Recently, we worked with a mid-sized enterprise client to do an inventory of their Cloud services across the organisation. They had operations in two States and one Province and gone through several changes in senior management in sales, marketing and operations. An astute CFO noticed a lot of regular monthly payments. All together, they were paying over $1.2Million a year to various S-a-aS or Cloud services companies. We helped them cut that down to $225,000. Surprisingly, this is not unusual.
What Causes Cloud Services To Get So Messy?
During our inventories with clients, we find these issues repeatedly. Usually it is the result of changes in senior and middle management, various consulting firms coming and going and services being bought for a project and then not turned off.
The majority of these Cloud services are in the MarTech and SalesTech stack. Increasingly however, some may end up in HR or administrative teams. Some examples we’ve seen like this are Coggle or MindMup for mind mapping or Prezi for presentations. There thousands upon thousands of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) tools out in the Cloud today and many of them target departments directly since IT rarely if ever, has to get involved, or so they tell you. As consultants, advisors and employees come and go and these tools can easily fit within most departmental budgets and on a corporate card, they can quickly add up.
The Upside and Downside of SaaS or Cloud Services
The upside is that they’re all very good tools for various jobs. They’re often fast and easy to implement and deliver results, by improving workflows and productivity or helping land deals. They’re also quite cost effective.
The downside is that they are cost effective, so they can add up very quickly. Quite often, there is usually one person on the team that becomes the expert in that particular tool. When they leave or priorities change and a new tool is brought on, they can easily be forgotten while you end up continuing to pay for them.
There Is A Security Risk
Another downside is the risk to the company when they are forgotten and sometimes even just signing up and not advising IT. A good IT department will rarely object to a Cloud based service or product. What their concern is usually relates to security; of access to corporate networks, risking breaches and loss of Intellectual Property. An additional risk in abandoning a product is the data left on the service if it is not deleted or both deleted and exported back into the company.
The Value of An Independent Inventory
While it can be tempting to assign someone internally, often these resources have a primary job function and may already be at capacity. Thus it can take longer and a junior person can struggle to get information out of other departments. Time, as is said, is money. And the risk of data loss and breaches. We’ve seen it happen.
The end result of a Cloud Services Inventory should be a clear understanding of what you need, what your paying for, what you don’t need and what you can save. Such inventories can often be done remotely although sometimes they require some on-site time depending on the scale and size of the company.
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