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Managing the rise of SaaS technology in business

by Mike Jones in Other Cat 10/06/2020

The transformation experienced in the business world has resulted in an unprecedented rise in SaaS requirements, leading to increased concerns with decision makers in the IT industry.

Not so long ago, remote and flexible working options were perceived as an added bonus, rather than mandatory for business development. Today, as a consequence of the ‘new normal’, business leaders have increased their reliance on SaaS technology to support and maintain workforce productivity. The transition was so unexpected and rapid that IT teams have had very little time to assess and consider what resources to be investing in. 

Businesses are responding in various ways to the recent implications of the crisis. Some organisations have previously promoted flexible working options and were already in a relatively mobile position prior to the pandemic. Other businesses have had to completely transform their working processes, making significant changes to cope with the restricted measures. Whichever stage a business was at, there has been a significant rise in SaaS usage which has caused some concerns within the IT industry.

IT teams are responsible to manage the technology systems and to ensure your business has the correct resources to support their workforce. During these current challenges, businesses are focused on working in the most effective manner, whether the right tools are available or not. This could result in a number of challenging scenarios:

Individual teams are purchasing SaaS tools and expecting IT teams to cover the expenses. Business leaders are under added pressure to ensure their teams are equipped with the resources they need.

More employees are signing up and subscribing to new SaaS services which in some cases, is leading to uncontrolled purchasing and potential security concerns relating to sharing data. Furthermore, many employees are registering for free trials without considering the security implications or how they intend to extract the data from the product when the trial is complete.

In order to sustain this surge of SaaS usage, IT teams need to be capable of identifying exactly what services have been purchased by their employees to enable continued working from home. Businesses should implement due diligence in regards to cost and security with SaaS resources, with a target of creating an approved list of preferred tools and applications. Once this has been established, IT teams should delve deeper into each SaaS application and ensure they understand the benefits and potential risks associated with each service. This includes exploring who owns the data in the application, how the data is protected, who has access to the data sources and what happens to this information when the contract is terminated.

SaaS services are simple and very user-friendly but it can be challenging to terminate contracts. Once a business has understood what services it intends to use, they should assess and manage any potential challenges. For example, Zoom has quickly established itself as a vital tool for remote working. The free service enables conference calls for up to 40 minutes. However, if Zoom becomes an essential part of a business, there is a good chance that the business will consider upgrading to a paid service. Despite its rising popularity, even services like zoom have had recent challenges in regards to security and privacy. Other popular services can be complicated when looking to terminate a contract and extracting data out of these platforms. This is something that needs to be considered prior to proceed with your selected SaaS service.

All businesses are facing up to similar issues, but whatever industry you may be in, business leaders are predominantly focused on their performance and ensuring their functions continue to the best level. SaaS tools have proven to be very effective, particularly during the pandemic but IT teams need to ensure they monitor what products are being used and the implications of signing up for new services.