Sometimes, IT managers act as underpaid and underfunded CIOs. Other times, they must make do with too-small teams or manage only themselves. Still others are improving mid-sized organizations while managing (sometimes) crazy executive attitudes.
What do these IT managers have in common? Things can really fall apart without them.
I have family, friends, and colleagues who have worked in IT management for many years. My whole career has involved working closely with IT departments internally or externally.
People issues and corporate politics have topped their list of difficulties with the job. Those problems made the technical work of their teams harder. Here are some of the most common issues they’ve mentioned:
- Leadership perceives IT as a cost center, and somehow these amazing business leaders fail to understand the concept of “spend money to make money.”
- Training, development, and investment in employees may be difficult due to company culture, making retention an issue.
- Employee onboarding and offboarding takes considerable time and resources, but IT has less visibility and involvement with browser-based apps. There are also so many, and they differ by department, that IT may have effectively “given up” on this task.
- Vendors, executives, or other departments introduce a “shiny new toy” that ends up interrupting months of project plans. Which is the IT manager’s fault for some reason.
So today, I’m going to share how a SaaS management platform (Alpin) can make your job easier by helping solve these problems by:
Elevating IT budget and perceived importance in one easy step – SaaS discovery.
- Delegating SaaS coordination as a way to train or invest in a top performer.
- Automating SaaS onboarding and offboarding for efficiency and recognition.
- Anticipating or preventing “shiny new toy” interruptions because you already knew about it.
Elevate IT budget and perceived importance in one easy step – SaaS discovery
We find that companies have hundreds or thousands more SaaS applications lurking in their network than they realized, depending on the size of the company.
With a free trial or an audit report from Alpin, you could have visibility into:
- All SaaS apps connected by employees.
- Who uses which apps.
- Which apps pose more risk in terms of permissions, data access, or availability of security certifications.
- Who may be sharing sensitive files in cloud storage or email.
- Spend on SaaS by category, user, department, or other custom factors.
- And more!
Effectively, you will have more information on SaaS and have it more organized than anyone has seen to date. Consider what you might get from sharing that information:
More Budget: Alpin helps companies save up to 30% of their SaaS costs, which means Alpin can pay for itself, plus some. What would you do with that extra budget?
Increased importance: If IT can see more, it can also manage more. Departments that manage more are viewed as more important. You become the go-to person. And with alerts, notifications, and automated reports, you won’t have to spend every day inside the Alpin app.
Whether you focus on cost-cutting, security, or workflow automation, SaaS management opens up those possibilities through a discovery process. Alpin uses 13 discovery methods to quickly capture a comprehensive view of SaaS environments.
Delegate SaaS coordination as a way to train or invest in a top performer
SaaS management touches on a few important areas of IT: costs, security, and user support.
SaaS management likely does not require anyone to do those things full-time in Alpin. However, any aspiring IT manager benefits from a diverse technical background. SaaS management acts as gateway to just that:
Costs – while you may not be ready to spend a lot of time in the actual budget, giving someone an opportunity to work with software spend management or forecasting can serve as great training.
Security – Security teams tend to be the “rock stars” in IT currently. Whether that’s a team or just a single employee for you, exposure to security is a big bump in an IT generalists’ resume. Give the gift of security experience by having someone use Alpin’s automated tools to find risky apps, bad permissions, exposed data in storage or email, and more.
User support – If you want someone to be known by other department heads, then overseeing SaaS coordination will give them the opportunity to be known. In refining data from discovery, any person conducting SaaS management would want to confirm with department heads that apps, licenses, etc., match their current preferences. This person may or may not do all the work themselves, but it’s an opportunity to practice managing some relationships.
Delegate SaaS coordination as a way to train or invest in a top performer
Who onboards or offboards SaaS? In our experience, it is often the individual employee. That might explain how one company had been paying for Salesforce for someone 3-years-gone. We have seen many examples of this — we call them Zombie Users. Cutting them is one way we help companies save up to 30% on their SaaS costs.
Automating parts of this process and and providing visibility into all applications that user had — without having to ask anyone — provides a significant boost to IT’s effectiveness. It’s also efficient for a tech to do while already setting up a new device.
But what about recognition? IT managers are judged by numbers but also, for good or for bad — by simple perception. Setting up users with all the software they need, including SaaS, can increase the “Wow, IT is so great at this company” comments. For some executives, that carries more weight than metrics alone.
Anticipate or prevent “shiny new toy” interruptions because you already knew about it
SaaS has been a source of “shiny new toy” distractions for many IT professionals. Slack tends to be the best example – a bunch of people started using it, and now IT has to roll it out across the enterprise and implement policies? And delay other, more important projects? It happens more often than you’d like to think.
However, SaaS management offers a unique advantage to counter this type of effect: visibility.
Alpin can show what apps are new or growing, and you can get automated emails every week on the topic. As employees try out SaaS apps, it certainly offers the opportunity to squash unapproved adoption early. But if you’re like many IT leaders, some SaaS exploration is OK. And you can at least remind them of data policies for any apps that may be used to store sensitive data.
Imagine instead planning a project around picking the best app in the category the new app falls into. If you plan it and approve the plan, then that project can happen at the time of your choosing, not “right now.”
Another common scenario involves directing users to an existing app that has features they’re looking for because they didn’t know about an enterprise agreement held by IT.
The bottom line: the data gives you time to act and the information to better anticipate interruptions.
If you’re looking to get more serious about SaaS management and coordination to lead your IT department into its next stage, we have even more features to show you. Contact us for a demo or start a 14-day trial. You’ll see how Alpin can work for you. Get started by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.