Stop software overload: how to mitigate your SaaS

Bloatware, also known as “feature creep”, occurs when successive versions of a program absorb more memory and processing power, slowing down everything without delivering noticeable improvements.

The bloatware problem is bigger than ever, as “useful” software moves from the desktop to the phone, then to the cloud and even to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products. SaaS software is particularly annoying because it was originally sold as a simplified answer to overload. According to Gartner, “by 2023, businesses will spend $ 750 million on unused IT software features.”

The time has come for the tech world to get rid of excess software.

How did it start?

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

In other cases, bloatware comes in the form of pre-installed “trial software”. Anyone who has bought a PC in the past twenty years has been plagued by pop-ups and promotional offers from security software companies and others, inviting users to try their product for a free period of test.

Browser-based computing has resulted in another form of bloatware. They come in the form of additional toolbars and browser extensions that people accidentally download when they just want to explore a website or install a legitimate application. Through the smartphone appeared a whole universe of games, services and informative applications such as weather, which no one requested but scattered valuable space on our small screens.

How are you?

Bloatware has become increasingly prevalent, moving from consumer targets to enterprise targets. Engineers have invented new gimmicks and great new features and that is what justifies adding a new element to a product rather than the innovations that users need. Sellers need new features to show the world that a product is growing and evolving, and thus making it easier to sell the latest version.

Large accounts are asking for special features that are now part of the product everyone uses, and thus paying more for features they may not need, want or use.

Perhaps most surprisingly, large cloud software makers have caught up with the bad habits of old software vendors. In the 1990s and early 2000s, we saw the rise of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf software), otherwise known as “packaged applications”, intended to help companies trying to simplify and standardize their infrastructure. What they got was the opposite.

Instead of addressing the need to streamline efforts, these overloaded applications create more jobs, forcing companies to modify their own processes to accommodate these tools. The pendulum has moved towards SaaS tools, which are more powerful and easier to deploy, but still allow COTS to slip through. Products that were once user-friendly and easy to understand now require large IT departments to operate.

Bloatware, whatever its cause or form, is more than just a nuisance. The value proposition of SaaS is the transition from one proprietary model to another based on usage or consumption. In an attempt to check all the feature boxes, vendors began to pretend they cared about it, causing more distress to IT people who didn’t need additional things, but instead quickly added value to their business.

With this massive software, IT departments waste time configuring or unconfiguring features that should have been configured correctly in the beginning. Complex and difficult to manage software packages and platforms hinder business agility and prevent IT teams from focusing on what they need to do. In addition to integration issues, bloatware clogs networks and consumes processing power.

Bloatware also has a security impact. They can extend the surface of a company’s attack. While it’s obvious that a system that is too complex is harder to defend, increasing the surface of the attack doesn’t simplify things. Not surprisingly, data breaches are already on track to break records this year.

The fact that so many SaaS vendors are guilty of using bloatware is particularly paradoxical for those of us who operate in this space. In fact, the first argument for SaaS is a kind of anti-bloat solution, i.e., simple and easy-to-use tools that significantly reduce a company’s IT costs.

How does it end?

In the business world, a new generation of simplified SaaS products has emerged over the past decade. He tries to help small and medium -sized businesses without IT budgets to deal with bloatware.

To avoid these, application rationalization should be made a frequent and regular strategic IT activity to evaluate all SaaS applications and thus assess whether an application will be retained, removed, or replaced. In fact, SaaS application management should be a key metric for IT, whose goal is to have less.

When launching a new application, another key measure can help fight bloatware. Its use should be monitored or not. If actually used, find out if all features are used. If the application is not used, it must be decommissioned. If not all features are used, they can be replaced.

It’s time to end this training and learn from the past. To meet the overwhelming amount of software, we need to create software that pertains exactly to what users need – SaaS that is easy to customize, well -managed, and flexible to integrate.

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