Gartner released the Market Guide for SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs) in November of 2018 and CoreView was proud to be listed as a representative vendor in the report. This is a validation for existing 3rd party ISV tools that have been helping customers streamline their management for cloud-based offerings such as Office 365 and Google G Suite.
To help answer questions we received around the value an SMP offers organizations and provide our insights on what the future may hold, we put together a whitepaper that describes what this new Gartner market classification means for companies running Office 365.
The native admin tools provided by SaaS vendors have serious limitations and enterprise customers are turning to SMPs to help them better manage their cloud environments. Gartner’s Market Guide for SaaS Management Platforms found that “… many of the SaaS application vendors have focused more on application functionality and less on the needs of IT operations. This can lead to limitations in the native SaaS administrative consoles, including insufficient reporting, coarse IT permissions and burdensome administrative tasks that require significant manual effort.”
SaaS vendors like Microsoft spend the majority of their time and effort putting additional functionality inside their cloud environment. They’re focused on providing valuable feature incentives for organizations to migrate to their SaaS offering. That leaves a smaller investment available to develop administration tools. Organizations that want to streamline operations and automate admin tasks will need to find a SMP solution that fits their business needs.
Here are the four areas where an SMP can add value:
First, with respect to full visibility, most enterprise organizations require detailed reporting on all the activities and usage for their cloud environment. By leveraging built-in reporting from a SMP tool, IT admin teams can successfully monitor and report on their Office 365 deployment. Without those SMP capabilities they would spend hours and hours each week writing custom PowerShell scripts and formatting spreadsheets to view usage, track licensing costs and manage governance.
Next comes the automation of admin tasks. Every IT support organization is searching for new ways to be more efficient through automation. SMP tools that provide automated workflow processing will remove the burden of manual effort for common tasks. That’s an extremely valuable proposition to an IT support team. In addition, by automating common administration activities there is a proven reduction in human error.
To realize the benefits of a cloud platform it is imperative that organizations foster the usage adoption for the majority of the workloads matching their deployment. SMP solutions should provide built-in methods to monitor and report on the ongoing adoption status across the organization. Based on this information these same tools should assist with driving targeted campaigns to the specific user groups who need additional training or incentives to change their behavior and adopt the new cloud-based capabilities. End user adoption of cloud-based software should be a high priority for any IT organization. It is important for IT departments to move beyond the initial deployment and focus on ROI by increasing end user adoption.
In a rapidly changing business environment where new technology is deployed regularly, staying on top of training can be a mountainous task. Rather than having employees take time away from work to sit through traditional classroom courses or sit in front of their computers for structured e-Learning paths from 1 to 2 hours (or even longer), many companies are using technology-based, search-enabled, self-help tutorials and short, task-based videos that are part of their SaaS Management Platform. These built-in SMP learning solutions allow users to focus on nuggets of information as needed to perform specific tasks and solve problems as they crop up. It focuses on the most efficient, least obtrusive ways to impart knowledge, while increasing productivity at the same time.
SMPs should also help with security compliance. Common activities for IT administrators are incident audits which can take days to complete. These include investigations into possible security breaches, data loss tracing, or suspicious sign-ins by hackers. By leveraging powerful SMP tools to search and filter the aggregated log file information these incident audits can be completed successfully in minutes.
In addition, SMP toolkits can be used for real-time alerting when security compliance issues are identified. IT administrators can configure automated alerts for a myriad of possible security issues and ensure they remediate a problem before it becomes an issue.
There are six major functional categories outlined in the Gartner SMP classification. Today, CoreSuite is the only SMP solution for Office 365 that covers all six functional categories to help organizations stay in complete control over their cloud environment. And a bonus for multi-national organizations, the CoreSuite interface is easily configurable in multiple languages to accommodate different admin teams from around the world.
Read the full whitepaper The SMP: A ‘Single Pane of Glass’ to Make SaaS Management More Secure, Streamlined & Cost-Effective here.