How Will Generative AI Impact My SaaS Stack?
Ben Pippenger: Do you ever wonder why is SaaS so hard to manage? What can I do about it? How can I save money on SaaS? Is product bundling a thing? You likely have a ton of questions about SaaS management, but frankly, there aren't a lot of answers out there. I'm Ben Pippenger, your resident SaaS expert, and this is SaaSMe Anything, the show that brings clarity to the chaos of SaaS.
Ben Pippenger: All right. Hello everybody, and welcome to SaaSMe Anything. Today, I am really excited because we're going to be talking about a topic that I think is impacting just about everybody, and that's generative AI and really how you all should be thinking about generative AI as it relates back to your daily jobs around SaaS management. But before we dig in there, I wanted to just put into some context. I think a lot of us have probably already experienced AI in our own personal lives, me included. So my wife and I are planning a vacation here where we're going to be traveling to Nantucket. We've never been there, know nothing about it. So we've been using the internet and Google to do some research to uncover where should we stay, what should we be eating, all those good things. I then turned to Google Bard to also help out. Google Bard, if you don't know, is a chat- based AI model, to try to dig a little bit deeper and help me get some relevant recommendations for what we should be doing, food we should be eating, and activities we should be looking at doing. So it's been really helpful, but actually to the point where I asked it to even book a reservation and it came back and said that it did. I'm not really sure how it did that or if it actually happened or not, but I'll make sure I report back if I've got some restaurants calling me, expecting me to show up. So anyway, I'm sure many of you listening have had similar experiences and have had been able to really see the power of what AI is going to be able to do for us, both professionally and as well personally.
Ben Pippenger: But to take it back to really thinking about us and the professional world and thinking about SaaS management and managing SaaS for your companies, I really want to dig in there on how generative AI is going to be impacting you. And really a couple of key things. Number one, how's it potentially being used today and how you could be using it already to help be more productive or get more tasks done at work. We'll talk a little bit about the risks that are involved with it and then also about potentially even vendors that are already using it today within your existing SaaS stack.
Ben Pippenger: So first, if you are a current Zylo customer, you've already been taking advantage of the AI that we've built into our platform that powers our SaaS discovery. It's something we put into the system really since day one, because we've proven that having a computer identify SaaS purchases is way more efficient and also way more accurate than a manual process to the tune of about two to three X. Not to mention it's pretty tedious work for a person or a team of individuals to comb through a bunch of data to identify one of 20,000, 25,000 different SaaS applications, know what it is, and find it and bring it into your system of record. So it's definitely a big part of what we do here at Zylo today, and we'll continue to grow.
Ben Pippenger: As AI has gone mainstream with ChatGPT and Google Bard, it's really unleashing a ton of new use cases. I surveyed some folks that are in the trenches managing SaaS every day for how they are already using AI to be more productive at their jobs. And here's some of the recommendations that they provided. Number one, use it to help you summarize legal and licensing terms on clickthrough agreements. I'm sure most of us have seen clickthrough agreements. I'm sure a few of us have read clickthrough agreements, and they can be long, they can be tedious. They're full of legal jargon, sometimes hard to understand. So using a GPT based bot to look at those and summarize what's in those to help bring out the key points and things you should be think thinking about, and that's proven to be really help with productivity.
Ben Pippenger: Next would be around comparing two SaaS applications side by side to help with rationalization. So looking at how two apps can compare and contrast if they're complex and have multiple different products or features that they support. It's proven to be really helpful to have a AI based model to look at that and help provide some guidance there as well. Number three is drafting emails that you would be sending to your vendors maybe for a renewal kickoff email, maybe to review legal terms, potentially to talk through negotiation language or even for termination notices. Using an AI based model to give you a draft email that you can then take and customize and send off to your vendors is a starting point.
Ben Pippenger: And then last recommendation here would be if you're looking at a really complex or maybe a large SaaS application that has many different features, maybe many different products they sell or additions of their products, being able to use and leverage an AI model to help, again, summarize what that provider sells, maybe looking at the different pricing, the different versions, the different additions so you can get a better understanding and make sense of what potentially is a very complex go- to- market model or motion for that particular SaaS product. So a couple key things you could be potentially doing today.
Ben Pippenger: So next point would be how you should be or what you should be on the lookout for with your existing SaaS vendors. If the SaaS vendors you are working with haven't put AI in place yet, I can tell you right now it's likely coming. Most every product team that I've talked to or seen, there are new features that are coming out that are using the power of AI. So for instance, Salesforce has already launched Einstein GPT as well as Slack GPT. GitHub has a product called Copilot, which helps engineers complete their code, and they've shown that engineers that are using Copilot, they're 55% more productive than those that aren't. And lastly, Asana just recently announced how AI will help their users build goal- based resource management, help identify roadblocks and bottlenecks, and help build self optimizing workflows.
Ben Pippenger: So really leveraging AI specifically for the key things that their product does to make their end users more productive and be able to use their tools faster and better. It's really going to be wild what we see come out. That said, it's really, really, really important for you to understand the value your SaaS providers are unlocking with AI because if you don't, there is going to be a lot of noise. There's going to be a lot of stuff that just doesn't provide value or maybe isn't relevant to your business. So really making sure you understand what that value is before you start using it.
Ben Pippenger: Last point to make is around the risks. So there are risks score out there with AI. I think you hear a lot of doomsdays out there talking about AI, but we're going to focus on the risks associated with what we all do from a SaaS management perspective. So first is around the spend. You need to make sure that you understand if your SaaS vendors are charging for their AI products and how they are doing that. So for instance, is this a platform fee that you're going to have to start paying for? Is it maybe a consumption model where you could be all of a sudden spending way more than what you budgeted? Is it potentially tied to another feature that maybe is low or moderately adopted that you're going to start to see a spike in adoption for? All things to definitely consider.
Ben Pippenger: You also need to put your compliance and security hat on as you're thinking about AI. So are your SaaS vendors using a third party AI service to power the capabilities within their products? If they are, which one are they using? And is your data being transferred to them? It probably is. Where is your data being transferred to? How is that data being transferred? Is it encrypted? Is that data being kept by that third party forever? All very important questions that you needed to think about as well as your security and privacy teams to think about as you're looking to adopt tools with AI.
Ben Pippenger: So to quickly summarize here, I mean, AI is going to drive a lot of change and it's going to drive change very, very quickly. Like any big change though, we all just need to be ready for it and get ourselves in the best possible position to take advantage of it because it is coming and it's going to impact us in our personal and professional lives. So thinking back to my vacation here, thinking about what we're going to be eating, I've really been thinking about should I start my vacation with a lobster roll or crab cake? And I think I'm just going to go ask my friend Google Bard what I should do. So thanks for listening and we'll catch you next time.
Ben Pippenger: Do you have questions about SaaS and how to manage it? Submit your questions at the link in the show notes and tune in next time for more answers from your trusted source of SaaS management insights and trends. Go ahead, SaaSMe Anything.
The hype about generative AI is huge - but what does it mean for your current software stack? From distilling massive amounts of information to creating content, the potential of generative AI seems limitless. But for professionals who manage an organization’s tech stack it can also present some daunting challenges. In this episode, we break down the three impacts generative AI will have on your software stack.
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- [00:40 - 01:56] Generative AI and AI in our lives already
- [01:58 - 03:07] How generative AI can help you get more tasks done
- [03:07 - 04:58] ChatGPT, Google Bard, and AI use cases
- [03:14 - 05:01] How to use AI to be more productive at work
- [05:04 - 06:02] What you should be looking for in SaaS vendors
- [06:22 - 08:01] Doomsday AI scenarios vs actual risks
SaaSMe Anything is the bi-weekly podcast that brings clarity to the chaos of SaaS, hosted by your resident SaaS expert and Zylo co-founder Ben Pippenger. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn here.