Why SaaS Automation depends on SaaS Management

Note: SaaS Management is a complex topic and an ever evolving industry! If you want to learn the latest about the current market, check out our SaaS Management Platform Buyer’s Guide.

Do you feel like your automation tech is falling short? You’re not alone. Recently, we asked 200 IT leaders about the state of their SaaS Automation, and only 13% rated their experience as “great.”

Note Read the State of IT Automation Report

For most (probably yourself included), the experience was fine but underwhelming.

The big question, then, is, why?

Why does something so obviously good and powerful often result in lackluster outcomes?

In this article, I’ll talk through that why but I’ll also explain what to look for to improve your experience with automation dramatically.

Why SaaS Automation Fails

Our IT respondents told us exactly why automation is failing them.

Educational Gap: 64% of respondents mentioned an ‘educational gap’ about tools as a substantial barrier.
Time and Staffing Constraints: 58% of respondents identified ‘lack of time’ and ‘insufficient staffing’ as barriers.
Design of Automation Tools: 44% voiced concerns regarding ‘poorly designed automation tools.’

Essentially, automation is failing because—while the automation might make a task easy once it’s set up—that set-up process is rough.

Much of that difficult setup is due to a fundamental problem with SaaS.

Your SaaS Sprawl is Out of Hand

We know this because over half of the respondents had zero automation in place to help them monitor for shadow IT. At Torii, we routinely find that the true number of apps in your SaaS stack is two or three times what you think because everyone in your company is adding unsanctioned apps.

That’s actually the first major use case that SaaS Management Platforms were designed to address—SaaS adoption. As more and more employees started adding more tools to work more efficiently, it separated the act of adopting from the accountability for those apps.

IT is still responsible for shadow IT’s impact on budget, security, and efficiency, even if they don’t know the apps exist.

Note: Want to learn a little more about the SaaS Explosion and the rise of SaaS Management? Check out this article 👉 What is SaaS Management? 

But with time, SaaS Management become so much more.

Essentially, modern SMPs are responsible for almost everything SaaS-related. From application lifecycle automation to employee lifecycle automation, to spend management, license renewal management, contract management, and more!

So then the question becomes: What separates a good SaaS Management Solution from the rest? 

The Three Pillars of Modern SaaS Management

There are three critical components to effective SaaS Management:

Open Platform

Modern SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs) vary in their openness and adaptability. Unfortunately, many are still closed systems—lacking the flexibility needed for growth, and offering limited API access and customization. Open platforms, however, allow for custom integrations and app development, catering to the evolving needs of organizations and unlocking effective SaaS automation. As the industry matures, the architecture’s adaptability becomes crucial for long-term IT management strategies.

Next-Generation Automation

In our recent survey, we also learned that IT professionals prioritize consistency (48%) over speed (21%). Essentially, they just want it to work. For SaaS automation, that means consistent execution of SaaS admin tasks in a way that is intuitive and transparent. With time, more and more automation will become available to SaaS management Platforms through the implementation of AI within the systems, essentially creating a flywheel of efficiency for the IT professionals involved.

Artificial Intelligence Capabilities

As prominent as AI has become, the most exciting features are often invisible to the user. Within Torii, for example, AI works to discover shadow IT, filter it, categorize it, and present it in a simple and readable format. It also extracts contract details, culls through multi-SaaS data insights, builds out user profiles, and more, all in the background. However, without these invisible capabilities, many automated capabilities would be impossible.

Learn more about Torii’s focus on SaaS Management 2.0

The Emergence of Automated SaaS Management

There are so many opportunities for automation. But with regards to SaaS Management, automation is vital for two things – optimization and de-risking.

Automation for Optimization

When something is optimized, you almost forget about it because it just works. The same is true when SaaS Management optimizes your SaaS application workflows. Rather than spending too much time tinkering, worrying, and tweaking – automation handles many of the time-intensive tasks and allows you to focus on the big projects that bring value to your organization.

For example, the process of onboarding a new employee can take a lot of time, effort, and a few too many emails back and forth retrieving login information. With Automated SaaS Management, those low-skill, high-headache tasks largely disappear.

That is how optimization via SaaS Management should feel. You don’t fret, tinker, or worry because it just works.

Automation for De-risking

Can automated SaaS Management help you sleep better at night? Maybe! If one of the things keeping you up is fear of an impending security breach. The reality is that the SaaS Explosion didn’t just open the door to new opportunities; it also extended to new ways bad actors and innocent mistakes can expose your data.

Often this is due to the proliferation of Shadow IT. Employee’s ability to download and install any application with ease. While that sounds great (and it often is!), it also means that the possible places for a data breach are simply too numerous for IT to handle.

Many take a defensive stance, enacting tools like CASB and Firewall, but these tools can only do so much. IT needs a tool that automatically identifies Shadow IT applications and makes deprovisioning easy.

Fortunately, this is precisely what Automated SaaS Management does. It gives the entire company insight into which tools the employees are using.

Accessible and Powerful

Automation is not magic. It’s not artificial intelligence. And it doesn’t simply work by itself. It is a capability enabled by technology. But, for it to be effective, automation must be both accessible and powerful. The user must be able to use the tool and get the desired outcome.

That’s where Torii focuses. It provides automation that takes advantage of the insight and lets the IT team design simple workflows that just work. Very few tools can deliver on the process of automation that is powerful and usable.

With Torii, automation doesn’t require a lot of automation-specific knowledge. The user really just needs to have a clear picture of what they want to accomplish. The no-code workflow builder lets any user become a creator and build something unique to their needs.

And that’s not an exaggeration; we’ve often seen Torii users build an automated process that we had never seen before! This kind of automation is accessible and powerful. Users can create workflows that are either super custom to their needs or very standard and out-of-the-box. It’s up to you.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that Torii’s Automated SaaS Management System delivers.

Four Tasks You Should Automate 

Onboarding New Hires – Application Provisioning

People switch jobs a lot. In recent years, that rate of change has increased, and IT teams are paying the hidden price. The time and effort required to onboard an employee are significant and essential. A good onboarding experience contributes to higher retention and better overall productivity.

However, onboarding can mean copying and pasting multiple licenses and login information between spreadsheets and emails for the IT team. Not a great use of time!

Torii and automation can help.

With Torii, you can create a simple onboarding workflow that automatically initiates based on a trigger (like someone receiving a Single Sign-On account). This then triggers an entire workflow of automatically provisioning applications and corresponding login details based on the employee’s role.

This workflow saves time for IT, reduces emails and miscommunications, and drastically improves the onboarding experience for the new hire.

But what about when that employee eventually leaves?

Offboarding Employees – Application Deprovisioning

Better onboarding leads to higher retention rates and productivity. However, offboarding often gets overlooked.

Proper offboarding saves companies money on unused licenses and removes the outstanding threat of unrevoked access privileges. No wonder 76% of IT pros consider offboarding a significant security risk.

Unfortunately, the offboarding process is time-consuming, and often it simply isn’t finished. This is where automation becomes the perfect solution.

Torii makes it easy to create a workflow for deprovisioning employees’ applications. It also includes a dashboard from which you can see the entire process as well as determine things like:

  • How to access to each application (or group of applications) should be revoked
  • Who is responsible for revoking access
  • What the follow-up process will be
  • What the confirmation process should look like

Once you’ve created the workflows and defined the above considerations, your offboarding becomes a one-click process (Yes, really, learn more here).

There’s a lot more to offboarding than deprovisioning applications. If you want to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row, we created a free and comprehensive Offboarding Checklist.

Ok, onboarding and offboarding are done! But, how do you know you identified all the applications that the user accessed?

Finding New Applications

Shadow IT is an unavoidable reality of our cloud-based businesses. Some reports indicate that the ratio of sanctioned to unsanctioned applications can be as high as 10 to 1 . 1

And often, that’s not a big problem. If someone uses Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word, you’re ok. However, often these applications are less known. Worse yet, they can require integrations with essential applications. Suddenly, the barriers between sanctioned and unsanctioned applications become a little blurry.

Some companies try to lock down all unsanctioned applications to varying success.

With Torri, instead of going on lockdown, you gain visibility. Torii automatically tracks anytime an employee uses their company email for a new application. If the application is sanctioned, all good! However, if the application is unsanctioned, it requests that the employee provide some information about the application, and IT is immediately made aware of the application’s presence in the organization. This way, IT doesn’t have to lock down applications, and they don’t need to live in ignorance of the SaaS Sprawl.

When employees find a new application, often it’s because an existing tool is not working. So how can IT monitor both the unsanctioned applications adopted and the sanctioned apps abandoned?

Deprovisioning Unused Licenses

How many expensive licenses go utterly unused in your organization?

The answer is usually somewhere between “Too many” and “I have no idea.”

It’s tricky. When employees stop using an application, it’s not a single moment of resolution. No one wakes up on January first and makes a resolution to stop using enterprise software. Instead, the abandonment is usually more gradual.

But IT has no way of monitoring this short of digging into every application’s administrative dashboard and combing through the data (a noble pastime).

With Torii, you can create an automated workflow that deprovisions software after an employee fails to log in for a certain period. The period might be 30 days, 60 days, or more. This simple automation keeps your application catalog clean and focused.

Conclusion: Why You Can’t-Wait

Automated SaaS Management solves many of the frustrations that IT teams face today. Too many tiny tasks, not enough time in the day. With Torii, IT becomes the architect of a new and exciting technology strategy rather than feeling drained by a series of dull steps.

With this new Automated SaaS Management, the organization is optimized and de-risked, ready for the future.

But you might be wondering, “Why the urgency? Our organization could make many improvements; why would SaaS Management deserve greater attention right now?”

Well, as it turns out – almost 75% of IT professionals without a SaaS Management solution said they wanted to adopt one soon – check out this article the learn about the three reasons why that is! 

If you’d like to see Torii’s automation in action, you can request a demo or watch an on-demand recording of our CEO and Co-Founder, Uri Haramati, walking you through the Torii platform.

Numbers used:
1. https://track.g2.com/resources/shadow-it-statistics