Key Criteria for Evaluating SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs)v2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. SMP Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Matt Jallo

1. Summary

Software as a service (SaaS) applications represent 30% to 50% of most companies’ application portfolios. These applications require new operating procedures for managing spending, contract renewals, user lifecycles, and security controls.

As Figure 1 shows, SaaS application management platforms (SMPs) enable more efficient operations by consolidating cost and application usage data through integration, creating an application inventory, identifying contract entitlement and cost savings, automating operational lifecycles, and enforcing security controls.

Figure 1. SMP Functions

SaaS applications require standard processes to address spending, operational, and security challenges. Unnecessary costs may be incurred by over-committing to contract entitlements or maintaining redundant or underused applications. Operational overhead can snowball when access, licensing, and user requests are managed manually. Security risks escalate without proactive monitoring and remediation to protect sensitive data being stored in the applications.

Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises alike benefit from investing in an SMP:

  • SMPs use discovery to create an application catalog with visibility into all applications in use. The catalog enables collaboration and shared accountability across finance, IT, security, and sourcing departments for cost savings and operational efficiency. It is enriched with application spend, licensing, and usage data obtained directly from the managed applications.
  • Spend management enables cost savings by identifying opportunities to reduce application usage. Contract management enables cost savings by determining areas to cut or cross-level an entitlement.
  • Operational efficiencies are achieved by using workflow automation to offload operations from people performing repetitive tasks. Security risks are reduced by leveraging application integration to identify locations where sensitive data is stored and using workflow automation to remediate access to exposed sensitive data.

This is the second year that GigaOm has reported on the SMP space, and the need for managing spending, contract renewals, user lifecycles, and security controls across the operational lifecycle has only continued to grow. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the SMP market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an SMP, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports will give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and will help decision-makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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