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SaaS enables remote work during COVID-19

In this SaaS news roundup we explore the ways in which COVID-19 is affecting SaaS providers. We look at how it is enabling remote work, why you should be cautious when buying new services, and end with positive news for two players in the SaaS Management market.

SaaS enables remote work

Two weeks ago, if you’d asked most people what Zoom was they would have mentioned camera lenses, or, in the UK at least, an iconic Space-Race inspired rocket-shaped ice lolly. Now, it seems to be everywhere because of the enforced move to remote working for so many. Even my Mum knows what it is!

Image credit: Nestle

Zoom are just one of many SaaS providers to be enabling remote work, with a common theme of making certain premium features free or extending trial periods during the coronavirus pandemic.

The impact on subscriber numbers has already been colossal. Zoom haven’t published figures but Microsoft announced that Teams added 12 million daily users in the week March 12th – 19th – a 37% increase. Microsoft also announced changes designed to improve service uptime and performance due to the increase in numbers. Messaging and collaboration service Slack reports a 20% increase in messages per day, with quarterly net new paid subscribers having more than doubled half way this quarter.

When we emerge from this global crisis will remote working be the new normal? As Rich Gibbons explores in this article, SaaS Discovery is vital in maintaining regulatory compliance both during and after the crisis. With many companies facing financial worries, it is also important to keep track of unplanned and uncontrolled software spending. For many organisations the rush to provide remote working technology will inevitably have meant that the usual procurement negotiations won’t have taken place. This has the potential to lock firms into expensive deals when renewals come up in March 2021.

Caution required

As I’m sure is the case in your company, spending is on hold across the world. Sales pipelines are frozen solid, even at the very latest stages of deals. The stock market has crashed. This will result in liquidity issues for startups. For some, it will mean they will fail. Now, more than ever, it is important to check the financial standing of the suppliers you are doing business with. Will they be around in three months? Where are they in their funding cycle? How critical is the service you’re buying to your organisation? Ask these questions when you’re negotiating a deal. They will be prepared for it, because it will have been asked many times before. Some buyers may treat this as an opportunity to negotiate a better deal but I would argue that the better approach is to partner with your critical suppliers. Explore the options to manage the increased risk and help them through this critical time because, chances are, their service just became a whole lot more important to your organisation.

The good news here is that there are tools available for you to get to grips with SaaS usage across your organisation, including even on the personal devices that may have been pressed into service to meet the demand for remote working. Our SaaS Management Market Report can help you find and select a tool suitable for your needs.

If you’re already using a SaaS Management tool I’d love to hear your views – please consider submitting a review via our Market Place. In a recession there is a strong focus on cost management and the SaaS Management market is looking healthy, as indicated by two recent deals.

Intello & SHI partnership

Intello have joined forces with SHI to provide SaaS Management capabilities to them and their customers. Like all good partnerships this is good news for both sides:

  • Intello get access to SHI’s worldwide reach and customer base, vital for growth as SaaS Management gains pace in larger enterprises.
  • SHI’s ITAM Services team gets access to a broad set of SaaS Management capabilities, thereby adding a pillar to their existing ITAM services such as Audit Defence and ITAM Managed services.

Intello say this is the start of their partnership programme – once again indicating that SaaS Management is moving into a more mature lifecycle stage. It will be interesting to see if other SaaS Management providers set out to build partner programmes in-house or leverage the reach of an experienced VAR such as SHI. You can read more in the press release here.

Cleanshelf secure $8m Series A funding

Cleanshelf, who featured strongly for the Discovery and Cost Management use cases in our SaaS Management Market Report, have successfully completed an $8m Series A funding round with Dawn Capital & LAUNCHub Ventures. Both investors are based in Europe, perhaps reflecting Cleanshelf’s Slovenian roots. They have a track record of investing in Fintech companies and are also experienced in funding SaaS start-ups providing the very services Cleanshelf is designed to manage.

This funding places Cleanshelf in a very strong position with the ability to expand market reach and build new product features; of the start-up SaaS Management providers, only Zylo are further along in the funding lifecycle. It is further evidence of the growing maturity of this category and a recognition that all businesses need to get a grip on their SaaS spending. As noted above, there is a liquidity crisis coming for many startups and I’m sure Cleanshelf are relieved to have got this funding over the line just in time.


About AJ Witt

A former IT Asset Manager, AJ is Industry Analyst for The ITAM Review. He's interested in hearing from end users of ITAM tools and also vendors. He enjoys writing about the SaaS Management market, practical aspects of ITAM operations, and the strategy of major software publishers. You can connect via email ( or LinkedIn. AJ is based in the New Forest where he enjoys cycling, walking, spending time with his family, and keeping chickens

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