A Modern MSP’s Guide to Offering SaaS Management
As the industry shifts and the demands from the clients become increasingly specialized, over here at Saaslio we are often asked, “What does SaaS (Software As a Service) Management look like for a modern technology consultant?” This question comes up frequently due to the cyclical nature of the industry, as it is often the most innovative problem solvers that result in the fastest-growing practices. Good technology consultants want to focus on the value of their clients, so it makes sense why they’re asking this question as managed network, managed communications, and managed IT are becoming so commoditized.
Before figuring how to create revenue with a SaaS management practice, step back and look at technology in your client’s business from a holistic perspective. (No really… think about it.) There’s a strong foundational network (or so we hope), a solid cybersecurity plan, and well managed IT, but no client calls you and says “Wow, you did a great job keeping things humming.” This is because these are commoditized products that people have come to expect to work, and don’t derive direct value from. But look at SaaS. Think about the SaaS in your environment, whether it’s the CRM that manages your clients, the billing solutions that automate your finance practices, or the project management tool that ensures delivery of your services. These are things that deliver value, efficiency and cost-savings to you. Imagine if you could be having these kinds of conversations with your clients? Well, big shocker, you can (we wouldn’t leave you hanging!) with a SaaS management practice.
Keep it Simple, 3 Low-Hanging Fruit Solutions to Offer
First, let’s keep it simple and look at the ‘low-hanging fruit’ opportunities in SaaS management. These are practices that, when well executed and mastered can unlock an entirely new conversation and a whole new level of value to your client base. SaaS Audits, Managed SaaS, and SaaS Support are three huge opportunities to bring to your customers. Each one of these 3 areas piles on top of each other, so start simple and add more revenue as you master the practice. The beautiful thing about these offerings is that these three areas don’t require extremely in-depth skill sets on your teams and they all deliver extremely high value to your clients since it’s very unlikely they’re doing any of these practices in their business.
(Yes that’s an advisor picking the low-hanging fruit)
Solution #1: SaaS Audits
This is probably the simplest offering and likely your entry-point into managing a client’s SaaS ecosystem. This is the process of deploying a solution in their environment that does audits on their entire SaaS ecosystem. This is usually a one-time offering and can be done with existing clients or an ice-breaker with new clients. While you’re already doing network surveys, IT surveys, and client discovery sessions, why not map their SaaS for them?
What you’re looking for during these audits are duplicate platforms (how many file-sharing platforms are they using? We’re guessing all of them), shadow IT applications, security risks in the environment, and platforms with no proper business owners or operations. Once everything is mapped then you can start to dig deeper and do subscription audits to help find wasted licenses and uncover savings for your clients. You can help them regain control of their SaaS, find them savings, and thwart security risks. what’s not to love as their trusted advisor?
SaaS audits are going to be more impactful compared to your other discovery practices. As their consultant, you’re going to go back to them with strategic solutions to save money, increase operations & reduce security risk. While delivering this value to them, you unlock the ability to talk to them about their cohesive SaaS strategy, which is where the value is.
One-time cost, dependent on the size of the company and the complexity of the discovery.
Solution #2: Managed SaaS
This is usually the logical next step to move into after doing an audit. It’s a logical next step to make sure that they’re not slipping back into all the problems you just helped them solve.
This is where you come in and offer services to onboard employees & handle access, entitlement, and licenses for your customers. Handling their onboard & offboard practices for a set fee can almost always guarantee a return on investment versus having errant subscribed licenses. Plus, they’re saving time internally since you’re already handling most of these operations!
Beyond just user onboarding & offboarding, you can look at the second most important lifecycle, which is application onboarding & offboarding. Keep a pulse on your client’s consumption of applications so that you can maintain the ecosystem: if applications go unused, prune them, if new ones are adopted, operationalize them. Don’t let shadow IT run rampant by implementing processes for user & application lifecycle management. This will make you their most valued advisor!
You get to save the client money while eliminating shadow IT–thus eliminating security concerns and operational breakdowns. This puts you right in the middle of the platforms that deliver the most value for your client. Every time they need to implement a high-value platform, they know they can rely on you to help manage it.
This is a monthly fee that you can bundle into an enhanced managed IT service or as a stand-alone “premium” service. However, it’s highly encouraged to bundle these fees in, as your competitors will all be doing this soon!
Solution #3: SaaS Support
This is probably the highest level of service you can provide to your clients without getting specialized team members. This is an additional service for your clients that is a front-line support center for all their SaaS needs. If your clients need training or need changes in any of their SaaS platforms you manage, they call you. It will be your job to then educate yourself and communicate to the SaaS vendor on behalf of the customer. This reduces the time they’re spending learning platforms and increases the time they are delivering the services that make them money.
If you are providing all three of these offerings, you will undoubtedly be the most important technology advisor they have. You’re not just a commodity anymore, you’re an essential member of their company’s efficiency & lifecycle.
SaaS support is a much-needed service for larger companies that don’t want to invest the time and money into learning new solutions. Become a SaaS expert and anytime they’re talking about driving more efficiency in their business with software, they’re calling you. Furthermore, they can reduce their internal operations & time communicating with vendors and focus on delivering the offering that makes them money.
This is an additional fee on top of the Managed SaaS solution and likely will only be for the upper echelon of your client-base. Pricing is subjective. However, if you can be the main point of contact for all technology issues, the value and stickiness is huge, so price to win this service.
A SaaS Management practice can be as in-depth of a practice or as shallow as you’d like. However, the deeper you go the more value earned, and the stickier you are going to be with your clients. There are so many tangential up-charges that can be tied into these offerings depending on your practices’ offering as well: SaaS integrations, SaaS custom development, SaaS data discovery, etc.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with managing your client’s SaaS today!