Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is changing the way companies manage their IT needs for the better; each time a business requires a piece of software to do a job, it simply plugs into the tool in the cloud, paying for what it needs when it needs it. However, there is a problem: the rapid growth of SaaS solutions is making it ever harder for businesses’ IT departments to manage their software footprints, putting them at risk of inefficiency and, even worse, new security vulnerabilities.
Enter SaaS management platform Zluri, which today announced the successful completion of a $10 million Series A funding round. Its mission is to put businesses back in control of their software as their use of SaaS continues to grow.
“Zluri grew out of our experience running another fast-growing business,” explains Ritish Puttaparthi, who co-founded the company with Sethu Meenakshisundaram and Chaithanya Yembari in 2020. “We realised technology was our second biggest area of spending after people, but when we tried to look at where the money was going, we found it very difficult to track.”
The problem was that functions across the business had been adding SaaS subscriptions as and when they needed them. The firm’s IT department had an Excel spreadsheet with at least some details of around 70 SaaS tools the company was paying for, but when Puttaparthi and his colleagues did a manual audit, they found the firm actually had in excess of 200 such applications. And in many cases, the business had signed up for many more user licenses than it actually needed.
Talking to their counterparts in other small and medium-sized enterprises, the founders quickly realised they were far from alone in finding it difficult to keep track of their SaaS subscriptions. And with companies worldwide expected to increase spending on SaaS by almost 20% a year according to market research group Gartner, the problem is only set to get worse.
Zluri’s founders believe there is a growing need for SaaS management tools
“We were a relatively small company and even we were struggling to manage our SaaS usage,” says Puttaparthi. “For larger businesses, the problem was bound to be bigger.” Indeed, by some estimates, the typical medium-sized business now has more than 1,000 SaaS subscriptions in place.
Zluri promises to resolve the issues that such businesses face through a suite of different tools and services. First, its platform offers precious visibility – via a library of direct integrations and its application discovery engine, it enables a business to maintain a complete directory of all of its SaaS licenses. For the first time, the IT department can, in one place, see exactly which SaaS products are in use across the entire business.
In addition, Zluri offers management and optimisation tools. The platform gives details of when renewals are due, for example, but also provides detail such as how many staff are using a particular SaaS tool so that the company doesn’t pay for unnecessary user licenses.
A third range of tools is focused on security. One potential downside to SaaS is that companies – and individual employees – often give permissions and access to software providers without thinking carefully about the potential implications for cyber security and data privacy. Zluri’s platform therefore enables the IT department to manage access across the business’s SaaS applications.
Finally, Zluri is also able to offer a growing number of business automation tools, particularly as IT works with other functions across the company. When a member of staff leaves, for example, IT has to work with human resources to remove them from software licenses and to disable their access credentials. Doing that across several hundred SaaS applications can be hugely time-consuming, so Zluri’s platform provides an automated service to cut out the manual work.
“This is all about managing the way in which companies now use technology,” Puttaparthi adds. “SaaS is flexible and easy to deploy, but with those huge advantages come certain issues that need to be managed.” At their former business, he adds, the co-founders looked for third party services to help them do that and found the market so lacking that they saw the opportunity to launch Zluri.
Customers seem to agree. Last year saw Zluri’s revenues grow 100% month on month, with the business picking up more than 100 new customers from 18 countries worldwide. Zluri largely targets medium-sized businesses, though Puttaparthi says enterprise customers are increasingly interested too.
Such growth has also attracted investors. Zluri raised $2 million of seed funding in January 2021 from Endiya Partners and Kalaari Capital. Both these investors also took part in the Series A round, which is led by MassMutual Ventures. “SaaS adoption has grown exponentially amidst enterprise digitalization in the post-pandemic world, creating a huge opportunity for SaaS management players,” argues MassMutual’s managing director Anvesh Ramineni.
Zluri will deploy the capital raised in two areas. The company is keen to recruit new engineers as it attempts to leverage the data it has access to within customers’ operations in order to launch new tools and services. It has also spent relatively little to date on marketing and sales, so investment here has the potential to drive further expansion.
Source by www.forbes.com