Skip to content

The Reinvention of IT: How IT Can Thrive in the Century of SaaS

David Politis

November 3, 2021

7 minute read

CenturyOfSaaS_FeatureImage

If you’d like to watch this keynote session on-demand, click here.

Right now, IT has a massive opportunity. 

As SaaS adoption continues to explode, it’s clear we’ll continue using SaaS for the rest of our careers. In fact, we’ll likely use it for the next hundred years. And as we enter this Century of SaaS, IT is uniquely positioned to become more strategic—leading their companies through this sea change, leveraging SaaS technologies to create value, and creating competitive advantage. 

The role and responsibility of IT is changing as we know it. In fact, we’re currently witnessing a reinvention of IT. 

But this isn’t new.

IT has reinvented itself in the past

If you look at the history of IT, IT reinventions have been happening every 10-20 years. As technology evolves, IT’s priorities and skillsets change over time. Here’s a quick look at the evolution of IT: 

  • Mainframe computing era. Back in the 1960s, IT’s responsibility was all about making sure mainframe computers weren’t overheating, and that they were stored in a physically secure location. It was a very different job than it is today. 
  • Personal computing era. Then we entered the personal computing era in the early 1980s. PCs started proliferating. IT’s wheelhouse began to include productivity software like word processors and spreadsheet tools. 
  • Client/server era. Soon afterwards, the 1980s also saw the rise of the client/server era. Now, with workstations at everyone’s desk, IT had to make sure the internal networks had enough space and weren’t overloaded. Their responsibility was maintaining and updating the software running on the server or workstations.

Then came the enterprise computing and cloud computing eras in the 1990s and 2000s, and ultimately, the present-day enterprise SaaS era.

The enterprise SaaS era is only beginning. It really only started 10-15 years ago, and it’s here to stay for decades to come.

We’re entering the Century of SaaS, and the opportunity for IT is massive

IT’s role has evolved dramatically over the decades. Although IT’s job was once all about managing mainframes, maintaining servers, and fixing broken computers, their job today is wildly different. It’s strategic. It’s about how SaaS applications are used. 

We are in the Century of SaaS. We are going to spend the rest of our careers with SaaS applications in our environments.

And you—the SaaSOps professionals reading this post—are the ones leading us into this new era. 

The opportunity for IT is massive. You are the CIOs of tomorrow, and quite frankly, you can be the CEOs of tomorrow when you understand how SaaS impacts your business and what you can do with that technology.

The new mindset for IT leaders 

In the past six months, I’ve spoken to hundreds of IT leaders to better understand what the future of IT looks like. Without exception, the same strategic initiatives came up in every conversation. To thrive in the Century of SaaS, IT is focusing on these three areas: 

Employee experience: Make users as productive and happy as possible

In today’s job market, employees have their pick of places to work—which makes employee experience more critical than ever. In fact, research shows that companies with great employee experience outperform the S&P Index by 122% and are 21% more profitable than those with low workforce engagement scores. 

Employee experience is an area where IT can make a huge impact. It’s no longer just in HR’s purview. When IT offers the best technology and ensures employees have the right access and data to do their jobs, they unlock new productivity and exceptional employee experience.

What employee experience looks like todayWhat employee experience can look like
Frustrating onboarding experience; waiting weeks for access to appsInstant productivity on day 1, minute 1
Friction while workingAccess to data and files when users need it, without having to wait for IT
Locked into specific application vendors (homogeneous environment) Users pick the SaaS apps they want to use (heterogeneous, best-of-breed environment) 

Zero Trust: Secure data no matter where it lives

When everyone around the world shifted to a remote work model, the security perimeter disappeared. As a result, Zero Trust security has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must have.” Today it’s become even more critical for IT to understand who’s using which apps and which devices, as well as what access people have. 

As people come to trust the SaaS apps they’re using, they store more sensitive data in them, and the risk of data exposure becomes much greater. Looking at data within our product and across thousands of customers, we discovered two striking statistics:

  • The number of files containing PII has spiked a whopping 1944% year over year 
  • More than 200 million files have been shared externally or publicly with personal email addresses

For years, the only way to actually secure your data was to be reactive, especially in the cloud. You had no choice. But today that has changed. Security can look much different:

What security looks like todayWhat security can look like
Out-of-control SaaS sprawlSelf-healing security systems
Security risks introduced by remote workEmployees can safely use any app, any device, anywhere
Reacting to threats after they occurProactively guard against security threats

IT efficiency: Automate to scale and create capacity 

I don’t have to tell you twice: IT is overworked and understaffed. And with the explosion of SaaS adoption and manual work involved to manage it all, it’s hard to spend time on the important things. 

But it is possible. Automation is the key to scaling and creating capacity, so that you can make SaaS administration seamless and actually focus on the fun, creative, strategic work.

What IT looks like todayWhat IT can look like
IT teams are overworked and under-resourced SaaS administration is seamless
Explosion of SaaS is a distractionStrategic projects become the focus
Just trying to “keep the lights on”Teams are happier and work is more rewarding

Don’t settle for the status quo

The biggest takeaway of this article is: Don’t settle for the status quo. 

The future is bright. This is just a glimpse into what it can look like. There are teams, just like yours, who’ve pushed for new processes. They’ve partnered with HR, security, and executive leadership to make change happen. 

If you make sure you’re getting what you need to make the company, employees, and IT successful, you can become the hero (and secret weapon) of your company. 

How do you get there? 

SaaSOps is the IT practice that can get you to that promised land.

This framework helps you support a best-in-breed strategy and harness the potential of SaaS. It’s made up of: 

  • People: the new skillsets and roles needed for the future
  • Processes: applying SaaSOps best practices that set you up for success
  • Products: using the best SaaSOps tools available 

How BetterCloud can support you on your reinvention journey

Reaching that promised land isn’t easy, but we are here to help you learn, grow, and get to that utopia. Here’s how we can support you across the three SaaSOps pillars: 

People

  • SaaSOps Leaders With David Politis Podcast. We launched this podcast earlier this year. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing the most forward-thinking IT leaders from some of the world’s biggest brands—Peloton, GitHub, Coupa, and more. I promise you every single episode has some nugget of information that will help propel your IT career forward. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and SoundCloud.
  • SaaSOps job board. We’ve helped dozens of people find their dream job through our SaaSOps job board. Here you can find employers and candidates who all want to push the envelope and be on the cutting edge of IT. Check out the #job-openings channel in our Slack community.
  • SaaSOps Community. With thousands of members, our SaaSOps Community is the best place to meet like-minded peers, ask questions, and learn from each other. Join the conversation here.

Process

  • Daily Monitor newsletter. We’ve been sending our Monitor newsletter Monday-Friday for over five years. It’s an expertly curated digest of the top tech stories and IT news, and tens of thousands of IT professionals start their day and stay in the know by reading it. Every day you will learn something new, I promise. Subscribe right here.
  • How-to content. No other company has published this much “how-to” and best practices content in the SaaS management space. Check out our library of blog posts, ebooks, and whitepapers here.
  • Workflow Templates. Our prebuilt Workflow Templates bring those best practices right into the BetterCloud platform, so you can have a fully functioning Workflow within minutes. Learn more here.
  • Benchmark reports. For BetterCloud customers, I’m thrilled to announce new benchmark reports within the product. These will help you see how you compare to your peers, understand trends, and show your executive team the work you’re doing. If you’re not a customer, I encourage you to get a free SaaSOps Assessment. It’ll give you a view into your environment so you understand which apps you have, which files are exposed, and where you could be automating more. Get your free assessment here

Product

BetterCloud has been helping IT solve SaaS management challenges for 10 years. We’ve created the best product in the space by a landslide, and I’m really proud of what we’ve built. This is why we come to work everyday: to solve problems you’re facing, to make you look like heroes, to automate tasks so you can focus on strategic work.

BetterCloud ranks first in G2’s fall 2021 SaaS operations management grid

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in IT. SaaSOps is driving a massive reinvention of IT and helping take it to new heights. You have an opportunity that may only come around once in a career—and we want to help you seize that opportunity and make a difference in your companies.

Altitude 2021 is happening (virtually) this week! For more content about IT transformation and taking IT to new heights, register for free right here. Join us for exciting keynote sessions, SaaSOps expert panels, product workshops, and much more.

Sign up for our newsletter