November 11, 2021
6
min read

Gartner’s new report Market Guide for SaaS Management Platforms fits CoreView to a T.

Gartner invented the term several years ago to refer to solutions to manage your overall SaaS stack as well as specific applications such as Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365.

SMPs relieve a number of SaaS pain points. “Managing SaaS applications with disparate admin controls decreases IT’s ability to track usage, automate management tasks and establish consistent security posture across the portfolio. Scalable SaaS portfolio management requires I&O leaders to adopt SMP tools,” the report argued.

There is a real dollars and cents rationale for adopting a SaaS management platform (SMP). According to Gartner, by this year (2021), 75 percent of organizations that do not proactively manage their SaaS environments will spend 30 percent more on their deployments than their counterparts sticking with on-premises solutions.

Manage it – With Granular Privileges for Each User

With an SMP, IT administrators are able to streamline, centralize and automate time-consuming responsibilities such as assigning RBAC for new IT admins, running reports, and provisioning and deprovisioning resources and accounts. They can delegate administrative rights for routine tasks, like password changes and calendar permissions, to a regional office or lower-level admin. SMPs also help organizations reap the many benefits of workflow automation.

“Gartner’s 2020 I&O Leaders Survey data shows that 70% of organizations are currently investing in SaaS and public cloud offerings and will continue to do so. This will lead to a proliferation of these administrative interfaces and repeat tasks, further burdening IT administrators who already spend too much time on technical tasks that do not directly add business value and should be handled autonomously,” the report argued. “Use SMPs to overcome limitations of native SaaS application administrator consoles and leverage more robust capabilities such as role-based access controls, adoption and cost reporting, anomaly detection and remediation, workflow-based orchestration, artificial intelligence (AI)-/machine learning (ML)-based automation, data governance, and migration.”

Automate it – With Cross-SaaS Workflows

SaaS solutions such as O365 are heavy on administrative duties, work made more difficult by the fragmented nature of the Microsoft Admin Center, which comes with a dozen-plus interfaces. “As SaaS usage grows, so does the number of disparate SaaS administrative consoles and associated open browser tabs that IT administrators must traverse to remain abreast of the settings, status, and usage of each SaaS app. This manual process is highly error-prone. It renders administrative tasks, such as license or entitlement assignment for new users, and revocation for those leaving the organization or changing roles, as well as creation/modification of security groups and workstream collaboration spaces, inefficient and cumbersome,” Gartner pointed out.

An SMP with workflow automation capabilities can help. Here, different steps in a task are “chained” together into a pre-set process that automatically run from the workflow engine, ideally with full auditing capabilities. When an SMP offers this automation in a fully customizable way, organizations open the door to unlimited automation scenarios.

Through management and automation, a good SMP allows IT to “Create and automate workflows for common, repetitive processes such as employee onboarding, license assignment, and license revocation, and offboarding,” Gartner said.

Workflow automation speeds up processing, reduces errors (and related support tickets), and improves the quality and professionalism of IT administration. This all adds up to optimized IT resource costs, more efficient execution of daily tasks and more time for IT admins to spend on core business functions and innovation.

Again, the Gartner recommendations for management/automation align perfectly with CoreView’s CoreSuite SMP solution. “SMPs centralize SaaS applications’ management controls and role-based control sets in a single, central location. These capabilities include automation of common SaaS management tasks, such as user onboarding and offboarding, entitlement management, migration, and reassignment of application data,” Gartner found.

Workflows, especially cross-SaaS workflows, dramatically improve IT efficiency. Work more efficiently by doing things in seconds that used to take hours? Hello, productivity!

See it – Through Action-Enabled Reporting

SaaS visibility through reporting is a critical SMP feature, one CoreView customer discovered.  “The CoreView platform is really slick, and we like that it is based off reporting. Then you drill down into information discovery and find that these reports are all actionable. You are seeing the data reported through a time series graph or through a distribution graph. What might’ve brought you here was some specific management action, but you’re presented with the tools for the visual identification of potential issues right away,” said Tobin M. Cataldo, Executive Director, Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Inc.

Wouldn’t it be great to have reports that show all M365 activities and configurations? What if you could spot and solve a problem, or see something you want to change – and do it right from the report you are staring at? That’s exactly how CoreView’s CoreSuite works.

Security

SaaS adds another layer of vulnerability to your IT environment. “SMPs provide a central place to harmonize data protection policies, entitlements, and access controls for multiple SaaS applications, or to centralize controls and establish a parity of security and control across disparate SaaS applications,” Gartner explained. “The level of control and interactivity will vary depending on the SMP’s integration; tools that have a one-way “read-only” relationship with the SaaS tool will be able to identify, but not actively remediate, issues. Tools with bidirectional integration “read/write” for a given SaaS app will be able to actively take steps to remediate issues.”

With CoreSuite’s full bi-directional capabilities, you can mitigate SaaS risk by identifying and correcting security and compliance risks with unparalleled visibility and automation.

SMPs and Microsoft 365

Gartner, in general, recommends using an SMP to “Increase visibility into SaaS usage, improve manageability and automate repetitive SaaS administration tasks, while improving consistency of securing identities and data across SaaS applications by adopting an SMP.”

This applies well to Microsoft 365. Given its bevy of services, M365 is one of the most complex SaaS solutions to manage, optimize economically, and keep safe. Many of the tasks of Office 365, like user provisioning and re-provisioning, are repetitive, manual, and consume hundreds of hours of IT admin time each year. They’re also prone to human error.

Maximize SAAS ROI

A good SMP helps you take full advantage of the SaaS licenses you own. Gartner recommends that you “Drive continuous improvement by leveraging the SMP to monitor and optimize SaaS license entitlements based on consumption and drive adoption of SaaS apps, and measure the performance of SaaS apps and integrated components,” the research house said. Gartner also advises that you “Create and modify groups or workstream collaboration spaces. Provide visibility into usage and patterns of use across SaaS apps to contribute to continuous improvements in employee experience. Better visibility leads to a clearer and more complete picture of the SaaS app mix and identifies any application or license redundancies.”

Fortunately, CoreView lets you get the most from your SaaS investment. Track everything, boost adoption, and optimize licenses.

Take a Gartner SMP Deep Dive

Gartner just published a new 2021 Market Guide on SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs), the most comprehensive way to see, manage, and automate all of your SaaS, in one place.

Click here to download the complimentary Market Guide, and we believe you can learn:

  • How to automate repetitive SaaS administrative tasks (think: provisioning & deprovisioning licenses)
  • How to drive continuous improvements through SMPs (Become an IT hero!)
  • How to centralize your SaaS

If you’d like to see how an SMP can take all of the mundane, manual work off your plate, schedule an audit of your SaaS environment with us now.

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