When you look at the big picture of why you’re working as a technology consultant, or why you personally are sitting here reading this post, what you’ll most likely land on is the fact that you really, really love helping your customers. People who invest time to grow and learn about their space and choose to master their crafts are the best advisors. But it’s not as simple as loving your job or honing your skills, it’s about solving real problems.
It’s clear that in 2021 certain markets are going to grow faster than others. With the rise of work-from-home, the fact that cyber-security is more important than ever and the growing reliance on cloud managed services, what everyone planned to do in their 2020 playbook, instantly shifted in March/April. Have you taken the time to re-evaluate since then?
With the dust settled and as we look into 2021, a very clear picture is forming for priorities into this year. Simply looking at the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of managed service areas: managed network growing at 6.3% , managed security growing at 8.0% , managed IT growing at 8.1% , and managed cloud growing at a whopping 13.3% , it’s clear that managed services are becoming a more important part of businesses strategic growth plans.
However, there’s been one thing that has continued to lurk in the background, not completely unnoticed but somehow unhindered: SaaS Growth. According to market-research completed by Gartner, SaaS growth is projected at a stunning 12% CAGR in 2021 .
As everyone rushed to adopt new technologies to answer the problems that the world presented in 2020, we saw enormous adoption and some unicorn-style growth in a few select software solutions (let’s face it, you probably have Zoom installed on your computer). However, what was left behind was a trail of un-canceled software subscriptions, software that was introduced by internal teams not sanctioned by IT leaders (this is commonly referred to as Shadow IT), and lots of unchecked security concerns as solutions were adopted quickly without regard to traditional operating procedures. And all of this was after the already many years of rapidly growing and completely unchecked SaaS adoption.
This happens because, in today’s world, SaaS is as easy to adopt as picking up a bagel at your local coffee shop. You go to the front of the line, you swipe your card, and boom, there’s your SaaS (I’d like to think of SaaS as an everything bagel). Hyperbole aside, that’s a really large (and not so tasty) problem. Think of any other tool, process, or mechanism that works like that inside your company, where a single team member can introduce security concerns, wasted money, and operational breakdowns with such ease? Because SaaS is so easy to adopt and every little problem can be solved with SaaS, businesses have opted to treat their SaaS management practices like the everything bagel: just throw all our problems at it without any strategic plan and just wait to see what the results are.
Well, yes, quite frankly it is. While these SaaS solutions are not being managed, your clients sit in a void where no-one really knows what’s going on. If you ask the IT manager of the normal small business (between 1-100 employees) how many applications they have, they’ll typically throw a number between 20-40 at you. This is, in most cases, wrong by almost a factor of 3 times, as the average business of this size is sporting a whopping 102 SaaS applications . The amount of SaaS isn’t the actual problem, but the lack of knowledge is. How are you, as the trusted technology advisor supposed to help with this problem if your client isn’t even aware of what is going on in their landscape?
When you move to mid-market businesses (on average 288 employees), these numbers move to 2.47MM annual spend, with 288 SaaS Apps, and 32 unique billing owners . How is it possible for the small and mid-market business to be successful with their SaaS management with so many applications, so many different business owners and so many licenses to manage without anything in place to manage it? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a trusted advisor that they already leaned on to help them with all this? (Hint, there is, it’s you.)
As the trusted technology advisor, it’s your job to wrangle everything IT and manage all aspects of technology, or at least that’s what the clients expect out of you. As you manage your client’s technology, you wouldn’t simply allow them to add network equipment without working with you, you wouldn’t anticipate that they would draft up a brand new cyber-security plan without bringing you in, however, we just don’t seem to care that much about them introducing SaaS without consulting you. This isn’t okay, because this means your clients are unintentionally introducing risk and waste in their organizations without you or them even knowing it.
SaaS needs to be managed by you, and it needs to be operationalized now. Some problems can be solved manually, by interviewing your clients and building processes & spreadsheets to review what exists on a recurring basis, however, these become stale almost immediately. By utilizing Saaslio, you are able to manage your customer’s SaaS immediately with live and up-to-date information, operational workflows, cost management reports as well as application and user lifecycle management.
As a seasoned MSP Practitioner, the services you provide are very cyclical, because the technology industry itself is extremely cyclical. The winning players every single cycle are the ones that focus on the most important problems and tackle the most challenging ones. There are three great reasons you should consider opening a SaaS Management vertical:
Regardless of if you want to use a solution to help you solve this problem or whether you opt to manually manage your client’s SaaS, you should focus on three key areas of SaaS Management:
A Managed SaaS Ops Solution For the Modern MSP
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