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State of

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Welcome to the State of SaaSOps

Since 2012, we’ve been surveying IT professionals and publishing research to better understand what the shift to SaaS means for IT, end users, and organizations. Every year we explore IT’s biggest challenges and concerns, trends in SaaS adoption, and what the future holds—making this the industry’s largest and longest running research of its kind.

This year’s survey of 523 IT and security professionals reveals the latest challenges of managing SaaS at scale, particularly as digital transformation catapulted forward in 2021—and IT kept the momentum going. It also sheds new light on SaaS file security, the state of SaaSOps automation, the workplace of the future, and more.

We’re excited to share the results here. We hope these insights help you evolve your SaaSOps practice and thrive through change. With that, here’s a look at eight key findings from the report.


SaaS adoption continues to explode

In a year like none other, organizations have embraced SaaS faster than ever before. Up from an average of 80 apps last year, this year organizations use 110, for a 38% increase.

This is nearly a 7x increase in SaaS app usage since 2017, and almost a 14x increase since 2015.


More SaaS brings more challenges

More than half of respondents (55%) say the top challenge to solve in their SaaS environment is lack of visibility into user activity and data.

The two next biggest challenges? Knowing all SaaS apps in use and consistently managing app configurations.


The well-meaning but negligent employee poses the biggest data loss threat—by far

When it comes to data loss, the biggest threat is not from hackers or saboteurs. It’s the everyday employee who has good intentions and is just trying to do their job, but may inadvertently expose sensitive information along the way.

Biggest data loss threat
Well-meaning but negligent employees
Malicious employees

In response to the last year, IT’s role is becoming more strategic

This past year, IT’s role has shifted from functional to strategic. They’re solving challenges with SaaS, transforming the employee experience, and becoming trusted business partners—ultimately leading the way to tomorrow’s workplace.

76% report being more or much more strategic over the last 12 months.

“SaaSOps will continue growing within organizations as SaaS becomes the standard, replacing legacy and traditional on-prem applications.”

— VP of IT at manufacturing company with 1,250 employees

SaaS-Powered Workplaces tackle new challenges by allocating resources differently

As the top 15% of the study, SaaS-Powered Workplaces run almost entirely on SaaS, using an average of 212 SaaS apps. It’s clear they allocate resources differently than organizations that rely less on SaaS to power enterprise applications.

SaaS-Powered Workplaces work to eliminate license waste while shifting resources into SaaS operations. As organizations start to rely more on SaaS, there is a clear shift in priorities, budgets, and toolsets.

Consolidate redundant apps to reduce SaaS spend
SaaS-Powered Workplaces
Allocate enough budget to SaaS operations
SaaS-Powered Workplaces
Use a SaaS management platform (SMP)
SaaS-Powered Workplaces

Levels of SaaSOps automation will nearly double in the next three years

SaaS automation will make big gains over the next few years. Right now, SaaS-Powered Workplaces report that 45% of their SaaS operations is automated and estimate it will rise to nearly 80% within the next three years. Even organizations in the early stages of their SaaS journeys expect to make big automation strides as they adopt more SaaS in the future. As SaaS-Powered Workplaces have learned, automating SaaSOps is the only way to scale and create more capacity.

Automation levels
SaaS-Powered Workplaces
In 3 years
SaaS-Powered Workplaces

“SaaSOps is table stakes for the IT department.”

— CIO at software company with 650 employees

“SaaSOps has a permanent future.”

— Senior security engineer at SaaS company with 800 employees

The SaaSOps role is here to stay

60% of respondents already use the term “SaaSOps” in their job title/description or plan to include it in the future—a 100% increase from last year.

In fact, 41% of respondents told us that the future of SaaSOps is “mission critical” or “essential in IT.”


SaaS-Powered Workplaces actively work to improve employee experience

While 75% of all respondents will operate a hybrid workplace in the next 12 months, SaaS-Powered Workplaces are more likely to say they actively improve productivity.

Create a modern digital workplace and improve end user productivity
SaaS-Powered Workplaces