Having a place for everything is crucial in every aspect of our lives.
From the silverware drawer in your kitchen to hanging our sweaters in the closet by color, knowing where everything is makes our lives simpler.
The same can be said when implementing a SaaS system of record to store important details and data in one place for easy access.
What is a SaaS system of record?
A SaaS system of record is the central location that houses data and details regarding SaaS applications within an organization. These details include SaaS spend, utilization, licenses and contracts, ownership, functionality, and more.
Without a centralized system to record and manage all SaaS applications and tools, critical information surrounding the price of each application, who’s using each tool, who’s the owner of each tool, and other details quickly become lost in a spreadsheet. Without this information in one place for everyone to access, it becomes almost impossible to manage SaaS applications without something falling through the cracks.
Just ask companies that had to deal with the fallout of an auto-renewed contract that they never wanted in the first place, or an ex-employee accessing sensitive data because their access to company apps was never turned off when they left.
The core value behind using a system of record is having all of your data in one place, and that place is where you turn to see data you can trust and count on to help you make decisions related to your tech stack.
The foundation of a SaaS management tool like G2 Track is that it’s a system of record you’ll use as a place to go for any questions you may have regarding your cloud systems being used at your organization.
All of your internal applications can be found in G2 Track, as well as who has access to which tool, and which licenses are paid and which are free. It can also support any audits taking place and help maintain ongoing compliance.
Components to a SaaS system of record
Depending on what the system of record your company uses is for, there will be different components and elements that make it worth using. A SaaS system of record will contain specific types of data related to all of your applications.
Application and vendor data
One of the most important components of the SaaS system of record that G2 Track provides is a complete look at all of your application and vendor data.
This provides information surrounding:
What applications are currently and previously being used by your company
The primary contacts or relationship managers for each vendor
Compliance standards for each application
Having this data is crucial to protecting company data from shadow IT while also knowing exactly who to direct questions and concerns to regarding each application. It’ll also make any upcoming compliance audits easy as all of the regulations can be uploaded for each SaaS tool.
Knowing who uses which applications within your company goes further than just if it’s full-time employees on your marketing department or sales team. It can also be your customers, partners, and contractors. Having a SaaS system of record takes a deep dive into all user data.
In addition to who is using each application, it’ll also share data like:
Who makes up the IT user base for your organization
What is each user’s current status? Employed, previously employed, a current customer, a past customer, etc.
User information pertaining to their role, department, location, and manage
Having this information at a glance allows you the opportunity to make adjustments to the seats for each application, know what teams are getting the most out of each application, and if someone who was offboarded from your company still has access to company data.
Making sure that the right employees have proper access to the right SaaS tools is crucial to each team getting their job done as effectively as possible. A SaaS system of record makes sure that the people who have access to tools are the ones who actually need it so no licenses go unused.
As an example, G2 Track answers questions like:
What tools does each employee or IT have access to?
What type of access do they have? Is this access managed through single sign on or with a unique password?
Are the apps in use free or are we paying for them?
What does usage look like for each app?
How frequently are employees logging in and using each application?
What features are most popular within each SaaS tool?
When it’s time to renew a contract, you can use this data to see how much use your team is really getting from an application. You may think that your employees are getting a lot of use of a project management tool, only to see that one person has logged in within the last 30 days. When you go into renewal talks with the vendor, it may be time to consider a tool that your team will find more useful to their day-to-day tasks.
Contract and spend data
Before your organization creates a SaaS budget, it’s in your best interest to take a closer look at your contract and spend data.
To do this, you’ll want to analyze your SaaS system of record to see data like:
Which applications in your tech stack are free and which do you pay for?
Which of these tools run on a monthly subscription?
Who in each department is responsible for each of these contracts and subscriptions?
What are the contract terms for each contract? When do they renew or expire?
How is each contract paid for? Is it through an expense report, company invoice, or business credit card?
What products and services are included in each contract?
How many licenses are available in each contract?
Having this data in one central location allows you to make smarter decisions regarding each of your software contracts, including if it’s in your companies best interest, and budget, to renew.
User sentiment data provides a clear picture of how people within your organization really feel about the software they’re using.
When your business collects user sentiment data, you’re asking employees or team members what software tools are actually worth having, using, and paying for by having them fill out a pulse survey.
The answers to this survey shine light on data, such as:
Which apps do users find to be critical to their work
Which users like and recommend an app, and which users don’t
What do users feel are the pros and cons to each SaaS tool
What alternative applications are users recommending to use instead
G2 Track will collect all of your applications and let you know which ones you should consider eliminating, which you should renegotiate your price, which to replace with something else, and which to keep and potentially expand on.
Benefits of a SaaS system of record
It’s clear that a SaaS system of record can be your single source of truth for a wide variety of data, but what exactly are the benefits of having all this data in a system of record?
For starters, you’re able to run an audit on access for every SaaS application within your tech stack. The system of record makes it easy to figure out users who shouldn’t have access to certain tools anymore, whether they changed roles, are no longer an employee or customer, or if they moved to a different office location.
Additionally, it’s easier than ever to conduct an analysis on usage. Is there an employee that has a seat within a SaaS tool but they don’t need it anymore? This can be because they haven’t logged into the system in months or aren’t engaging with paid features. When this is the case, your SaaS system of record will show you who to revoke access for and who to give it to instead.
When it comes to sending out Pulse Surveys, consider how much data you could collect when asking employees how critical they find specific SaaS applications in getting their job done, and whether or not they even like using them in the first place.
Any SaaS application that is rated as not being critical, or not liked, is something you should consider replacing or canceling altogether. Chances are, there’s a better option out there that your team will actually enjoy using.
If you’re using a SaaS system of record, like G2 Track, that can help you to set up advanced notifications that tie into “notice of non-renewals” dates that many auto-renewing contracts have. With this feature, you’ll have the ability to make more informed decisions and stay up to date regarding any upcoming deadlines. This will give you the chance to notify vendors of your intent to not renew and avoid surprise auto-renewal instances.
Finally, a SaaS system of record can identify shadow IT, as it makes it easy to find all shadow applications that either don’t have a contract, owner, or an employee-expense tied to them. When these apps are unmanaged, they may be bringing unknown compliance risks and data breach opportunities into your organization.
How to make the most of a SaaS system of record
Now that you know what makes up a SaaS system of record and all of the benefits it can bring to your organization, how can you be sure you’re getting the absolute most from your system of record?
First and foremost, it’s vital to the success of your system of record that all of the data you upload into the software is up to date and dependable. The data isn’t useful to be within the system of record if it isn’t accurate.
Did you know? G2 Track offers a Contract Concierge service to enterprise customers, where our team helps to save you time by entering details of your contract for you.
Once all of the data from your contracts and SaaS applications is uploaded within the system of record, make sure to connect all necessary systems, integrations, and software solutions, otherwise the components listed above won’t sync or work well together.
Finally, make sure as many employees as possible are going into the system of record to help manage applications, create a more accurate budget, and get a clear picture of all internal and external users.
Rachael Tauber Principal Enterprise Architect, AppDynamics
A place for everything
When the details regarding all of your SaaS applications are in one central location, keeping track of details surrounding renewal dates, contracts, compliance, vendors, and budgets is easy and hassle-free. With just a few clicks, all of your questions regarding each and every SaaS tool within your tech stack can be answered.
Ready to get your SaaS into gear? Check out everything that a system of record like G2 Track can do for your business with a free demo.
Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's either at the gym, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)
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