The uncontrolled spread of software-as-a-service applications can pose a number of issues and hamper organizational efficiency. To maximize productivity, it is crucial to understand the root causes and consequences of SaaS sprawl, as well as to investigate effective solutions for controlling and limiting its effects.
In this guide we will explore the effects of Saas Sprawl and how leaders can overcome them to improve the productivity of team and individual.
So, let's get started.
What is SaaS Sprawl?
The advent of cloud-based SaaS tools ushered in a supercharged and hyper-effective workplace powered by technological advances and human creativity. SaaS apps’ inherent ease of adoption, limitless applicability, feature and aesthetic personalization opportunities, rapid deployment, and business-friendly economics made it an obvious choice to enhance productivity at work for businesses that were embracing digital tools.
With time, companies’ digital tools and services stack grew to an extent where it became a tedious task for management to stay cognizant of what tools a company licenses, what the workforce actually uses, and its impact on workforce productivity. This burgeoning problem is defined as SaaS sprawl when management is unable to manage the cost, consumption, impact, and compliance of SaaS tools used by the workforce.
Companies that are powered by digital tools, on average, run on a tech stack constituted by 70 to 100 digital tools and apps. Of this stack, collaboration and productivity tools alone number anywhere between 16 to 25 tools. On top of these, individual teams use their own tech stack, as seen at most software development teams working with Git, CI/CD, and monitoring tools, while marketing and sales teams work using their customer relationship, communication, and data management stack. Many of these organizations saw a rise in the number of tools adopted and used only recently and therefore, there is a prevalent lack of insight into the cost, adoption, usage, and visibility into the impact these digital tools have on productivity and employee experience.
What Causes SaaS Sprawl?
SaaS sprawl refers to the situation where an organization is using multiple SaaS applications across different departments or functions, resulting in a decentralized and fragmented software landscape. The factors that contribute to the occurrence of SaaS sprawl are:
1. Lack of Visibility and Governance
In the absence of robust governance mechanisms, organizations may struggle to gain visibility into the SaaS applications being used across the enterprise. This lack of oversight makes it challenging to manage costs, security, compliance, and overall performance.
2. Duplication of Functionality
When numerous applications with identical functionality are implemented inside an organization, SaaS sprawl can emerge. Different departments may use different technologies to meet identical goals, leading in duplication, higher expenses, and greater complexity.
3. Rapid Innovation and Market Fragmentation
The SaaS market is highly dynamic, with new applications being introduced frequently. The availability of a wide range of specialized tools and the pressure to stay competitive can tempt organizations to adopt multiple applications, contributing to the sprawl.
4. Lack of Integration
SaaS applications are typically designed to address specific functionalities or processes. However, when these applications do not integrate well with each other or with existing systems, organizations may adopt additional applications to bridge the gaps, resulting in a sprawl of disparate tools.