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The 2020 State of SaaSOps Report

David Politis

October 7, 2020

4 minute read

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In the early part of the year, we watched SaaS power a historic workforce transformation.

In just a matter of weeks, organizations around the world leveraged SaaS platforms to shift employees out of traditional offices and into distributed, mostly home-based work environments.

Up until this point, most companies were adopting a cloud-first approach for their IT infrastructure. But now, that strategy has shifted to cloud only. What happened this year will prove to be the tipping point for SaaS adoption in the enterprise. We haven’t just finally crossed the chasm—we’ve catapulted across it.

But what are the biggest challenges, priorities, and goals when managing SaaS at scale?

To find out, we surveyed nearly 700 IT and security professionals. We’ve been publishing this kind of research for nearly a decade—with past findings appearing in WSJ’s CIO Journal,, Forbes, and more—but this year’s report seems especially relevant.

Here’s what the data uncovered. The path to success with SaaS is turning into a bumpy and unpredictable ride. Ad hoc approaches to SaaS management tasks are breaking down; concerns over cost, security, and lack of control are on the rise.

The good news is that IT organizations are uniting behind a proven solution to their SaaS challenges. SaaSOps, a discipline for discovering, managing, and securing SaaS environments through centralized and automated operations, is helping to reduce friction, improve collaboration, and create better employee experiences.

We hope the 2020 State of SaaSOps report shows you why SaaSOps is such an important part of this story and that it helps you prepare your IT organization for success with it.

David Politis
Founder & CEO, BetterCloud


7 key findings

  1. On average, organizations use 80 SaaS apps today. This is a 5x increase in just three years and a 10x increase since 2015.
  2. The top two motivators for using more SaaS apps are increasing productivity and reducing costs.
  3. Only 49% of IT professionals inspire confidence in their ability to identify and monitor unsanctioned SaaS usage on company networks—yet more than three-quarters (76%) see unsanctioned apps as a security risk.
  4. The top five places where sensitive data lives are: 1. Files stored in cloud storage, 2. Email, 3. Devices, 4. Chat apps, and 5. Password managers. But because SaaS apps have become the system of record, sensitive data inevitably lives everywhere in your SaaS environment.
  5. The top two security concerns are sensitive files shared publicly and former employees retaining data access.
  6. IT teams spend an average of 7.12 hours offboarding a single employee from a company’s SaaS apps.
  7. Thirty percent of respondents already use the term “SaaSOps” in their job title or plan to include it soon.

SaaS usage has exploded

Today, SaaS dominates the business IT landscape—and there’s no going back to the legacy ways of working now.

2020 State of SaaSOps SaaS usage

Everyone wants to realize the full potential of SaaS

In theory, using best-of-breed applications unlocks incredible potential. Employees can work securely, stay productive, collaborate easily, and drive organizational success. According to our report, the top two motivators for using more SaaS apps are:

  1. Increasing productivity
  2. Reducing costs

Everyone wants to reach that “promise land” where they can realize the full potential of SaaS.

But IT organizations face major challenges managing and securing large-scale SaaS environments

In reality, however, SaaS adoption creates costly and complex challenges. As organizations scale up their SaaS environments to manage more apps for more users, these challenges become much harder to solve.

Our research identified three categories of challenges: unsanctioned app usage, an overreliance on tedious, manual tasks, and pervasive data security issues.

2020 State of SaaSOps challenges

IT leaders see SaaSOps as a necessity driven by the challenges of managing SaaS at scale

If there’s one word that describes the state of SaaSOps, it’s momentum.

As organizations struggle with the impacts of app sprawl, surging adoption, and business growth, SaaSOps gives IT a single framework for solving all of these problems. As a result, SaaSOps is evolving into a core IT discipline—influencing strategic priorities, technology investments, and even job titles.

2020 State of SaaSOps statistics

“Enablement of SaaSOps in our environment is critical to the overall success of our company.” — IT Director, healthcare company with 950 employees

These changes will help prepare IT for a future where SaaS shapes and dominates the technology landscape, allowing teams to drive important advantages across every business unit.

Download the full report to learn:

  • The 3 most crucial challenges to solve, according to nearly 700 IT pros
  • SaaS adoption trends based on company age, company size, and length of time using SaaS
  • The tools organizations are using to manage and secure their SaaS environment
  • Why automation has a game-changing impact on SaaS operations
  • How SaaSOps is reshaping IT skill sets, careers, and even job titles
  • And more


For more information on SaaSOps, including webinars, books, and success stories from SaaSOps practitioners, check out

To learn more about how BetterCloud can help you on your SaaSOps journey, request a demo.