6 Expert Tips for Tracking & Managing Your SaaS Subscriptions

managing saas subscriptions

Software as a service (SaaS) is a pay-as-you-go, cloud-based application model where a third-party provider delivers software applications to end users. Businesses across all industries are becoming increasingly dependent on a wide range of SaaS tools, from workflow automation to communication and cloud services.

As the number of SaaS subscriptions grows, the need for SaaS management also increases. SaaS management involves the licensing, payment, and cancellation of subscription services so that you only pay for what you need.

Follow these expert tips to ensure your SaaS subscription management and tracking operations are seamless.

1. Maintain a Database of All SaaS Subscriptions

Keeping a database of the subscriptions you’re paying for will help you manage them more efficiently. You’ll be able to identify duplicates and unused subscriptions, or find more cost-effective alternatives. You can also use this data to see if you’re still paying for licenses for users who have left the company.

It’s a good idea to create a comprehensive inventory of your SaaS subscriptions. It should include every SaaS subscription your company pays for, with the cost and renewal date for each. You can also include data like department usage, names of license holders, available licenses, product tiers, and product features.

2. Set Calendar Reminders Prior to Renewal Periods

Calendar reminders will help your finance team and software users to decide whether the subscription should be renewed or canceled. It may no longer be necessary if a project has been completed, an employee has left the company, or you’ve decided to use a different tool. You can also use this as an opportunity to negotiate with the vendor or downgrade your plan.

It’s important to implement this task into your SaaS management policy. Ask teams to set a calendar reminder whenever they purchase a new subscription. The reminder should be scheduled for at least a week before the renewal period, so stakeholders have time to meet and discuss the value of the software.

3. Ensure Teams Keep Track of SaaS Subscription Costs

Each department and team should understand the costs of their SaaS subscriptions so they can account for them in their budget. Assigning the responsibility for each subscription cost to the team who utilizes the software will encourage them to really consider its value. The team will be less likely to renew subscriptions they don’t actually need, reducing overall company SaaS spending.

Each department within your company should already have a budget for their operations. They should account for SaaS subscription costs as part of this budget, renewing or canceling subscriptions as needed. Virtual cards are an efficient way to allocate each team’s spending budget, allowing them to easily make and track purchases.

4. Develop an Advanced Policy for Major Investment Licenses

Some SaaS software licenses have a high price tag that may be out of a team’s budget. On top of that, a major investment could create significant cash flow issues, especially for a small business.

Suppose the marketing team wants to automate its campaigns. The SaaS software solution they choose could cost the company hundreds to thousands of dollars per month, with required annual contracts that lock you in for the entire year. These kinds of major investments should always go through an approval process.

Write a short policy detailing the approval process for licenses that cost more than a certain amount or those with annual contracts. It should describe the steps teams should take to request approval, like consulting the procurement team and submitting the request to the finance team.

5. Conduct Annual Reviews of Existing Subscriptions

Reviewing existing subscriptions each year will allow you to update your SaaS software database with new pricing, features, and users. An annual review might alert you to new alternatives, or opportunities to consolidate subscriptions and negotiate with vendors to reduce costs.

At least once per year, set a meeting with the various stakeholders—finance, procurement, users, etc.—to review current SaaS subscriptions and discuss options moving forward. Use this time to identify underused subscriptions or any that could be up for negotiation with the vendor.

6. Consider Automated Solutions to Streamline Operations

Automated solutions eliminate the need to track and control SaaS spending manually via spreadsheets and calendar reminders, streamlining the SaaS subscription management process. Some automated solutions also provide insights into potential cost-saving opportunities, like unused licenses or cheaper alternatives.

You can integrate your SaaS software with your SaaS management platform to create your subscription database. Consider an automated SaaS management platform that also serves as expense management software. This will allow you to manage your company’s SaaS subscription policies and team budgets in one place.

The Verdict

There are all kinds of guidelines to follow when it comes to optimizing SaaS subscription management, but the tips above are a great place to start. Whether you already have a SaaS management tool in place, or manage your subscriptions manually, it’s important to keep a close eye on SaaS expenses and licenses, so you can make the most of your budget and ensure that you’re only paying for the licenses you need.

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