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How to choose a SaaS management platform

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The flood of remote workers at the start of the global pandemic in early 2020 had companies scrambling to find new software for communicating and collaborating with remote workers. Many turned to software-as-a-service (SaaS) options.

It was an obvious choice. Under the SaaS model, applications are hosted and maintained by a third-party vendor and delivered to employees over the internet, making them easy to deploy remotely.

SaaS apps are subscription-based, typically charged monthly or annually per user or “seat,” without the large up-front investment traditional on-premises software requires. Introduced in the early 2000s, SaaS has soared in popularity over the years and is now the leading method of software delivery.

The shift to SaaS from traditional software is also part of many companies’ digital transformation initiatives. “The whole notion behind digital transformation and modernization is to be more resilient and more agile,” says Frank Della Rosa, research director for SaaS and cloud software at IDC. “With legacy software, the time it takes to bring up new infrastructure and the time it takes to deploy the software really limits a business’ ability to respond to change.”

SaaS offerings also have an advantage in their ability to make new features available more frequently than traditional software offerings. “With SaaS, the release cadence is happening on a quarterly basis,” says Della Rosa. “There’s a constant stream of new capabilities that businesses can take advantage of, which is not available to legacy software customers.”

The problem with SaaS

The ease with which SaaS applications can be deployed means line-of-business leaders, small teams, or even individuals can begin using them easily — and that, in turn, has led to a proliferation of SaaS apps in many enterprises. In its 2021 Businesses at Work report, for example, access management provider Okta reported that  its customers have deployed an average of 88 apps, an increase of 22% over the past four years. Larger customers (2,000 or more employees) have an average of 175 apps, while smaller companies (under 2,000) deploy an average of 73 apps.

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