Announcing the Productiv SaaS Renewal Calendar

The Proof is in Productiv

During my career, I have seen the evolution of the SaaS business model. SaaS made it easy to adopt, by pricing it low and entering an enterprise through Shadow IT. Eventually, morphing into a fully managed Service for the Enterprise. At that stage the burden is on the CIO and their team to clearly articulate the value of the Service. Oftentimes the burden of this proof was unbearable because of the explosion of multiple SaaS services, making it much more difficult to get a clear value proposition of a particular service. This led to common exchanges like the one below:

“Tell me how my company is using your software,” was a phrase I heard early and often during my time working in various SaaS companies in the Bay Area.

“Well, I know that your legal team is using us to help work on their contracts.” I would posit. This was often met with head shaking.

“I know legal is using it. But can you tell me how all the other users that I’m paying for are, because I don’t believe we’re using it all that much.” I wish I could say this exchange was unique, but it was something that happened all too often.

When I was introduced to Productiv, there was an immediate eureka moment. Productiv makes the process of discovering the value of a service and enumerates it to the organization. Helping reinforce buying decisions, enablement, or a call to action for change.

Data is at the heart of everything we do at Productiv. We use our data analytics to help our customers drive strategic decisions. In my first 30 days, we’ve been able to use active engagement usage data–as opposed just using login data–to drive a number of initiatives for our customers. I’ve seen them save upwards of $100K in one renewal by right-sizing their deployments! I’ve also seen customers use our engagement data to run enablement campaigns on Best of Breed tools or help identify Shadow IT.

During these times of COVID, it’s especially reaffirming to see how our message is resonating with marquee customers like Zoom, Uber, Fox, and Okta (just to name a few.) But it’s not just about messaging, as one of our Core Values states, it’s about Delivering Results.

Why I Joined Productiv: SaaS Management for those Leading Change

How Databricks is Transforming SaaS Management with Productiv

Almost overnight, employee productivity has become the new C-suite priority. Even before mandatory remote work accelerated this conversation, the rise of SaaS applications forced business-critical questions that needed answers like  “Are we seeing a decrease in employee productivity?” or “Are my teams able to get their work done at home?” 

Specific to SaaS, businesses who are constantly buying new licenses need to understand if that spend is actually useful. They need to know where there are  overlapping SaaS products and redundant spend — especially when working within a tight budget. And they need to know where consolidating the apps in their environment will give them a competitive advantage.

This Thursday, June 4th, we’re hosting a live event with Databricks’ Head of IT Mike Hamilton and Productiv CEO Jody Shapiro. Join us and learn exactly how Mike and his team tackled these questions and more, including how Productiv helped Mike and Databricks: 

  • Manage the IT stack during hyper growth to make better, more strategic decisions around cross-functional collaboration and long-term planning
  • Drive financial prudence by rightsizing SaaS licenses, ensuring each user has the right licenses and eliminating redundant overlapping apps
  • Deeply understand actual usage of existing applications by team and feature to reduce friction and increase innovation across the business.

We’ll also have a Q&A for attendees looking to ask Mike or Jody about how Productiv’s SaaS Management Platform helped Databricks prove the effectiveness of their SaaS applications, saving months of time on manual tasks and enabling IT to be more strategic.

Register today!

SaaS Optimization: What IT Leaders Need to Know

Software as a Service has changed how people consume software, who consumes it, and dramatically increased the amount of software used in day-to-day work. But, as with anything that grows so fast, there is room for SaaS optimization to drive a better, more holistic experience. A recent survey of senior IT executives drives the point home: as SaaS becomes accepted and as anyone within the organization can buy tools for their specific needs , organizations are seeing viral growth of SaaS spend and SaaS licenses. Giving employees across the organization the freedom to purchase the tools they need — when they need them — is the right thing to do for the business, right?  

Well, not always. SaaS sprawl can quickly become a CIO or procurement’s worst nightmare: 

  • There is limited visibility into what employees are actually using
  • It is hard to find  duplicative license costs
  • There is an inability to plan for productive renewal conversations with vendors
  • There are possible security and compliance issues

This prevents SaaS optimization, as CIOs try to rightsize their SaaS footprint, licenses, and spend to what their organization needs. Worse, it leads to poor collaboration and productivity as you inadvertently create information and communication silos, and ultimately results in a less-than-desirable employee software experience.

So, how should IT leaders think about SaaS optimization? Here are the key things to consider when thinking about how your SaaS portfolio should be optimized across your organization.

Wait, what do you mean by SaaS Optimization?

As you embark on the journey of improving the SaaS experience for your team members, it is important to note that the term SaaS Optimization is often used in two distinct ways.

  1. SaaS Optimization often refers to improving application performance as your employee tries to access the application. Just like accessing an e-commerce site, slow performance can disrupt the experience and frustrate the user. Various networking tools aggregate performance information about SaaS providers, including the physical locations where the providers’ data is served. These tools use this data to measure the loss, latency and other common SaaS performance metrics from your locations to different services in the cloud. 
  2. The more common meaning of SaaS Optimization today refers to optimizing your SaaS spend and SaaS usage by employees. Are you getting everything you can out of each license you’ve provisioned? Are you provisioned at the right feature tier for each individual user? And are you spending the right amount of money on each SaaS license or application?

Naturally, these two different approaches to SaaS Optimization require different tools, though in the end they are both designed to ensure that your users have the best possible experience with their applications. 

Since case two is the more common approach to SaaS optimization, let’s drill deep on how you can achieve both license optimization and spend management around your SaaS applications.

SaaS Optimization

So what can you expect to achieve once you put these new SaaS best practices in place? Let’s start from the most basic and build up from there:

  • Gain visibility into your SaaS stack: Without a clear understanding of what tools employees are using, it’s impossible to address shadow IT and the security and compliance risks that come along with it. SaaS Management Platforms provide complete visibility into what’s actually being used in your organization and who has licenses and access to what apps. Visibility is the first and most fundamental step to complete SaaS optimization.
  • Manage your SaaS costs: Without SaaS license optimization, spend can quickly get out of control. You might be over-provisioning licenses to users who don’t need them at all, or provisioning expensive licenses to users who don’t use the premium features. 
  • Eliminate duplicative SaaS apps. Chances are you might even have users with access to duplicative apps, like Zoom and Hangouts, or Box and Google Drive. Now you can quickly discover those apps and determine whether you can eliminate them.
  • Budget for future growth: After optimizing your SaaS spend, take things a step further with footprint analysis and budgeting for each departments’ growth. Gaining visibility into which team is using what licenses allows for both rightsizing your SaaS costs as well as forecasting future SaaS spend by cost center. 
  • Automate SaaS workflows: To truly optimize SaaS licenses, you need dynamic and automated workflows that enable you to manage your licenses, so you can provision, deprovision, downgrade and upgrade by license tier for individual users. Save time and effort by automating license management so that everyone has exactly the right license type they need to get their jobs done.
  • Drive adoption and productivity: SaaS optimization allows you to drive productivity across the organization. By avoiding duplicative applications, you’re no longer creating information silos within the organization, and by managing licenses more dynamically, you’re ensuring your employees always have the right tools at the right times. It also allows you to understand adoption as new solutions are rolled out across teams or the organization. Understanding which teams are engaging with which applications enables leaders to work across silos and understand where employees are spending their time. It also allows you to double down on enablement when you identify gaps in adoptions, so that you can be more proactive with driving actual usage.

In order to truly optimize your SaaS, you need granular data and automated workflows to understand who is using which apps, when, and for what purpose. 

Things to Consider in a SaaS Management Platform

You might be thinking “that all sounds great — but how do I optimize my SaaS today?”  That’s where SaaS Management Platforms come into play. Here are a few different functionalities to consider in these platforms:

  • Full visibility: Many SaaS management platforms claim to provide full visibility into applications and integrate with financial data systems to do so. They categorize this spend to develop a view of what SaaS exists across the organization. However, this may not capture everything and will not provide real-time data as employees may not expense items for months. Look for a system that integrates with your financial system, expense system, HR system (to understand who is using what, by team), your SSO and CASB for the most complete visibility into SaaS usage across the organization.
  • Engagement data: Many SaaS management providers will label someone as “active” with a SaaS application if they have logged in within a certain amount of time. However, this doesn’t tell you if users are actually using the application and how users are exactly engaging with the tool Look for a solution that offers precise data on actual usage, based on what exact features someone is using and what actions they’re performing within the application
  • Automated workflows: Additionally, being able to set up automatic provisioning and de-provisioning based on actual usage is critical. To optimize your SaaS licenses, look for a SaaS Management Platform that will allow you to set up automated workflows that look at empirical usage patterns to determine what license types each individual user actually needs and action those licenses accordingly Being able to configure these automated rules to your needs is integral to saving your team time while ensuring your SaaS licenses are distributed appropriately across employees.
  • Renewal intelligence: Ultimately, the goal of a SaaS management platform is to better inform you and your team so that you can optimize your SaaS licenses, saving you time and money. Look for a SaaS Management Platform that enables you to be proactive and own the renewal conversation for all of your SaaS applications — know when your renewal conversations are coming up through a renewal calendar and get actionable insights on what exactly to renew. Your SaaS management platform should help you come to these vendor conversations with all the data you need to effectively negotiate the renewal that makes the most sense for your organization.

Productiv Solution

At Productiv, we are more than a SaaS spend management platform, We help with SaaS optimization across the organization. By connecting into your SSO, finance, expense, HR, and CASB systems, we provide visibility across the organization into who has access to which applications.

In addition, our proprietary API connectors give you deep engagement data: not only who is logging into which SaaS apps, but how exactly they are engaging with it, which features are most used, and when. For example, by looking at Zoom usage patterns by feature, we know whether each user needs a Pro or Basic license, and can automatically provision, deprovision, upgrade or downgrade license tiers directly from our platform. At the team-level, it allows us to see things like whether one team is using Dropbox while the rest of the org is using Google Drive. We want to help you ensure that each user within your organization is using the exactly right tool with the exactly right license for them — and to allow you to have a view of usage across the entire org.

Our engagement data allows you to:

  • Optimize for the most efficient tech stack by eliminating redundancies and enabling users with the tools they need — down to the individual license level
  • Optimize for your SaaS security and compliance by shining a light on rogue applications that you may not be aware of 
  • Optimize for spend by preparing you for renewal conversations with granular usage data that is not available via other SaaS spend management platforms, so you can see who is using which features of each application
  • Optimize SaaS adoption by setting adoption goals and identifying gaps in adoption of new and existing applications

In order to truly optimize your SaaS applications, you need a granular understanding of what is going on in terms of SaaS usage across your org.

Interested in learning more about Productiv’s engagement data? Sign up below for a demo!


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Productiv Insights: Video Collaboration in the age of COVID-19

With millions of people around the world complying with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and self-quarantining for safety, remote work has quickly become the new normal for enterprises. As we adapt to this new way of work, SaaS applications play an important role in maintaining collaboration continuity and enabling us to get our jobs done. 

One application that has played an integral role in maintaining this continuity is the video conferencing application Zoom. Across the globe, enterprises are using Zoom’s reliable, high-quality video conferencing capabilities to make working from home a consistently viable option in the age of COVID-19. Examining a subset of Productiv customer data confirms this.

The data shows that Zoom engagement began to tick up in early March, just as the first states of emergency were declared in the early hotspots on the west coast of the US. Around this time, many businesses also began to institute optional remote work policies. As the pandemic intensified in March and these policies became mandatory, Zoom engagement rose more significantly. 

By April, once the majority of residents in the US were sheltering in place, Zoom engagement rose 55% above pre-pandemic levels. With remote work continuing for the foreseeable future, we expect to see Zoom engagement remain at these higher levels. 

Face-to-face matters, especially when we’re remote

One of the reasons that Zoom has surged in popularity is the ease with which Zoom helps us connect with each other over video. In an environment where nearly everyone works remotely, video meetings offer many advantages over the traditional conference call. Let’s take a look at how users have shared video in Zoom during the pandemic.

Shared video in Zoom remained relatively flat throughout February and the beginning of March, as most employees continued to work in the office during these weeks and in-person meetings were likely more common. But as soon as remote work policies began to take effect in the beginning of March, the data shows a sharp uptick in shared video. By April, shared video in Zoom rose 128% above pre-pandemic levels. Putting this all together, the percentage of users sharing video in their Zoom calls rose significantly from 57% to 84% during this time period.

With most of us working remotely, it’s no surprise that sharing video in Zoom has increased so dramatically. When we collaborate over video, we can better read the body language and facial expressions of our fellow meeting participants, which — just as it does in face-to-face meetings — leads to more productive collaboration and fosters stronger trust in our working relationships. And understanding how employees participate in meetings with video enabled is a boon to IT leaders focused on increasing the effectiveness of remote collaboration. 

SaaS applications have maximized productivity and collaboration and helped us adapt to the new normal of an always-remote workplace. At Productiv, we help visualize your organization’s application engagement patterns to ensure that employees are using applications like Zoom as intended — to improve the employee software experience and drive stronger, more meaningful collaboration. 

For IT teams who need assistance right now, Productiv can help quickly measure real-time usage of your SaaS applications, rightsize your licenses, and support remote collaboration. Measuring and driving productivity for remote workers is in our DNA, and we’re here to help you as you navigate this new, and likely stressful, situation. We are offering a free 30-day trial of Productiv, so that you can quickly start understanding your organization’s current collaboration and productivity. To learn more, contact us below.

How To Rightsize Your SaaS Portfolio