How Heap solves SaaS spend, Shadow IT, and operational challenges
Heap is a leading digital insights platform that gives businesses a 360-degree view of their customer journeys and delivers “better insights, faster.” Founded in 2013, Heap serves more than 8,000 businesses in their pursuit to build and improve digital experiences for their customers. With Heap analytics, they’re able to see, understand, and act on any and all customer data so those customers continue coming back for more.
Heap has experienced incredibly rapid growth over the years. Prior to using Torii, their IT team was operating in a largely reactive state when it came to their cloud applications —fulfilling urgent requests for help, approving SaaS purchases, and granting the appropriate employees application access as quickly as possible—which was necessary to support employee productivity and scale operations as fast as the rest of the business.
This rapid pace and reactive state did however make it a challenge to maintain a single source of truth (SSOT) for all things SaaS. Various teams use spreadsheets or Google docs to keep track of applications. Finance had their own for SaaS spending, compliance used another to cross-reference which apps went through a review with the compliance team. The reliance on manual processes and the decentralization of data sources left information gaps.
When Mansur Wadalawala, Director of IT & Data, joined Heap, it was his goal to illuminate those unknowns, streamline SaaS data management, put stronger governance controls around their apps, and implement a SSOT.
“We needed to understand exactly which apps we have, who has access, and how much we’re spending, but it took a ton of research and networking to get close to an answer,” said Corrine Pusillo, IT Operations Engineer at Heap.
The Heap IT team was also concerned about the growing presence of Shadow IT, which they needed to bring to light. Wadalawala explained, “Our company was growing fast, and people were using a lot of new cloud apps. Heap had protocols and rules for adopting apps, but employees weren’t always following them. They were almost de-incentivized from doing so because they knew IT bottlenecks would slow them down, and they could adopt apps faster if they did it on their own. So, we needed to quickly find a solution, and one that would improve our efficiency.”
Why Heap Chose Torii
Heap needed a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) that would get everyone in the organization on the same page and help truly manage their SaaS stack. After evaluating six SMPs, Torii was the clear winner.
At the top of Heap’s wishlist was a solution that would discover the entire scope of their SaaS sprawl. “We knew that before we could solve challenges like spend optimization, application redundancies, and Shadow IT compliance, we had to first gain complete visibility. Torii’s extensive application discovery was a big selling point for us, and we’ve not been disappointed,” said Wadalawala.
Completing compliance checks for every single app was a major to-do for Heap’s IT team. They had standalone apps covered in that regard, but knew that checking compliance of apps integrated through Slack would be a challenge. Heap’s teams use channels and tools in Slack, and IT needed discovery capabilities to parse through apps enabled by Slack as well. “Most SMP vendors we spoke with said it wouldn’t be possible and that we needed to upgrade to Slack Enterprise to get the visibility we needed. Torii, on the other hand, didn’t limit us and once we connected to Slack, we saw all the apps we needed to inventory and bring into our compliance program,” said Wadalawala.
They also needed detailed reporting and an interface that presented SaaS data in a clean, digestible way. “With other SMPs, there was too much noise, which made it hard to act on the data. It was just overwhelming,” said Wadalawala. “Torii made it very easy to cut through noise so we could pinpoint data and insights that we needed to make decisions.”
Cost control was particularly important and Torii’s spend management also won the team over. “In one instance, we double paid for app licenses because there were multiple admins who were getting notified about upcoming or past due payments, and we ended up sending payment by credit card and the same payment by ACH,” said Wadalawala. “Torii was incredibly easy to implement and gave us a way to create a centralized, coordinated process for spend management.”
In place of the disparate documents and spreadsheets, Torii became a SSOT for all SaaS stakeholders giving everyone visibility into ongoing app discovery, usage, users, spend data and more.
How Torii Helps
SaaS sprawl and compliance managed
“With Torii, the time-to-value, especially for app discovery, was immediate,” said Wadalawala. “On day one, Torii exposed a lot of those unknowns, like how big of a problem SaaS sprawl really was. We expected to find between 100-200 apps in our SaaS stack, but we were blown away to find nearly 500 apps.”
Not only did Heap gain visibility of the apps, but also the data associated with them. Now they know exactly who is using which applications. “Torii minimizes SaaS sprawl and Shadow IT challenges. We no longer have to play whack-a-mole to put out IT fires related to compliance,” said Pusillo.
Cost controls and spend management simplify budgeting
Heap’s IT team are the primary users of Torii, but it’s also become a valuable tool for those with a vested interest in budgeting and spend management.
With Torii as their SSOT, everyone involved in Heap’s budgeting process has access to the information they need. Heap’s finance, sales ops, and other teams have their own logins for Torii. They can see relevant SaaS spend and usage data, which they use to analyze trends, pinpoint waste including redundant and under-utilized applications, and renegotiate contracts. Finance also works directly with IT so that they can validate invoices, double-check data, and have ongoing, data-informed conversations about spending over time.
“Before using Torii, we didn’t have a foolproof way to decide who got what kinds of licenses or where we needed to scale back. We would have to go into each application, one-by-one, which we don’t have the bandwidth for. Torii makes it easy,” said Wadalawala.
For example, when Heap began preparing to renew their Zoom contract, they knew not every employee would need a premium license. With Torii, the IT team was able to see how employees were using Zoom and identify which users rarely host meetings that exceed 30 minutes. They use that information to prepare for renewal and create new licensing workflow rules in Torii. They also use Torii’s offboarding workflow to deprovision licenses from people who have left the company and reharvest them for other users, instead of purchasing new licenses. The combination of all these cost controls resulted in initial savings to the tune of $100,000.
Automated workflows drive greater operational efficiency
Torii’s automated workflows were a pleasant surprise for Heap. “We thought automations would be ‘nice to have’ but once we implemented Torii, it became clear that they were really valuable. Torii’s workflow automations take care of all the heavy lifting for tasks we had previously handled manually,” said Wadalawala.
Torii helped eliminate onboarding bottlenecks, which was a win for IT and the People team. In fact, Torii saves Heap 20 minutes of onboarding time per person, speeding up onboarding by 30%. “Torii integrates with our HRMS and IDP, so as soon as a new hire joins, Torii automatically grants access to standard apps, Slack channels, and Google groups based on their role and other identifiers,” said Pusillo.
Automations also helped eliminate those ominous unknowns, like surprise renewals, and new Shadow IT. “Torii keeps us in the know,” said Wadalawala. “For instance, IT is automatically notified when we’re approaching a licensing threshold, or someone adopts a new application using company credentials. We also have a workflow set up so that if someone hasn’t used an app in 60 days, Torii automatically de-provisions that user.”
Greater alignment and value for all
Torii helps Heap break down data silos so the entire organization can eliminate unknowns, collaborate better, and derive greater value from their SaaS investments.
Use Cases: App Discovery & Visibility, Spend Management, Onboarding & Offboarding workflows
- Discovered 4x more apps than they knew existed
- Improved onboarding time by 30%
- Eliminated last-minute contract renewals and excess spending
- Optimized operational efficiency with automated workflows
SaaS Surprise: “We were concerned that time-to-value would be slow or that it would take a lot of work to find the right data. But with Torii, we saw value right away.”
Favorite Torii Feature: App Discovery
“Torii made it very easy to cut through noise so we could pinpoint data and insights that we needed to make decisions.”
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