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What Does SaaS Management Platform (SMP) Mean?

saas management definition

You’ve  heard of SaaS, and we are sure you know what management, including software management, means. And, you likely work with all sorts of technology platforms. Put them all together, and you get SaaS Management Platform, which for the sake of brevity we will shorten to SMP for the remainder of this discussion.

Software management systems used to be discrete tools that took care of limited applications. Later, they grew into systems management solutions, which with a single interface took care of many software and IT infrastructure assets. Microsoft System Center is a great example. These system management tools handled largely on-premises bit of gear and software.

Now that on-premises software is giving way to cloud applications, SaaS, IT needs a new way to take charge. SaaS Management – which includes Microsoft 365 management  — is the new buzzword, and Gartner believes these solutions are so critical and rich in capabilities that they are actual platforms.

Gartner coined the term in late 2018 in a white paper The SMP: A ‘Single Pane of Glass’ to Make SaaS Management More Secure, Streamlined & Cost-Effective.

The SaaS Management Problem

The issue with software is that even the easiest applications to use can be a beast to manage. While the cloud relieves a lot of the on-premises IT burden, SaaS brings with it new things IT must worry about.

The core issues is that for nearly all SaaS solutions, management is an afterthought. “While SaaS applications have their own native management consoles, the depth of their capabilities often doesn’t completely meet enterprise requirements. SMPs provide additional capabilities to fill these gaps. Today, these products mostly focus on managing specific SaaS environments (e.g., Microsoft 365),” Gartner explained.

While Gartner invented the category roughly a year and half ago, it has not stood still. In fact, the research giant now believes five new categories are crucial to a good SMP solution, including:

  • Spend Optimization
  • Security
  • Governance
  • Application Discovery, and
  • Automated Provisioning and Deprovisioning (via workflow)

CoreView’s Definition of SMP

So what exactly is in an SMP? If you want to know precisely what an SMP is, just look at what CoreView offers. There are six main categories of function: Administration, Role-Based Access Control, Policy Management, License Management, IT Workflow Automation, and Reporting. That fits CoreView to a T, except that we add Security and Compliance, Change Management (Application Adoption) Learning and Taxonomy as additional fundamental categories of function.

In the graphic below, you can see how Gartner defines an SMP, all of which are handled by CoreView, and on the right are the extra goodies CoreView brings to the party.

ROI of SMP

There is a real dollars and cents rationale for adopting an SMP. According to Gartner, by 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.

Some cloud management tools are very broad, offering high level help with overall cloud workload usage data to track and manage cloud costs, as well as basic performance monitoring.

Instead of this skin-deep approach, the CoreView SMP is carefully focused on Microsoft 365 and goes incredibly deep in managing and optimizing the Microsoft SaaS platform.

More Reasons SMPs Matter

As Gartner explained, native SaaS administration consoles, including the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, have a plentiful supply of limitations. This forces admins to created complex scripts, PowerShell in the case of Microsoft 365, which take a long time to write and run, and are terribly prone to error. This delays the rollout of new M365 services, limits the ability to manage the environment, and increases risk. All this erodes the value of the Microsoft 365 solution you invested so much in.

Gartner argues that security, compliance and policy management are the biggest SaaS sources of IT pain.  While an SMP can help these areas, there is much more they can do. In the case of CoreView, we also deliver deep license savings and optimization, a single pane of glass to manage all services, forensic auditing to track and block breach sources, and workload analysis to help drive adoption.

Meanwhile, CoreView’s delegation and automation capabilities help IT administrators deliver superior service and support faster, with unparalleled efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

PROTECT YOUR M365 TENANT WITH COREVIEW

CoreView offers deep Microsoft 365-specific security protection, governance and compliance. Learn how we help with a personalized CoreView demo.

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