Starting a business is tough. It’s fair to say that every new business attracts the attention of other companies looking for new clients and people to sell to. Subsequently, new companies can feel a little besieged by the wide-ranging solutions including software, SaaS, and other technology solutions showcased.
Here are 8 ways to keep your software manageable and save money on SaaS and software as your company grows.
1. Get the Best Deals on SaaS and Software Procurement
Finding the best deals for SaaS software solutions isn’t something that most enterprises are prepared for.
For one thing, they don’t know what’s a fair, agreed price for corporations that fall outside of the normal price bands. Also, it would be easy to assume that the prices for smaller but fast-growing organizations are fixed in stone too.
When buying software, it pays to do it as part of a larger organization. Vendr has been buying software for their clients and successfully obtaining preferential pricing in over 2,500 deals with 1,000+ SaaS providers. So, if you’ve heard of it, they’ve probably negotiated a better price with them already.
2. Avoid Acquiring Too Many SaaS Products
There is a temptation to purchase many SaaS solutions as a younger company or a fast-growing one that’s just hitting its stride. One as a basic CRM for the customer services team, another to help the finance department run their show, and so on…
The risk with acquiring too many SaaS products is that the subscriptions get added on, but the company makes little use of all the various SaaS provider solutions. It can quickly become like the Microsoft Word or Excel users who know the basic editing or formatting functions in these editors and spreadsheet apps but cannot design a document or create a macro.
Depending on the objectives of the company, its operations, and current position, care must be taken to not acquire too many SaaS at one time. This can sink the ship from the perspective of getting up to speed on one SaaS to take full advantage of its powerful capabilities before introducing the next one.
3. Consider Whether All-in-One is Preferred Over Multiple Solutions
An all-in-one solution for SaaS is sometimes the optimal solution over 20 different ones. With that said, a growing business is never going to get away from needing more than one. Most companies will still rely on Microsoft 365 as their Office suite, an email system, and a chat app system, but centralizing beyond that is sometimes possible.
CRM is the most likely area to look for an all-in-one solution. The issue with CRMs is which one to opt for. Sure, the largest CRM SaaS providers like Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft stand tall, but their solutions are often far-reaching, all-inclusive, and complicated to deploy.
For smaller businesses, the sheer wealth of modules and options in their CRM packages are more likely to confuse the team than help it to succeed. Indeed, smaller CRM solutions with a somewhat narrower scope targeting SMEs may fit the bill and keep the costs more affordable too. Don’t bite off more CRM than you can chew.
4. Avoid Considerable Overlap Between Solutions
The broader the SaaS solution, the greater risk that there will be substantial overlap between its capabilities and that of another SaaS that is already on a paid subscription.
It occurs because rarely does a SaaS stick to its knitting by avoiding growing into other areas. It will often start with a smaller scope, then gradually expand its capabilities until many of them are already covered by SaaS competitors doing much the same thing.
It’s necessary to continually watch for this. As a SaaS increases in capabilities and development level, inevitably it will see itself as providing a greater resource and wish to raise its price level too. Even if the additional features aren’t required, all subscription tiers are likely to increase if the SaaS is bundled together with no way to exclude the new expansion-related features.
At a certain stage, it may make sense to merge data with another SaaS to migrate across and drop the current one.
5. Prevent a Need for Data Integration Specialists
With the company’s data spread between different SaaS and software solutions, it becomes increasingly difficult to use big data analytics to glean useful information from it.
Creating integrations that initially work and continue to do so even when one or more SaaS has upgraded their interface, is difficult. Often, a functioning integration will fail with each update and need to be refreshed. The more SaaS that is in use, the more frequently this will occur and data sharing between SaaS halts each time.
Prevent a need for data integration specialists by thinking carefully about the integrability of company data in the cloud and/or stored locally. Integration features need to be fully featured and tested to avoid coming repeatedly unstuck. This way, keeping data integration specialists on staff is sometimes avoided.
6. Reduce the Training Requirement on SaaS Solutions
One knock-on effect of overspending on too many SaaS solutions is that the relevant staff need training on each SaaS to make full use of it. The more SaaS software in play, the greater requirement for training time.
Whether the training is videos supplied by the SaaS creator themselves, their paid online course for users, or an in-house source, it eats employee time. While the productivity, organizational, or other gains may warrant investment both in the SaaS and the training, it does increase expenses either directly or indirectly.
7. Be Circumspect About Who Needs Access
Determining how many users will need access to each SaaS provider’s solution is a good method to reduce the cost. While some employees could benefit from the occasional use of a certain SaaS, the infrequent need may not require obtaining a per-user subscription to cover them too. Instead, they can share someone else’s access (depending on what the SaaS does and how much this might interfere with tracking). Alternatively, they could use a free option to perform basic functions instead.
For example, if an employee rarely needs to use an Excel spreadsheet, they may not have access to it. However, that doesn’t stop them from using Google Sheets or OpenOffice to create an Excel-compatible spreadsheet for their purposes or to share with a work colleague later.
8. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
Shiny object syndrome needs a special section. Some people get into the mode that “they’ve never met a SaaS they didn’t love.” When feeling this way, they’re vulnerable to the salesperson’s approaches and the temptation to add another SaaS to the list of available ones. This needs to be actively fought against to avoid the list of SaaS growing uncontrollably. It’s an all-too-common problem.
It must be accepted that new software may perform a function or offer a service that is interesting and/or better than what’s already available. However, to keep costs reasonable for software as a whole, companies must acknowledge that chasing bleeding-edge solutions is to be avoided.
There are always costs beyond the subscription fee to get staff up to speed on new technology, port data across from existing solutions, for training and more. So, the juice is often not worth the squeeze when chasing the latest shiny object!
Saving money with software, and SaaS especially, needs a careful approach to avoid the costs running away from the business.