Three Numbers to Remember: 215, 55, 56

Scary metrics around SaaS Application Investments
An extract of Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

Scary, Shocking Stats In Time For Halloween!

  • 215 (1) is the number of applications the companies under 100 employees use on average that reside in the cloud (e.g. Software as a Service (Saas) or Cloud deployed). This number will be considerably larger for large enterprises and only slightly smaller for the smallest of businesses.
  • 55% (2) of all licenses are infrequently used over a 60-day period, suggesting that companies are substantially over spending on license fees, support services, training and related costs.
  • 56% (3) of all company applications are selected and implemented outside of IT. (your new word of the day is Shadow IT.) In other words most of your applications are managed by those departments who do not have a good handle on IT disciplines such as privacy, compliance, backup and other best practices.

How Are These Metrics Relevant?

It's very easy to stumble into a viper's nest of unexpected investments, legal liabilities and financial exposures. The risk is very real.

No one talks about these metrics, because they highlight so many organizational flaws that companies want to keep hidden. But they are there.

And will be for you if you don't take proper action.


Your technology stack is your best friend. It:

  • Provides a guideline of what applications you’ll use today and, who will need to use them, driving out a cost operation and ROI)
  • Eliminates the unintended overlap or one or more applications that provide the same functionality (think of team messaging tools - do you need Slack AND Teams?)
  • Highlights gaps in functionality so that you can build an investment roadmap. For example, while you may not need a Customer Data Platform (CDP) today, knowing that you need one in a year will help you select those products today that you will make implementation easier.
  • Identifies those areas where you must address topics around information privacy, compliance and operational usage to mitigate technology risk.

In essence, it's worth the time to define, as it will save you money and sleepless nights.

A Fun Fact For Your Next Dinner Party. "What Is Shadow IT?"

Per Cisco

"Shadow IT is the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the IT or security group within the organization. It can encompass cloud services, software, and hardware.

The main area of concern today is the rapid adoption of cloud-based services. The growth of shadow IT has accelerated with the consumerization of information technology. Users have become comfortable downloading and using apps and services from the cloud to assist them in their work."

In my opinion, its a reflection of where IT departments are going - towards being more of an internal consultant and less an operating department. This allows operational departments to get the tools they want, without having to deal with IT budget and resource restrictions. On the other hand, it opens up a whole ugly mess of process, financial and legal exposures.

Stay tuned to see how this works out. Its going to be a bumpy ride!


  1. F5, Inc. "State of Application Delivery"
  2. Productiv, Inc.'s “State of SaaS Sprawl 2021”
  3. Productiv, Inc.'s “State of SaaS Sprawl 2021”