Service provider best practices for Azure-based SaaS management

The market for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is perhaps one of the fastest-growing areas of IT and cloud services today. According to Gartner, the SaaS cloud application services market is expected to reach $113.1 billion in 2021, up almost twice from $58.8 billion in 2017.

SaaS is very much in demand, and SaaS management through Azure represents a significant opportunity for service providers today and well into tomorrow. In fact, service providers looking to expand their Azure business offerings would be wise to consider Azure-based SaaS management for their clients, but there are several areas of consideration from a management perspective.

Security, compliance, budgets driving SaaS management

What’s truly driving this opportunity for SaaS is that there are SaaS applications for nearly every business function for organizations across all industries. With this is mind, companies need the right Azure-based SaaS management solution for their global and mobile workforce in order to properly manage IT budgets.

In addition to areas such as administrative functionality and application security measures, Azure-based SaaS management is needed to ensure licensing compliance and the right spend management for end clients. Leading analyst groups have all noted the amount of financial waste due to unused SaaS licenses and SaaS redundancy.

From a security perspective, each application in use by the workforce represents a possible security threat to the IT department. Back in 2017, a Symantec poll revealed that while CIOs believed the number of apps in use by their organization was no more than 40, the real number was closer to 900. While this reality scales depending on organization size, this is clearly an opportunity for service providers to administer proper Azure-based SaaS management to their clients for effective security measures.

Determining SaaS usage ROI

Determining ROI for any Azure-based SaaS investment is not a simple task. Service providers need to work with their end-user clients to develop an ongoing process that accounts for shifts in users and uses of applications, as well as new technology that will come online in the future.

It is recommended that Service Providers determine SaaS usage through the monitoring of per user billing, per account billing and per transaction billing.

Billing for users: Service providers will be familiar with this method by understanding number of seat licenses. This is determined by monitoring specific users with direct functions, access, permissions, and privileges within any given app or solution.

Individual accounts: In this method, service providers track each license vendor and regularly track logins as a means for usage, however a better method to track ROI calculation might originate with the number of transactions that take place and use for benchmarks.

Per transaction billing: An example here would be the identification of cloud applications that bill based on number of downloads or amount of data used (think of a cell-phone data plan). Certain automated solutions are billed this way, and without the oversight of a trusted service provider, end clients not only rack up significant invoice amounts but can also lack visibility into proper ROI.

There are a handful of items service providers can do to provide proper management of Azure-based SaaS solutions. Service providers should work closely with their clients to establish corporate policies on SaaS application investments of any kind. They should build tools and solutions to unify and oversee their SaaS management. Service providers should also strictly measure utilization for each employee within the organization and establish clear and concise parameters for utilization, which will help with cost controls and compliance initiatives.

Who to partner with for Microsoft Azure SaaS management solutions

As cloud-based hosted software services continue to reshape and expand the principles of modern IT, the future of any hosting services provider depends on the quality of its partnerships. DxC SLMS Hosting offers service providers the best opportunity to build the right portfolio of cloud-based hosted solutions, including Microsoft Azure, that best positions for optimum business growth potential while cutting costs out of the portfolio.

For more information on Microsoft Azure, visit the DxC SPaRC resource community at www.dxcsparc.com/sparccsp.