Buyer’s Guide: SaaS Management Platform (SMP)
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 a SaaS Management Platform, for brevity reasons we will shorten to SMP for the rest of this Buyer’s Guide.
In the past, software management systems were discrete tools that worked with limited applications. Later, they grew into systems management solutions, which with a single interface managed many software and IT infrastructure assets. Microsoft System Center is a great example. These system management tools handled largely on-premises hardware and software.
Now that on-premises software is giving way to cloud applications, or 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.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about SaaS Management Platforms.
- What an SMP is
- Six SMP Benefits
- COVID’s Impact on SMPs
- Additional Information About CoreView
What is an SMP?
A SaaS Management Platform is a single tool which helps consolidate SaaS applications in three major categories: showing usage, streamline workflows, and provide increased security.
SMPs, in large part, exist because SaaS vendors are focused on their applications, not about their management and security.
Modern SaaS solutions require new and equally modern approaches to monitoring, governing, and security. SMPs relieve a few SaaS pain points. SMPs provide a consolidated view on admin controls which in turn help IT departments track who is using the accounts, automate admin tasks, and increase security measures.
Six Benefits of an SMP
Simplifying Your SaaS Management Problems
The issue with software is that even the easiest applications to use can be a beast to manage, especially with Microsoft 365. While the cloud relieves a lot of the on-premises IT burden, SaaS brings new things IT must worry about.
The core issues are that for nearly all SaaS solutions, management is an afterthought. With the right kind of SMP you should be able to gain a deep and total visibility into your systems by instantly analyzing millions of entities in an instant and quickly identify actions needed.
2. Ease Admin Pain, Boost IT Efficiency
With limited native tools, SaaS admins are forced into many unnecessary manual duties and hacking their own solutions. IT departments have been relying on PowerShell to help plug the holes to obtain information that is not part of the native interface.
With an SMP, IT administrators can save precious time – instead of writing time consuming scripts. Within a click they can now:
- Assign role-based access control (RBAC) for new IT admins
- Easily access information through reports
- Provisioning/deprovisioning resources and accounts across SaaS platforms
- Delegate administrative rights for routine tasks (password changes and calendar permissions
3. Actionable Analytics
SMPs help overcome limitations that are in the native SaaS environments and provide a solution to absorb all your relevant information. SMPs consolidate the data and can simplify thousands of data points in an instant – to answer the questions on your mind. With the right SMP you can now cut reports around:
- Operational needs
- And much more!
4. Automate Workflows
SaaS solutions such as M365 are heavy on administrative duties, work made more difficult by the fragmented nature of the Microsoft Admin Centers – over a dozen-plus interfaces!
An SMP with workflow automation capabilities can help. Here, different steps in a task are “chained” together into a pre-set process that automatically runs 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 reoccurring tasks – i.e., onboarding.
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.
5. Maximize SaaS ROI
A good SMP helps you take full advantage of the SaaS licenses you own. There is a real dollars and cents rationale for adopting SMPs. 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.
6. User Adoption
When it comes to driving adoption, Microsoft 365 is a key SMP target. An SMP can help organizations:
- Accurately track actual usage of SaaS applications and features
- Efficiently and cost-effectively administer user adoption campaigns
- Monitor campaign effectiveness
- Analyze metrics and run reports
A key part of license lifecycle management is making the best use of the licenses you have, which comes from adoption. In many cases, a license, say an M365 E3 or E5, is not fully used – but should be. Here you can train those users to fully utilize paid for applications, and thus dramatically boost productivity. By the same token, you may identify low-level licenses, especially E1s that should be upgraded so the users can more fully contribute to the financial health of your organization.
Additional Information About CoreView
CoreView is trying to solve core SaaS problems for the enterprise IT leader. The main SaaS application they’re worried about, and the one right now causing the most pain is Microsoft 365, especially as enterprises shifted to Teams and remote work.
There’s only a couple of other SaaS applications that tend to cover the whole enterprise, services such as HR, or maybe Slack and Zoom. All of the other SaaS apps are typically buried in various lines of business that procurement may care about in terms of spending – but not the IT leader. And it’s the IT leader CoreView was built to help.
These IT leaders care about:
- How to make sure Microsoft 365 is deployed securely
- Getting the most out of Microsoft (Am I getting what I’m paying for out of it?)
- Managing the workload of the IT department (Can my IT team manage all the M365 services?)
Five Key Benefits Cross-SaaS Workflows Automation Brings:
- Low-code workflow automations with basic or custom actions
- Replacement of fragile, insecure, and out-of-date PowerShell scripts for Microsoft tasks
- Cross-SaaS workflows to go beyond 365 to touch any app
- ServiceNow to create/ update/close tickets or embed CoreView buttons
- Salesforce, Slack, Zoom, etc. for automated onboarding/off-boarding
Then IT can do policy checks across multiple SaaS apps, moving from M365 master to ultimately becoming the SaaS Master.
How CoreView Drives SaaS ROI
Here are four ways CoreView drives ROI:
✓ Increase “Return” by driving adoption of Teams, Lists, Viva, etc. (Especially if you can cancel other tools)
✓ Increase “Return” by driving up use of cool new security features.
✓ Reduce “Investment” by moving light users to lower license levels
✓ Reduce “Investment” by eliminating unused licenses and optimizing chargebacks, etc.
If you’d like to see how an SMP can reduce mundane, manual work off your plate, schedule an audit of your SaaS environment with us now.
See how CoreView can help you with this
Learn more about securing and optimizing your M365 and other SaaS applications.