool complements the rest of your technology infrastructure, rather than as a standalone. Your choice of webinar platform doesn’t start and end with the webinar itself. It needs to integrate into your CRM, marketing automation, and analytics tools. All your communication channels should mesh seamlessly with your project management and collaboration tools. Purchase things that are built to last, rather than stitching together point solutions that don’t work well with each other.
2. Streamline your procurement process
If your department heads think it takes too long to provision a new tool, there’s a good chance some will go rogue and take it upon themselves. Make the procurement process as quick and simple as possible. Be sure to highlight the cost and time savings associated with maintaining a well-structured technology stack.
3. Leverage Vertice to keep your contracts on track
With an intuitive dashboard, contract negotiation services, and guaranteed savings, Vertice helps you keep your tech stack in order and makes the renewal process painless. Whenever your contracts come up for renewal, Vertice handles all correspondence with vendors and negotiates on your behalf to land the best pricing. Our team can also help you review your tech stack for duplicates or overages, saving your business even more time and money.