SaaSOps: the next step in the evolution of Software as a Service

Software as a Service (SaaS) combined with automated operations (Ops) can provide a powerful combination called SaaSOps. Discover what benefits this hybrid can offer your organization.

Image: ipopba, Getty Images / iStockphoto

Software as a Service (SaaS), a cloud computing model in which companies offer on-demand applications via the Internet, has been a popular technology for more than 10 years. This platform eliminates the need to install on-site or “thick clients” on local systems, facilitating business operations and freeing up technology professionals for more extensive efforts.

SEE: Tips for building a successful career as a software engineer (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The operational (Ops) operational model, with which operational efforts are made by automating processes for better reliability and efficiency, has also laid a solid foundation among companies to help achieve the results to be delivered more effectively.

What if the two were combined for more efficiency and interoperable coordination? It is a process that is ongoing and it offers new opportunities.

I discussed the topic with David Politis, CEO and founder of BetterCloud, a supplier of SaasOps solutions.

Scott Matteson: There is a buzz in the IT community around a new movement called SaaSOps. Can you tell me something about what that means and how it came about?

David Politis: SaaSOps is a practice that refers to how Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are managed and secured through centralized and automated operations (Ops), resulting in reduced friction, improved collaboration and better employee experience.

SaaSOps is a result of the explosion of SaaS in the company. The term is new, but the concept has been gaining momentum for some time. You may have heard that it is called everything from digital workplace operations to IT operations, SaaS administration, cloud office management and computer use by end users, to name just a few.

SEE: The best Software as a Service (SaaS) companies of the decade 2010 (TechRepublic)

But in the end the core is the same. SaaSOps is a set of disciplines – all the new responsibilities, processes, technologies and people you need to make your organization work successfully through SaaS.

Scott Matteson: Neither SaaS nor Ops is necessarily a new phenomenon. Why is this movement happening now?

David Politis: Well, for example, we have reached a turning point with SaaS, which is now a general registration system for many organizations. But let’s face it, the increasing popularity of SaaS also means that management challenges are also growing rapidly. It has done wonders for employee productivity, but IT workloads – a growing mountain of repetitive, manual work – have become unmanageable.

I believe that emerging SaaSOps roles are illustrative of the industry’s growing need for effective SaaS management. Companies are responding to this demand by hiring IT staff who can only focus on managing SaaSOps, which is now a larger part of IT activities.

That means IT must scale its team to manage multiple SaaS apps (or find another way to manage them), and IT’s daily responsibilities, skills, and functions are expanded.

Scott Matteson: I heard you had your first SaaSOps event last month? How would you describe the role of BetterCloud in the SaaSOps movement?

David Politis: I would say that our role has been considerable. We defined SaaSOps for the first time ever on stage during the very first event for SaaSOps professionals, Altitude 2019.

I also announced the second edition of my book, The IT Leader’s Guide to SaaSOps – Vol. 2: How to protect your SaaS applications. It seems to have been well received, because we even had people add SaaSOps to their titles during and after the conference!

We also had our inaugural SaaSOps Stars Awards to recognize outstanding IT and SaaSOps practitioners. Winners were 10 people and teams who, through their SaaSOps practice, helped their companies secure their businesses through SaaS.

During the same event, we introduced our new Integration Center, a centralized exchange to discover, install, and configure BetterCloud integrations. We have also revealed no fewer than 32 new integrations to support SaaS apps such as Zoom, Atlassian, DocuSign, GitHub, OneLogin, PagerDuty, AWS, Tableau, Duo, Splunk, Datadog and more. In total we now support more than 450 promotions in 41 integrations.

Scott Matteson: What career opportunities does SaaSOps create for starting IT professionals?

David Politis: If you quickly search for a “SaaS Operations task” on Google, you will get 6.86 million hits – not an insignificant number. We are starting to see new IT roles every day. More and more of our customers are telling us that they are creating SaaSOps positions and looking for SaaSOps engineers, SaaS operations managers, SaaS system administrators and SaaS administrators, among others.

The vacancy of our client Spotify for SaaSOps engineer is a good example. The demand for those positions is an important part of what the aforementioned buzz creates and it offers exciting opportunities for starting IT professionals.

An interesting common thread that came through at Altitude was the fact that the new IT manager becomes a business engineer. It is the evolution of IT from purely technical support to a seamless user experience. It is a new way of thinking about the role of IT and the care for our customers through technology.

Scott Matteson: What influence does SaaSOps have on companies?

David Politis: SaaSOps finally unlocks the potential that SaaS can have for every organization: increased productivity, better collaboration and a happier workforce. In a world where SaaSOps is widely used – which I predict will happen in the next 3 to 5 years – users can achieve optimum levels of productivity through SaaS and IT can effectively manage the proliferation of these best-in-breed applications .

When companies start their SaaS journey, acceptance is low. Employees may have become deceptive and use the applications independently (shadow IT), or you may have implemented your first app for a limited number of users. Over time, however, the number of apps, users and data in your environment is growing exponentially. That is when it is crucial for companies to embrace that SaaS is the better way of working. This is where the acceptance of SaaS really starts and both employees and IT begin to reap the benefits. It is SaaS nirvana.

Scott Matteson: What advice would you have for an IT professional who comes to work at SaaSOps today?

David Politis: Share knowledge and work together as much as possible between departments. A common theme that we heard at Altitude is knowing how to work with other departments and forming alliances. Understanding others’ workflows makes it easier for you to get a budget for tools, demonstrate credibility, and break out of your IT silo. IT knows all compliance requirements, so that they can see how new tools can help.

For example, if you want to build a robust offboarding policy in BetterCloud, you need legal, HR, etc. input. The more complex your SaaSOps environment becomes, the more you’ll need to collaborate with other departments.

Scott Matteson: Which parallels do you see between SaaSOps and DevOps?

David Politis: The need to respond faster, to build better customer-focused applications, to transform the customer experience, has created the DevOps movement, a cultural shift that has enabled teams to work together in the traditional way – developers and IT operators. fast delivery of new applications and functions and achieve unprecedented levels of innovation.

We have since seen many spin-offs – SecOps, DevSecOps, RevOps – aimed at bridging the gap between different teams within an organization to create greater efficiency.

We have now reached a new node that is aimed at internal consumers (i.e. employees). These individuals have reached new levels of freedom, productivity, and collaboration through mobile and apps such as G Suite, Slack, Salesforce, and are willing to protect that employee experience at all costs. And without a genuine understanding of the security implications of using corporate data or assets in the cloud, they often go wrong and open themselves to leaks or breaches.

This has given rise to SaaSOps, a move led by IT to tailor the agility and productivity of SaaS acceptance to the company, while minimizing the headaches and risks of their counterparts.

Scott Matteson: What do you think the SaaSOps movement will look like in 5-10 years?

David Politis: DevOps first appeared in 2009. Fast forward 10 years and it has become an established practice in every company. We believe that the same will happen with SaaSOps. It even has the potential to become even bigger, because SaaS affects every employee in every company in the world. Over time, regular procedures will find their way to all IT departments. IT leaders and CIOs will have entire SaaSOps divisions and many of the frictions companies are experiencing today have virtually disappeared. It is exciting to think about.

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