CD Baby is a leading online distributor of music for independent artists. Tens of thousands of musicians rely on CD Baby to sell their music through 150+ streaming and download services, including Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Pandora, YouTube, Amazon, and Deezer.
CD Baby’s mission is to help musicians achieve their dreams. Known for its close, collaborative relationships with artists, its services include everything from royalty collections and rights administration to assistance with marketing, merchandising, and placements.
CD Baby’s IT department exemplifies the company’s commitment to collaboration. “We work hard at fostering an open environment with our user community. This includes giving employees the opportunity to explore the latest and greatest technologies,” said Tom Beohm, CD Baby’s Vice President of IT.
The company used an honor system asking people to fill out a form when they tried new applications. However, it was rarely used. Instead, IT often found out about new SaaS applications through help desk requests for unsanctioned apps; when an employee who had provisioned their own app left CD Baby and others couldn’t access it; or when accounting why they were spending so much for an application that it turned out an employee had used their corporate credit card to purchase.
Managing contracts was difficult. CD Baby used Sharepoint to manage a static list of contracts. According to Beohm, “It wasn’t always accurate and didn’t scale. Not only did we have to manually update it, notifications of renewals were spotty, if they happened at all.”
When renewal information was available, Beohm had to manually track down who was using the apps and why, in order to effectively renew contracts – if time allowed. “I have a lot of tribal knowledge from being at CD Baby for 12 years, so I was the single point of contact,” he said.
The IT team’s growing awareness of their SaaS sprawl and the challenges associated with it – including disconnects that happened when different teams used competing tools – led CD Baby to consider a SaaS management solution. That, plus recent M&A activity, spurred them to act. “Other companies coming into the fold were bringing their own apps and services, further complicating our IT landscape. It became apparent we needed a much better way to understand our entire environment,” Beohm explained.
CD Baby evaluated several SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs). Torii stood out for its extensive discovery and actionability. “Other SMPs had limitations on how many apps and how much information they could discover. Torii was the only one with the comprehensive breadth and depth of discovery we needed. With its browser extension and ability to run across multiple browsers and device platforms, Torii had a clear advantage,” Beohm said.
Torii also made it easy to take action on the information it discovered. “Competitors provided some visibility but no way to take action. You couldn’t do automations, couldn’t interact and, as a result, could’t really manage the SaaS environment,” Beohm said. “Torii’s workflows are fantastic. We can use them to automate virtually anything.”
Beohm also noted that Torii’s pricing model was very easy to understand compared to competitors whose “pricing was ambiguous and overly a-la-carte.”
Equally important, CD Baby found a true partner in Torii. Beohm said, “We wanted someone to partner with in our SaaS management journey. We could tell from the start that Torii wanted the same thing. From our initial sales contact through onboarding to customer support, Torii excels. The customer experience is fantastic.”
Torii’s ease of use put the icing on the cake. Beohm explained, “As an IT guy, I’m used to having to mess with technology that doesn’t work out of the gate. That’s not what happened with Torii. Torii just works, in every possible way. I don’t have to mess with it, tweak it, or worry about it. The solution is very elegant and the set up is easy. I even repurpose its very approachable documentation to communicate what the Torii tool is all about and why we’re using it.”
CD Baby’s decision to purchase Torii had high visibility throughout the company. “Many people knew about the changes we hoped Torii would bring in how we operate, manage costs, and provide services. So it was great to have Torii deliver on its promise so quickly. It took just two weeks to realize tangible value,” said Beohm. “In that short time, we were able to roll out our Application Catalog to promote and enable employees to request sanctioned apps and services.”
Torii made SaaS management not only possible, but also easy. “We can discover everything and take action on anything. When we turned Torii on, I expected to see about 100 applications. I was surprised to find we had 248,” Boehm explained.
He added, “I love Torii’s workflows! I was surprised about how easy and extensible they are. I’ve even set up workflows that interact with other workflows. We can also explore new workflows without repercussions because Torii lets us disable workflows and then test against a safe application, before rolling them out.”
One example of this is CD Baby’s offboarding workflow, which lets them deprovision an employee with a click of a button – and minimize the risk of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. “With SaaS sprawl and Shadow IT, it’s impossible for us to know everything and everyone that needs to be disconnected. But Torii knows. Our offboarding workflow shows everything a user has used and automates deprovisioning and/or app owner notifications with required actions as soon as they leave the company,” Beohm said.
CD Baby supports employees’ application explorations while bringing them out of the shadows. They discover applications in real-time via Torii’s browser extension technology, and use Torii’s application comparison feature to uncover redundant tools. The IT team uses this information to initiate conversations with employees about why they like the applications, encourage them to use sanctioned apps that provide the same capabilities when it makes sense, and bring apps under CD Baby’s OneLogin Single Sign On (SSO) solution and IT’s administration.
Using Torii’s Application Catalog, CD Baby gives employees a way to self-service access. Applications must meet strict criteria, including being either “IT owned” or “IT supported,” to make the list. Clicking on an app reveals what the application is, why CD Baby has it, who the owner(s) are, and who supports it. If employees don’t see applications they want, they simply click the “I Don’t See My App Here” link, which takes them to a custom app request form on the company's ticketing system. IT then contacts the employee to discuss and evaluate their request.
Managing contracts and renewals in Torii is orders of magnitude easier and more cost-effective. “One of the great things about Torii is I can tie a contract to an application. Because the information is dynamic, I see not only what we’re spending money on, but also its owner, adoption, usage, and even cost per user and department. I don’t have to chase this information down. It’s baked into Torii – and it’s 100% accurate,” Beohm says.
Beohm created a renewals workflow that sends a ticket to CD Baby’s IT operations team with links to the app, renewal date, details on usage and cost, and instructions on what to do in terms of right-sizing contracts. “I’m no longer the single point of success. Torii lets us assign app and contract ownership, and automatically notifies the right people about renewals with plenty of runway to negotiate rates and right-size contracts. This makes it easy to scale responsibility for ownership and keep on top of renewals,” said Beohm.
Beohm is a huge advocate of using Torii to improve overall IT management. He explained, “We use Torii for all IT contract management. I developed a custom “app” for our primary hardware OEMs and mapped our hardware support contracts to it. Creating a vendor record as an app lets us consolidate management of support and hardware, as well as apps and services. We now have one place to manage all our technology contracts.”
According to Beohm, “The challenge with most SaaS services is, if you buy more licenses it’s hard to true-down before the end of a contract. Torii offsets this by making it easy to reclaim seats instead of buying more.”
For example, in the past CD Baby’s motion was to purchase additional Microsoft Office 365 seats as they hired new employees because trying to find out if all seats were being used, and by whom, was a manual effort they didn’t have time to undertake. Now, it’s not necessary. “Recently, we were about to pull the trigger on new seats for Office 365. Instead we pulled a Torii report that showed unused licenses. We saved about $7,000 by reassigning them,” said Beohm.
They also set up a workflow that notifies the Zendesk application owner when there’s a seat that doesn’t meet their “last used” date criteria. “It’s really cool because now the app owner knows as soon as this happens and can take actions to reclaim the license. We do the same with Zoom. This is a big win for IT and app owners,” said Boehm.
Beohm expects to save even more money when many of their SaaS app contracts come up for renewal towards the end of the year. In the meantime, he’s realizing tremendous time savings. “Things that took hours to do now take just one minute. Instead of executing everything, I orchestrate and administer. This frees me up to work on projects that are much more valuable to CD Baby’s business and employees,” he said.
A good example of this are workflows that notify IT when they’re running low on licenses for apps that have historically required significant time to procure new licenses. Beohm explained, “When the apps reach a certain threshold, such as 10% availability, we can start the purchasing process. This ensures we have the licenses we need, and saves days of lost productivity for new hires or employees needing different apps or services as part of a role change.”
CB Baby’s IT team can now partner with its legal team to minimize the security and compliance risks of SaaS sprawl. “Our legal team is very excited about the visibility and risk assessments Torii surfaces about our SaaS applications, including the impact of integrations with Slack and Microsoft Azure. They can draft compliance policies that guide our organization to make smart decisions about apps and services, and work together with IT on a united front to do the right thing for our company and our employees,” Beohm said.