Nov 19, 2018

SaaS Insights: How cloud computing impacts your software license management

From May to September of this year, we examined current Software Asset Management challenges facing end-users as companies increasingly adopt SaaS solutions. With 276 responses worldwide, the survey confirmed many trends we’re already aware of, but it also contained some important surprises that may change your approach for doing cloud Software Asset Management.

Aspera 2018 SaaS Survey Insights: How cloud computing impacts your software license management

Not everything is a disruption

Here are a few things that didn’t surprise us:

  • 80% of respondents said that their companies are using Microsoft Office 365. Of course they are. Everyone was using some version of Office before the move to the cloud, and Microsoft has been pushing new and returning customers to the cloud at a significant rate. The cloud is a major part of their business plan, so it makes sense that most companies have already made the switch to Office 365.
  • Nearly 45% of respondents reported using SAP S/4 Hana Cloud, among numerous other SAP cloud solutions, at their companies. Again, SAP has aggressively pursued a ‘cloud-first’ strategy, almost guaranteeing that most companies would be using one of their essential cloud business solutions.

Business units are critical Software Asset Management players

While the prevalence of Office 365 might not be a SaaS surprise, how subscription software solutions are managed certainly is. Many believe that as SaaS solutions become increasingly popular, more of the purchasing and management of the subscription software will happen at the business unit level instead of by central IT.

However, our survey found that many SaaS solutions are owned and managed by central IT between 70-85% of the time. This includes subscription software like Microsoft Office 365 and SAP.

There are two exceptions to the pattern of Central IT managing SaaS licensing.

  • In the case of Salesforce, IT owns the Salesforce budget for just over half of the respondents, while Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, and Operations make up another 35%. The reasons for this are obvious: Salesforce is specifically a revenue-driving tool and unlike Office 365, is critical to enterprise infrastructure. It makes sense that the budget would be held by the key stakeholders.
  • The same can be said for Veeva Vault, which is owned by central IT in less than 20% of responses. As a tool for life sciences content management, Veeva Vault’s budget is shared between Research and Development, and Production close to 40% of the time. This solution may not be relevant to Sales and Marketing and other business units, so it again makes sense to put its budget in the hands of key stakeholders.

Reducing software spend remains a top priority

Nearly 60% of respondents reported that managing SaaS costs is a priority for their company, and 73% identified ‘reducing software spend’ as one of their Top 4 SAM priorities. Even though moving to the cloud can significantly reduce infrastructure costs, having the wrong licenses or setting up the cloud environment in the wrong way can lead to significant license waste in the form of duplicate licensing and unused licenses.

Cloud software asset management: 3 key takeaways

  1. Do cloud Software Asset Management – The numbers add up to one simple conclusion: even in the cloud, Software Asset Management is a top strategy for cost management. By gaining a single overview of your SaaS subscription costs, you can reduce your spend – and protect your software investment, significantly. Re-harvest subscriptions, manage storage limits, and get a handle on your environment to keep costs low and make strategic decisions about subscription agreements.
  2. SaaS disrupts, but not completely – SaaS solutions are absolutely changing the way we do business, and how software is bought and sold. But while individual business units have more freedom in the cloud to acquire and manage business-driving software, central IT will still be relevant for managing critical infrastructure solutions and for coordinating enterprise-wide cost-savings programs. 
  3. Business units are critical for SAM in the cloud – As software procurement becomes more decentralized, individual business units are becoming important Software Asset Management stakeholders. SAM teams will need to become more comprehensive, including stakeholders from Sales & Marketing to central IT, and the C-suite.

Aspera SaaS Survey Insights

Topics: Cloud, SaaS, SAM Insights