19 June 2024

SaaS Cost optimization (Image by Octobits)

Octobits Blog – SaaS cost optimization solutions offer notable advantages such as scalability, easy access, and potential cost reductions.

Commonly known, Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers undeniable advantages like flexibility and ease of use.

Still, as your reliance on these tools grows, it’s easy for costs to slip out of control.

Implementing strategies to manage those costs will make sure you see the best possible return on your SaaS spending.

So, let’s take a close and detailed look at the world of SaaS cost optimization.

Types of SaaS Costs

Understanding how SaaS solutions impact your budget is the first step toward effective cost management.

The most obvious costs are recurring subscription fees, which can be structured in various ways.

You might pay per user, based on how heavily you use the service, or subscribe to different pricing tiers offering varying features and capabilities.

Beyond subscription fees, consider the costs associated with getting your new SaaS tool fully operational.

Implementation costs might include customization to integrate with your existing systems and business processes seamlessly.

Additionally, factor in ongoing operational costs like technical support, maintenance fees, and any potential expenses for updates that keep the software running smoothly.

Employee training is also essential – these costs can vary depending on the software’s complexity.

Don’t forget about potential hidden costs. These might include unexpected expenses like data migration or additional integrations necessary as your use of the SaaS expands.

While these hidden costs may not be apparent at the outset, they can significantly impact the total cost of ownership.

To stay on top of SaaS spending, gaining complete visibility into your software subscriptions and usage patterns is crucial.

Regular reviews will help you spot unused licenses, underutilized features, or subscriptions that could be downgraded.

Taking this proactive approach ensures you’re paying for only what you need and that your SaaS investments align with your business goals.

This strategy promotes financial efficiency and maximizes the overall return on your investment in SaaS technologies.

The Importance of Visibility and Monitoring in Managing SaaS Expenses

When it comes to controlling SaaS costs, the first rule is: you can’t manage what you can’t see.

Having clear visibility into your SaaS landscape and actively monitoring usage patterns is essential to prevent expenses from getting out of control.

Think of this visibility like a detailed map of your SaaS subscriptions – it lets you see where your money is going, identify wasteful spending, and spot places where you might have overlapping tools.

Specialized monitoring tools offer incredible insights into how you’re actually using your SaaS solutions, going well beyond just tracking payments.

These tools can categorize your applications, making it easier to manage. Platforms like Octobits take things a step further – this platform can pinpoint licenses that are barely being used or even identify duplicate subscriptions, giving you actionable information to cut costs.

Additionally, these tools let you track how your licenses are being used so that you can make informed decisions about renewals.

However, SaaS monitoring isn’t only about saving money. By keeping a real-time watch on the performance of your software, you can spot technical hiccups that might slow down operations or frustrate your users.

It’s also important to set up metrics to measure and understand the impact of any SaaS performance problems.

Developing a plan to deal with downtime or errors proactively will make your business more resilient and improve the reliability of the SaaS tools you depend on.

This holistic approach to visibility and monitoring will promote operational efficiency and optimize your SaaS investments’ value and performance.

Common Pitfalls in SaaS Expenditure

Unfortunately, several common mistakes can inflate SaaS costs and lead to wasted resources.

One major problem is shadow IT. This happens when employees sign up for SaaS solutions without going through the proper IT channels.

Not only does this create potential security risks, but it also means subscriptions and spending become scattered and difficult to track.

Without a centralized system to manage your SaaS tools, it’s all too easy for licenses to become forgotten, duplicated, or remain unused even when the employee who requested the tool has moved on.

A hidden danger lies in auto-renewing subscriptions. Many SaaS contracts are designed to renew automatically, which can lead to ongoing payments for tools you no longer need.

Without careful tracking, those renewals and their associated costs can easily fly under the radar.

Additionally, if you don’t negotiate your SaaS contracts strategically, you might not get the best possible prices or the most favorable terms.

This can mean missed opportunities to save money and tailor solutions to fit your company’s specific needs.

And for sure, over-provisioning is a trap many businesses fall into. It’s easy to purchase extra licenses or feature-rich subscriptions based on hopes of future growth or inaccurate assessments of what you actually need.

This leads to paying for unused software, which is a drain on resources. It also makes your entire SaaS operation more complex, adding unnecessary management overhead.

For details, seeDon’t Get Stuck in SaaS Contract Management Nightmares: A Beginner’s Guide for specifics on contract management in SaaS.

How Much does an Average SaaS Cost?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to how much SaaS will cost your business.

The price tag depends on many factors, including how complex the software is, how many employees will use it, and what unique features you’ll need.

For very basic tools, you might find pricing as low as $10 per user each month.

However, if you need a full-featured enterprise solution with high-level security and the ability to scale for growth, the monthly cost could easily be in the thousands.

To illustrate, a typical CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system might average around $60,000 for the initial setup and rollout across your team.

Complex ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, which manage many aspects of your core business, might start around $120,000.

Remember, these are just starting points – costs can increase depending on the level of customization you need, how complex the integration will be with your existing systems, and how much scalability you project your business will require.

A Zylo’s 2023 SaaS Management Index report highlight the scale of SaaS spending for many companies: an average of $50 million is spent on around 291 different apps each year! This underscores the importance of careful planning.

Finally, don’t forget that SaaS providers use different pricing models. Some charge a flat rate for all users, others have tiered pricing based on how much you use the service, and some charge per user.

The pricing model significantly influences what you’ll pay. Take the time to understand your specific needs and carefully consider how each potential SaaS pricing model fits your business goals and budget.

Effective Budget Management for SaaS

Getting the most out of your SaaS spending requires a strategic approach to budgeting. 

A dedicated SaaS budget is your starting point. This gives you a realistic picture of your current expenses and helps guide informed decisions about future needs.

It’s important to build flexibility into this budget, as your business and its priorities are likely to shift over time.

Implement a centralized approval process to ensure that every dollar spent on SaaS aligns with your overall business goals.

This could mean having a designated IT team member, a finance lead, or a department head evaluate all new SaaS requests and renewals.

A centralized approval system helps eliminate unnecessary spending and promotes the adoption of tools that genuinely support your core business objectives.

Don’t underestimate the power of regular audits and reviews. Routinely examine your SaaS subscriptions to uncover any unused licenses, underutilized tools, or opportunities to consolidate subscriptions that perform similar functions.

This proactive approach will help you identify substantial cost savings and streamline your SaaS landscape.

These measures don’t just keep costs in check; they also create a more efficient operation.

By focusing your SaaS investments on tools that directly support your strategic needs, you’ll improve financial management, increase business agility, and position your company for continued growth.

To learn more, read Tame Your Spending: SaaS Renewal Management and Vendor Negotiation for a broader perspective on renewal management.

Optimizing SaaS Subscriptions

To truly optimize your SaaS subscriptions, it’s essential to take a proactive approach that involves regularly reviewing and adjusting your licenses and service tiers to match your business’s evolving needs.

Think of this as fine-tuning your subscriptions to avoid paying for features you’re not using or licenses that have gone unused.

Conduct frequent audits to see where you might have shelfware/under-used tools and ensure employees across your organization are trained and actively using the SaaS tools you provide.

These measures help maximize your return on each SaaS investment and boost overall productivity.

Centralizing the management of your subscriptions is also incredibly beneficial.

This central oversight improves visibility and helps you spot problems like renewals you no longer need.

Also, consider automation and analytics tools to help with tasks like billing and renewal management.

These tools can also provide invaluable insights into usage patterns, allowing you to confidently adjust subscriptions for optimal efficiency.

Negotiating SaaS Contracts

You’ll need in-depth knowledge of how your business currently uses similar software and a clear understanding of your future needs.

Take time to research average pricing in the market to gain realistic expectations about costs and typical contract terms.

When you’re ready to sit at the negotiating table, there are a few strategies to remember.

SaaS vendors often start with a high initial price, hoping to set the tone for the negotiation.

Counteract this anchoring tactic by coming armed with data about fair market pricing.

It’s also important to be clear on the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) – a price range both you and the vendor can realistically agree upon.

Knowing your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), or your walk-away point, will keep you grounded throughout the process.

Beyond the price itself, pay close attention to limitations of liability and service levels.

These define things like data security, response times when problems occur, and expectations for overall performance.

Negotiating these terms carefully protects your business interests and ensures reliable service.

And always be proactive about limiting or even eliminating auto-renewals.

Negotiate clauses that prevent the SaaS provider from automatically raising prices, safeguarding your budget, and putting you in control of your subscription terms.


Remember to learn from the common mistakes others have made – things like “shadow IT” and unchecked auto-renewing subscriptions.

You’ll maximize the return on your SaaS investments by remaining vigilant and continually fine-tuning your subscriptions and licensing to match your ever-changing business needs.

For even greater efficiency and a deeper understanding of your SaaS environment, consider exploring Octobits as a specialized solution.

We offer tools and insights designed to streamline SaaS management, saving both time and money.

Contact us directly for a detailed consultation to see how Octobits can work for your organization.

Yes we will also make your entire SaaS cost optimization run more smoothly and ensure your technology investments are truly propelling your business forward.