CSI: SaaS Spend

01 Jul 2020

At the end of 2019, Gartner predicted that the global SaaS market would grow to $116 billion in 2020. What Gartner couldn’t have predicted was a global pandemic that would vastly increase the uptake of SaaS apps to enable businesses to keep their doors open. We’re pretty sure those figures will be wildly different now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to intensify predicted SaaS growth, with organisations worldwide onboarding SaaS solutions faster than you can say: “wait, don’t we have that already?”

The priority was to shift workforces home for their own safety and that of those around them. It was a mammoth task for IT teams globally, and many relied heavily on SaaS apps to support them. It all happened so fast, so it’s completely understandable that some SaaS subscriptions weren’t approached with as much rigour and evaluation as people might have liked.

Aside from that, cast your mind back to pre-coronavirus, when the pubs were open but it used to rain all the time. What a time! Even back then, when we were exempt of crisis purchases, your annual SaaS spend was probably (unknowingly) significantly higher than necessary.

“Sorry, how much?!”

Every CIO, regardless of whether they’re new-in-post or part of the furniture, needs to be asking the same question of their SaaS solutions: “What exactly have we got, and how much are we spending on it?” It’s a simple question to ask, but answering it means uncovering the secrets lurking in your estate. Not an easy or enviable task.

Thankfully there are tools to help. Zylo work with businesses to help them consolidate the spends they know about with those they didn’t know existed.

In their experience, they’ve uncovered a shocking gap between organisations’ perceived SaaS estate and their reality. For businesses with 1000 users, Zylo uncover an average of 600 SaaS apps, which is generally 2 or 3 times more than the business thought they had. By evaluating utilisation statistics of newly exposed SaaS ecosystems, they’ve found that SaaS cost saving opportunities generally equate to around 10%, but it’s not unusual for this to reach 30%.

We’ll just let that sink in for a moment…


Determining SaaS spending should be approached how a forensics team would approach a crime scene: by forensically seeking out and examining tiny details, and piecing together scraps of information from a range of sources. It’s time to go all CSI on your expenditure, although admittedly with less suspenseful background music and prolonged dramatic glances between you and your colleagues (over video conference, obviously).

Unravelling the story of your SaaS expenditure crimes (or should we say misdemeanours?) begins with understanding who is doing the buying. Zylo have found that 32% of employees purchase SaaS apps via their expenses. Often these rogue purchases duplicate functions of existing tools, resulting in repeated spending. 50% of all SaaS purchases are then incorrectly tagged when expensed, effectively concealing them from view. It’s a headache waiting to happen for those trying to track IT spending, anyone performing auditing exercises and for IT teams trying to ensure top application performance for all.

The Virtual Detective

Zylo’s discovery process goes further than any SaaS management tool we’ve come across, scrutinising accounts payable at invoice level, investigating employee expenses submissions and inspecting Identity & Access Management systems. It detects and identifies SaaS apps from an ever-increasing line-up of over 12,000 solutions.

Every SaaS solution found is categorised and presented alongside its utilisation data, piecing together substantiated evidence for which applications could be offloaded or rightsized to secure better cost efficiencies. Product licenses are also evaluated, demonstrating where better contracts could be leveraged, which can lead to considerable savings on mission-critical cloud-based apps such as Salesforce and Office 365.

By thoroughly contextualising the data output, Zylo’s time-to-value is incredibly quick, with a snapshot of your expected savings uncovered in a matter of weeks. Trying to achieve something close to this level of insight manually would have full-time teams chasing their tails for far longer, eating up time that could be spent on other business-driven projects.

The New Normal 2.0

As we covered in a recent blog, one of the hottest projects for IT teams right now is ‘The New Normal 2.0’ (can we copyright that?!). As businesses decide what role remote working will play in their post-pandemic plans, they’ll need to understand which SaaS solutions have been valuable and which aren’t worth reinvesting in. There’s no need to pop on a monocle and a tweed coat and hunter cap; you can keep your business sweatpants on. Save your investigator garb for your next virtual fancy dress with your mates and let Zylo find the answers for you.

We are currently offering free Zylo demos to anyone looking to improve their SaaS management processes, so why not give it a go and find out how much you could save.

For more insight into exactly how Zylo works, and all its whizzy features such as a Licence Renewal calendar and Safe App Catalogue, catch up here with our previous Zylo blog.

Keep an eye out for our third and final blog on Zylo, in which we’ll connect the dots for complete SaaS visibility. We’ll shout about it on Twitter and LinkedIn when it goes live, so make sure to connect with us to be the first to read it.

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