Cross-dysfunctional? SaaS has broken cross-functional collaboration. Our research proved it.
The meetings fill your calendar, the tickets stack in your project management software, and yet—it feels like you’re barely treading water in a sea of work.
You struggle to accomplish your own work, much less collaborate with colleagues. Even answers to simple questions take longer to get (if at all), and you’re doing more work to get less done.
These are symptoms of a broken system—and the SaaS explosion is to blame. The SaaS explosion is the change in how many cloud apps we have, as well as who adopts those apps. No longer the work of a single team, adding SaaS apps is now a distributed act and that has scattered information. Data silos dot the road to cross-functional collaboration like jagged potholes.
What does this mean for IT, the team most responsible for providing insights on SaaS applications? That’s the question we set out to ask in our report titled “State of SaaS at Work: Collaboration in a Distributed Workplace.” We asked 300 IT Directors, IT Managers, and CIOs how their company collaborates around cloud applications.
The results, measuring IT’s collaboration with different departments, were poor. In particular, IT and Finance/Procurement just aren’t collaborating often enough despite SaaS data being critical to cost saving measures. That doesn’t bode well for SaaS Spend Management and it raises a question; if these teams have a vested interest in collaborating, why aren’t they doing so more frequently?
How Distributed App Adoption Disrupted Cross-Functional Collaboration
One of the first things that jumped out within our report was the difference between perception and reality. When we asked IT about the state of collaboration in their company, 90% reported either “Good” or “Excellent.” But, when we asked about the specific frequency with Finance and Procurement teams, we found that only 14% collaborated either “often” or “continuously.”
- Why is collaboration so haphazard with Finance and Procurement?
- What tasks do these groups collaborate on?
Why So Infrequent?
While IT’s infrequent collaboration with their Finance and Procurement colleagues is worrisome, as it could quickly lead to budget bloat—it’s also not an isolated issue.
Consider teams like Security and Compliance that most would consider moving in lockstep with their IT counterparts. How can you secure your IT infrastructure without stamping out Shadow IT? Yet only 20% of respondents stated that IT collaborates with Security or Compliance often or continuously to discover hidden applications.
Broken collaboration could be for a few reasons. Maybe these teams are unaware that IT is a resource. Or maybe, they learned from experience that IT didn’t have the answers they needed. Earlier, we mentioned the SaaS explosion—more apps adopted by more people than ever—If everyone adopts applications without IT’s knowledge, then IT doesn’t have the critical data to contribute to collaboration.
What Tasks Does IT Need To Work With Finance/Procurement On?
Finance and Procurement are at a disadvantage if they cannot lean on IT.
How can Finance avoid cutting value alongside cost? How will they identify wasted licenses? How will Procurement prepare for contract renewals if they lack the info to evaluate an application’s usage?
With that, we wanted to see how often IT was collaborating with Finance and/or Procurement on these most common tasks that maximize SaaS investments.
Some notable results:
- 60% are identifying underutilized apps
- 70% are identifying overlapping or redundant apps
- 63% are finding wasted licenses
- 36% are surfacing important app data for contract negotiations
While those first three seem positive, remember that only 14% collaborate either “often” or “continuously.” These teams know what they need to do, but still don’t. This is likely due to the frustration identified earlier. If you’re looking for specific info and walk away empty-handed—there’s a lower likelihood you’ll return.
Another finding that stuck out like a sore thumb is that last task. With only 36% of respondents surfacing important app data for contract negotiations, Procurement is at a serious disadvantage. Cost-effective contract negotiations rely on SaaS usage information. If that information isn’t clear to IT, they can’t provide support Procurement.
And most worrying of all, of the four tasks mentioned—only 4% of respondents stated that they were collaborating on all of them. Yikes.
When it’s time to tighten the belt (akin to the current financial instability), Finance and Procurement need IT as a resource. That means IT needs to uncover and provide critical information.
The Necessary Shift to Distributed SaaS Management
These stats are not an indictment on the employees themselves, but instead, show the impact of distributed app adoption on an organization.
A shift in strategy is necessary for how IT manages SaaS applications.
Cross-functional collaboration can’t work without accounting for distributed app adoption. Like coffee through a filter, once it fills the pot—it’s all indiscernible. That means IT needs visibility to illuminate Shadow IT and understand application usage.
Enter: Distributed SaaS Management.
Distributed SaaS Management is the act of discovering and centralizing disparate data throughout the organization, improving the accuracy of that data, orchestrating critical processes via automation, and allowing key teams (such as IT, procurement, and finance) to focus on strategic, business critical initiatives.
Distributed SaaS Management allows IT, Finance, and Procurement to get on the same page with their SaaS data. They can find trends and insights related to spending patterns and calculate app value. This provides a clear direction on addressing waste and even automating processes to prevent that bloat from recurring. and automate mundane or error-prone tasks. With those processes streamlined, these teams can focus on strategic work together.
After all, SaaS Spend Management is a lot easier when it’s a team sport. That’s where a SaaS Management Platform like Torii upgrades IT’s collaborative capabilities.
Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, IT’s troubles with cross-functional collaboration don’t end with Finance or Procurement.