The IT department shouldn’t manage your software subscriptions

Who manages your SaaS subscriptions? If you’re like most organizations, you’ll answer one of four ways:

  1. Our IT department
  2. Our finance department
  3. Our operations department
  4. … Nobody? I mean, somebody probably does? But I don’t know who …  

Guess what? All four of those answers are wrong. Okay, the last one is probably the worst. But the other three aren’t that great either. Here’s why:

No one person or department should be fully responsible for managing your software subscriptions. It needs to be an organization-wide responsibility, whether your company is a tiny start-up or an international enterprise. No matter who you leave the responsibility to, their innate positional biases will leave some aspects of the vendor selection and subscription management to fall through the cracks.

Who Manages SaaS Blog

IT shouldn’t manage your SaaS subscriptions because while the department is hyper-focused on technological features and scalability – which is incredibly important – they miss the ownership aspect. It’s difficult for them to see who is spending what or how it’s being used. For example, IT might miss that nobody is really using a product that keeps auto-renewing, just because it’s allocated in another department’s budget. IT should absolutely be involved with vendor selection, feature comparison and integration, but not primarily responsible for subscription management.

Finance shouldn’t manage your SaaS subscriptions because their job is to focus on dollars, not integration, adoption, features or functionality. If Finance alone was responsible for managing SaaS subscriptions, you would miss out on credits for a vendor missing a service level agreement, you wouldn’t be aware of a competitive vendor that might be a better fit for your organization’s needs, and you would have trouble finding SaaS charges anywhere other than the ERP. Finance, does, however, need input into how pricing changes will impact budget, for example.

Operations shouldn’t manage your SaaS subscriptions because employees under the COO probably focus primarily on contract terms, and won’t pay enough attention to how the subscription is being used (or whether it’s being used at all) or if you could be paying less. Operations does, however, have a fantastic handle on how certain solutions increase efficiency and value across the organization.  

Somebody needs to manage your SaaS subscriptions, though. So who should it be? Everybody. Stakeholders from across your organization (including from IT, finance and operations, and maybe even HR, the department that is closest to employee onboarding and offboarding) needs to be included in SaaS management in order to get the most out of your licenses.

I recommend first adopting a software license management solution like Applogie, which will improve your SaaS management in three ways.

  1. It provides the entire organization a better, clearer view of how you’re really using your subscriptions.
  2. It gives you a platform to manage all the intricate aspects of your licenses that can’t be managed on a spreadsheet.
  3. It frees up the time of employees in every department, so they can focus on the things that add real business value (and that they find more fulfilling than tracking SaaS subscriptions in Excel, of course).

Then, I recommend creating a committee of these stakeholders to meet monthly and go over the data Applogie has extracted from across corporate systems. You’ll get a custom overview of how your business operates in the cloud, without the fluff. Who’s using what, for operations. How much it costs, for finance. When new features release, for IT. And so much more. You’ll see everything you need to know about your subscriptions in a single pane of glass, so you can discuss – together – how to optimize so that everyone, across departments, is making the most of your SaaS subscriptions.