Scaling High-Growth IT Through SaaS Ops Automation
Goal: Automate and manage a transparent SaaS ecosystem
Scaling IT and SaaS Ops management, securely.
Blake Morris, SaaS Operations Engineer, started on the help desk team but then quickly saw his team take on more responsibilities as SaaS use escalated, productivity expectations ballooned, and Workiva’s employee count climbed to enterprise levels.
Not only did IT need to recognize this operational change, they had to address both complex and simple issues: license assignment, on-boarding, provisioning, budgeting and ultimately how to simplify overall SaaS application management.
On top of that as a finance and management reporting software with customers typically filing to the SEC, the Workiva team required security and data standards at the highest tier.
Defining the Right Track
What mattered most to leadership was visibility, because every SaaS tool renewal started as a sudden surprise. The reactive rush didn’t leave time for negotiation.
How can you research new trends, competitive landscapes, and enterprise-level advantages when you have just a few days, an unreliable spreadsheet, and a maze of drive files? Blake needed to turn renewal reactivity to a true and informed selection process for managers. He started by gathering requirements across the organization.
First accounting - who struggled to identify SaaS spend, despite it being one of the largest categories. Next security and legal, who needed to be sure that the vendor was secure enough to hold financial data. And finally, Blake’s own team needed automation so their time wasn’t misspent on repeat tasks. At the time, they were spending more than 2 days every month reconciling budgets against each spreadsheet line.
Like most enterprise companies, they turned to the top analyst firms for a recommendation, but the research wasn’t ready yet. With integration as another key requirement, Blake turned to his community of Okta peers, who provided a trustworthy shortlist. Intello quickly rose to the top.
“We used to spend several days every month on line-by-line reporting. Now an API pulls the data overnight. Instead, we focus on gaps in usage and get ahead of adoption”
Blake Morris, SaaS Operations Engineer
Lost in a Spreadsheet
Like many pioneer IT teams, they started to inventory their portfolio in a spreadsheet. Their sheet listed 260 active apps and over 100 that were inactive. The 15+ columns didn’t even include documentation or supporting contract files - NDAs, SLAs, POs, renewal addendums. No one in IT was surprised that it was inaccurate and prone to devastating errors.
Even dedicating time to find a solution wasn’t easy in a 2-person team. “With such a lean team, there’s little bandwidth to slow down even if it means you can then speed up,” explained Blake. “Process change becomes a high stakes game.”
Wasted licenses and app overlaps are gone
No longer spend days each month on manual reports
Secure and Central Source of Truth
The Intello Experience
For Workiva, it was no small matter to connect financial data, so they agreed to a pilot where they monitored operations with mock data. They saw first-hand the strength of Intello’s security.
Now the executive team is prepared for every renewal. They don’t even need to ask IT. Every detail is available - including the number of licenses compared to actual use. Leaders rely on an Intello dashboard to visualize activity in more engaging and intuitive view than a static list.
“Automation was my own top criteria. We used to spend several days every month on line-by-line reporting. Now an API pulls the data overnight,” Blake explains. “Instead, we focus on gaps in usage and get ahead of adoption with training, knowledge base articles, and education.
The ROI on direct savings is clear: license abandonment and system overlaps are gone. When they replace a single tool, they can see the full ecosystem of integrations, and plan accordingly. Every replacement is now exponentially easier and involves fewer risks and errors.
“Intello is able to listen, engage, and deliver. It’s the best you can do from a vendor perspective. It’s high value for the price and their support has been top-notch.”
-- Blake Morris, Workiva's SaaS Operations Engineer
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