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  • John Harden

Knocking Client Onboarding Out Of The Park With SaaS Discovery

Let’s face it when you onboard your clients and try to discover what SaaS (software as a service) fuels their organization’s growth, the answer is almost always an educated guess or an attempt to recall from their last week’s worth of work (spoiler alert: it’s mostly wrong). This unfortunately just is the reality because time is limited and trying to have them map their entire SaaS landscape is impossible. As MSP provider’s you have to accept guesses & recalls because there is no way to automatically gather this information. However, what kind of a SaaS Management blog would this be if we didn’t provide a solution to this problem?

Discovery is done for a purpose. You, to be the best consultant you can for the client, need to learn more about the client. However, they wouldn’t be leaning on a supported managed solution provider if they knew all these answers.

Well, tear up the Google Sheets, the Survey Monkey surveys & the long checklists. The days of auditing SaaS from the employees manually are behind us. With Saaslio you can automatically discover all of these applications and spend more time having real conversations with them about their future and how SaaS technology drives their business.

Let’s Talk About Real Discovery With Your Clients

While discovering your client’s network, infrastructure & other critical components of their ecosystem, it’s critical to understand what SaaS technologies they use, because face it: SaaS is what drives business nowadays. When you stop and think about the things that really drive your client’s companies, it really is the SaaS they’re adopting that’s driving rapid growth, just like it is for your organization! So why not spend more time talking about it and how you can help them master it?

With 8 out of 10 SaaS applications being adopted outside of the purview of IT leaders (a practice that is known as Shadow IT), it’s really hard to talk about SaaS because there is no true inventory of all the solutions they’ve adopted. Just like when building a network, you wouldn’t design routing rules without knowing the big picture, so why would you help make decisions with your client’s software without knowing the whole SaaS ecosystem?

What SaaS Discovery Looks Like Today, Versus What It Looks Like Tomorrow 

As network scans revolutionized the network discovery segment of your business, SaaS scans will do the same. Today it’s your job to interview folks and understand what their web-based SaaS technologies are. Sometimes you have monitoring tools that reveal a part of the picture but you really don’t get the whole picture with that. These solutions lack the key segment of data that Saaslio collects: real usage & real employee behaviors in these tools. 

Today, you then go back and forth with different stakeholders to try to understand the picture, and you put it in your documentation software. This may be a mix of surveys, interviews, or questionnaires. However, with Saaslio, we’ve built an entire workflow to help you understand Unclassified, Unmanaged & Managed SaaS Applications in your organization (feel free to adopt these steps if you’re not ready to take the leap into SaaS Management software).  

  1. First, as a Managed Service Provider, deploy Saaslio which uses cutting-edge technology to discover the whole picture. This is going to be a sizable list and a much broader selection than what your clients were telling you at first. Most IT practitioners guess between 20-30 SaaS applications, but the fact is that most SMB businesses between 1-100 employees use on average a whopping 102 SaaS applications.

  2. Then, these unclassified applications automatically kick off an iterative workflow, which surveys users for their purpose of using the platform. This is a process that replaces all of the interviews you currently do and actually gathers far more responses, faster than any manual process would. Once an unclassified application has a business purpose and an application state (approved, unapproved, etc.) we funnel it into the Unmanaged Applications area of Saaslio.

  3. Finally, in the Saaslio platform, workflows are kicked off to digest usage & business roles to identify the business owner of the software applications. Once a business owner is loaded in and onboard & offboard workflows are set up for an application, it migrates into the Managed Applications funnel. (Hint: This is where you want all your SaaS-based applications to be for all your clients)

What Does It Mean To Properly Manage A SaaS Application?

A properly managed application, whether using Saaslio, a google sheet, or a business process platform has a few key characteristics. 

  1. It has a clear business owner who is responsible for license management, user management, and entitlement management. This business owner is also responsible for ensuring that the software’s purpose is defined clearly in the technology ecosystem.

  2. It has a clear business purpose which is outlined by the business owner. This business purpose is critical for discovery as it makes support easier, and it makes understanding the whole ecosystem at a glance approachable.

  3. It has a clear application state, which indicates where it is in the application lifecycle. Is this a new application that is being evaluated, or a SaaS application that is currently being decommissioned? Even worse, is it a Shadow IT that is unapproved and draining employee’s time, and the organization’s resources? Once a state has been assigned, your client’s whole team will know, and so will you!

  4. It has a proper business process set up around on-boarding, off-boarding, license management, entitlement management, and lifecycle. This ensures that the software application is delivering value and not introducing security risks or operational breakdowns.

Understanding The Importance Of Adopting SaaS Management

Maybe now isn’t the time for your practice to adopt a Managed SaaS vertical in your business, but be aware that SaaS has grown 6x in the last 5 years and it shows no signs of slowing. It’s important to know that the problem is growing and it’s important to be able to articulate the characteristics of a properly managed application.

If you’re interested in learning more about properly managing your client’s SaaS, let us know! 


Ready to wrangle your clients' SaaS stacks?

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