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Opinion Article

SaaS Management Platform (SMP): Gartner’s recommended solution for effectively managing the SaaS ecosystem of large enterprises

Beamy has been recognised as a representative SMP vendor on the latest Gartner® Market Guide for SaaS Management Platforms™️ and both Hype Cycles™️ for Cloud Computing & I&O Digital Workplace Transformation.

This article equips IT leaders of large organisations with invaluable insights from the Gartner® reports to effectively manage and govern the adoption of SaaS applications securely using an SMP (SaaS Management Platform).

As organisations continue to embrace cloud-based approaches, the adoption of SaaS applications continues to surge, leading to both tremendous benefits and challenges.

SaaS remains the largest cloud market segment, with projected end-user spending totalling $197 billion in 2023. Concurrently, employee experience (DEX) will become the primary focus of digital workplace investments. The monitoring and governance of SaaS applications implemented by employees will become a top priority for IT leaders in the coming years. This is why SMPs are featured at the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ in both 2023 Hype Cycle reports. Consequently, leveraging the centralised management capabilities offered by SMPs becomes a crucial approach for discovering, managing, automating, optimising, governing, and enabling the SaaS applications used by employees.

Managing multi-SaaS environments with disparate consoles results in sprawl, lack of control and overspending. SaaS management platforms simplify this process.
Gartner Market Guide 2022

Why SMP is still at the top of Gartner’s hype?

  • The pandemic revealed how well cloud models and SaaS applications assist organisations in addressing unexpected changes, highlighting their adaptability and flexibility. They are a vector for IT modernisation and support digital transformation.

  • The adoption of SaaS continues to surge in large companies, resulting in significant growth in SaaS spending and risk. However, IT managers are struggling to discover and monitor all the applications implemented by the business

  • The proliferation of cyberattacks remains a pressing issue, especially for large organisations more likely to be targeted by hackers. Data has become the new “black gold”, and protecting identity and information within SaaS applications has become one of the top priorities of CIOs.

3 takeaways from Gartner Market Guide™ & Hype Cycles™

How SMPs can help organisations tackle the underestimated growth of SaaS

Many organizations do not fully understand the sprawl of their SaaS portfolio and underestimate the prevalence of shadow SaaS. This results in a lack of awareness around SaaS management needs.
Gartner Market Guide, 2022

SaaS adoption is growing at an astounding rate, with annual spending increasing by 15-20%. On average, organisations spend approximately $1,040 per employee annually. The decentralised nature of SaaS poses a significant problem: IT departments are often only aware of a third of the SaaS applications used within their organisation. This is because employees do not inform them when an application is being implemented and used. This leads to unmanaged costs, unaddressed security vulnerabilities, unprotected identities and data, and a lack of visibility and service management processes. Managing configuration, cost, and usage for a few to hundred SaaS applications using various sources and tools is “intenable”. By using a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) organisations have a unique and central platform helping detect unknown apps while monitoring and governing SaaS used by employees.

SMPs differ from other tools in that they encompass a comprehensive set of capabilities

Gartner distinguishes SMPs from adjacent market tools (SAM, CASB, SSE...) because SMPs offer a complete set of capabilities, whereas adjacent market tools provide only some of the capabilities.
Gartner Market Guide 2022

The 7 SMP capabilities:

  • Discover: Detecting all applications used and costs incurred • Manage: Consolidating within a single platform configuration and policy management of SaaS apps

  • Automate: Enhancing SaaS administration with pre-configured templates and workflows for seamless management.

  • Optimise: Driving optimisation through analysis, knowledge, alerts, and automation.

  • Protect: Safeguarding the organisation’s identities and data within SaaS apps while ensuring SaaS policies and configurations comply with corporate, security and regulatory standards.

  • Govern A core capability that includes reporting, alerting, and measuring SaaS availability, as well as integrations with SaaS apps and other IT tools.

  • Enable: Providing an ‘employee-facing application store’ to simplify SaaS requests to drive SaaS adoption and maximise ROI.

The benefits of SMPs are diverse. They not only provide IT leaders with complete visibility into their SaaS landscape for effective management but also empower business units in their application choices, ultimately maximising ROI by increasing adoption rates and optimizing licensing. Through the introduction of an ‘application store,’ unauthorised SaaS is minimised, allowing approved applications to be shared between employees. Automation reduces the workload on IT teams while enhancing and strengthening collaboration among the teams involved in various stages of the SaaS life cycle.

Some prerequisites for effective SaaS lifecycle management

Through 2027, organisations that fail to achieve centralised visibility and coordinate SaaS lifecycles will spend at least 25% more on SaaS due to incorrect and unnecessary entitlements and a lack of rationalisation of overlapping tools and instances.
Gartner Market Guide 2022

A decentralised SaaS portfolio raises challenges for IT governance teams. A SaaS Management Platform offers comprehensive visibility to all stakeholders by maintaining a centralised inventory of applications throughout their lifecycle. Gartner recommends fostering strong collaboration between IT, procurement, finance, security, and business teams to oversee all phases of the SaaS lifecycle and enhance the return on investment from these applications

As a result, governance teams gain the ability to monitor and manage all applications within the organisation. SMP tools facilitate the dissemination of IT guidelines and best practices to business teams, ensuring clarity regarding which SaaS applications are authorised, unauthorised, tolerated or banned. Additionally, other stakeholders, including procurement and legal teams, contribute by providing crucial information (contracts, compliance, etc.) to effectively assist employees in choosing solutions. This approach reduces the risks associated with the uncontrolled implementation of applications by Business Units, avoiding budget overruns, noncompliance risks, and security vulnerabilities to maximise the return on investment.


The rapid growth of SaaS adoption brings the challenge of managing an increasingly complex array of applications. SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs) offer a comprehensive solution, enabling organisations to discover, manage, automate, optimise, govern, protect, and enable SaaS applications efficiently. Given the dynamic nature of the SaaS landscape and its impact on business functions, the adoption of SMPs will become unavoidable, helping organisations make the most of their SaaS investments while ensuring security and compliance

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