Technology

Stop Software Overload: How to Lighten Your SaaS

Bloated software, also known as “feature sprawl”, occurs when successive versions of a program take up more and more memory and processing power, slowing everything down with no measurable improvement.

The virus problem is bigger than ever as “useful” software has migrated from desktops to phones, then to the cloud, and even to SaaS (software as a service) products. SaaS software is particularly annoying because it was originally marketed as a simplistic answer to congestion. According to Gartner, “By 2023, enterprises will overspend $750 million on unused IT software features.”

It’s time for the tech world to move away from unnecessary software.

How did it start?

In its early days, malware was limited to the frills that software companies added to their products to keep users interested. But the second type of malware also imposed itself in the PC era: it was software pre-installed on the machine because it represented an additional source of income for PC manufacturers.

In other cases, the malware was pre-installed “trial software”. Anyone who has purchased a PC in the last twenty years has experienced pop-ups and promotional offers from software security companies and others inviting users to try their product for a free trial period.

Browser-based computing has given birth to another form of viruses. They come in the form of extra toolbars and browser extensions that people unknowingly download when they just want to explore a website or install a legitimate app. Along with the smartphone came a whole universe of games, services, and informative apps like the weather forecast that no one asked about but cluttered up precious space on our small screens.

How are you ?

Bloatware is becoming more and more rampant, moving from consumer to enterprise targets. Engineers invent new tricks and great new features, and that’s what justifies adding a new element to a product, not the innovation that users want. Sellers need new features to show the world that the product is growing and improving, and thus it’s easier to sell the latest version.

Large accounts require specialized features that are now part of a product that everyone uses, and so they pay more for features they may not need, want or don’t use.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the big cloud software vendors have adopted the bad habits of the old software vendors. In the 1990s and early 2000s, we saw the rise of COTS (commercial off the shelf software), also known as “bundled applications”, which were intended to help companies trying to simplify and standardize their infrastructure. What they got was the opposite.

Instead of solving the problem of effort optimization, these overloaded applications have created more work, forcing companies to modify their own processes to accommodate these tools. The pendulum has shifted towards SaaS tools that are more powerful and easier to deploy, while still allowing COTS to be implemented. Products that were once user-friendly and intuitive now require large IT departments to run.

Bloated software, whatever its cause or form, is more than just a nuisance. The value proposition of SaaS was to move from an ownership model to one based on usage or consumption. In an attempt to install all the functionality, vendors began to pretend that they cared about it, causing even more anxiety among IT professionals who did not need additional frills, but rather a quick addition of value to their business.

With this cumbersome software, IT departments spend time tweaking or removing features that should have been set up correctly from the start. These complex and difficult-to-manage software packages and platforms reduce business agility and prevent IT professionals from focusing on what they need to do. In addition to integration issues, malware clogs networks and consumes processing power.

Bloatware also affects security. They can expand a company’s attack surface. While it is clear that an overly complex system is even more difficult to defend, increasing the attack surface does not make things easier. Unsurprisingly, the data breach is already on its way to breaking records this year.

The fact that so many SaaS vendors are guilty of using viruses is especially ironic for those of us in the industry. Indeed, the original argument for SaaS was a sort of anti-bloat solution, i.e. simple and easy-to-use tools that significantly reduced the company’s IT costs.

How to end it?

In the corporate world, a new generation of simplified SaaS products has emerged over the past decade. She tries to help small and medium enterprises that do not have the IT budget to fight viruses.

To avoid them, IT must make application rationalization a frequent and regular strategic activity to review all SaaS applications and thus evaluate whether to keep, remove or replace an application. In fact, SaaS application management should be a key metric for IT, and the goal is to have fewer of them.

When launching a new application, another key measure can help fight malware. Its use should be controlled or not. If they are indeed used, determine if all functions are used. If the application is not in use, it must be decommissioned. If not all functions are used, it can be replaced.

It is time to put an end to this practice and learn from the past. To solve the problem of software overabundance, we need to create software that meets the very essence of user needs – SaaS, which is easy to set up, manage efficiently and integrate flexibly.

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