For organizations aiming to optimize their SaaS procurement process, the age-old question remains: should you focus on cost avoidance or cost savings? While both strategies aim to reduce expenses, they differ significantly in their approach and impact on your bottom line.

Cost avoidance, often overlooked in favor of its more glamorous cousin, cost savings, is a powerful yet underutilized strategy that can help organizations maintain a lean and agile SaaS stack. However, implementing a successful cost avoidance strategy is no walk in the park. From conducting data-based renewals to leveraging sentiment analysis, there are a multitude of tactics you can employ to effectively avoid procurement costs.

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at the benefits of cost avoidance and explore practical strategies for optimizing your SaaS procurement process. 

What is Cost Avoidance?

When you're managing SaaS procurement for your organization, cost avoidance is a strategic approach that helps you proactively identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses before they occur. To do this effectively, you need to dive deep into your current SaaS ecosystem, understand your future requirements, and stay on top of market trends.


  • Cost avoidance helps you catch potential expenses before they hit your budget. Maintains   
  • By avoiding overbuying and redundancy, cost avoidance helps you maintain a lean and agile SaaS stack
  • By proactively avoiding your SaaS costs, you reduce the likelihood of unexpected expenses that can lead to budget overruns and financial strain


  • An overly stringent cost avoidance approach could cause you to miss out on new tools or that could benefit your organization, if not evaluated properly
  • Unlike cost savings, which are easy to measure, the benefits of cost avoidance can be harder to quantify, as they represent costs that were never incurred
  • Depends on accurate data and forecasting. If inaccurate, your cost avoidance efforts may be less effective

Related Reading: What is SaaS Cost Management? - A Complete Guide

Why is Cost Avoidance Not Cost Savings? 

While cost avoidance and cost savings are both strategies for optimizing SaaS expenses, they differ in their approach and timing. 

— Cost avoidance is about preventing unnecessary costs before they occur, while cost savings focuses on reducing existing expenses. Cost avoidance is proactive, targeting potential cost drivers and eliminating them before they impact the budget. Also cost avoidance benefits are often harder to quantify, as they represent costs that were never incurred. 

—In contrast, cost savings is reactive, identifying areas of overspending or inefficiency in the current SaaS stack and implementing measures to reduce those costs. Cost savings can be easily measured by comparing previous and current expenses. 

Related Reading: Cost savings guide for the downturn CFO

Benefits of Cost Avoidance

Proactive spend management

When you focus on cost avoidance, you're taking a proactive stance on avoiding SaaS sprawl. Instead of waiting until costs have already piled up, you're strategically planning ahead to minimize unnecessary expenses. This means you're not just putting out fires – you're preventing them from starting in the first place. And that can make a huge difference in your overall spend management.

Data-driven investment decisions

Another great thing about cost avoidance is that it empowers you to make data-driven decisions about your SaaS investments. By setting clear criteria for evaluating new tools and requiring stakeholders to justify their requests, you're ensuring that every app in your stack has a clear purpose and ROI. 

Effective vendor management

Cost avoidance also goes hand-in-hand with effective vendor management. By building strong relationships with your suppliers and staying on top of market trends, you can often identify opportunities to avoid costs before they happen. For example, you might negotiate a multi-year contract with a vendor to lock in favorable rates, or you might work with them to create a custom package that exactly meets your needs. 

Risk mitigation

Cost avoidance is a key component of risk management. By maintaining a lean and purposeful SaaS stack, you're minimizing the chances of underutilization, redundancy, or wasted spend. And by having a clear process in place for evaluating SaaS agreements and approving new tools, you're reducing the risk of shadow IT and ensuring that every app meets your security and compliance standards.

How to Effectively Avoid Procurement Costs

To effectively avoid procurement costs in your SaaS ecosystem, you need to take a proactive, data-driven approach. Let's break down the key strategies you can use to avoid unnecessary expenses and optimize your SaaS stack.

1. Data-based renewals:

When it comes time to renew a SaaS contract, don't just sign on the dotted line. Instead, gather and analyze detailed usage data to determine whether the tool is still providing value to your organization. 

Look at metrics like user adoption, feature utilization, and business impact to assess whether the tool is worth keeping.

For example, if you find that only a small percentage of your team is actively using a particular tool, or that the features they're using can be easily replaced by another tool in your stack, it may be time to consider non-renewal. By basing your renewal decisions on hard data rather than assumptions or habits, you can avoid paying for tools that are no longer delivering a strong ROI.

2. Understand license requirements:

One of the most common ways organizations overspend on SaaS is by purchasing more licenses than they actually need. To avoid this pitfall, you need to develop a deep understanding of your organization's license requirements for each tool in your stack.

Start by auditing your current license usage and identifying any areas of over-provisioning. 

— Are there users who have been assigned licenses but aren't actively using the tool? 

— Are there opportunities to consolidate or reassign licenses based on changing roles or responsibilities?

Next, work with your team leads and department heads to forecast your future license needs based on factors like headcount growth, project pipelines, and strategic initiatives.

3. Sentiment analysis:

While usage data is important, it doesn't always tell the full story. 

To get a complete picture of how your SaaS tools are performing, you also need to understand how your users feel about them. This is where sentiment analysis comes in.

Use surveys, feedback forms, and user interviews to gather qualitative data about your team's experience with each tool.

Ask questions like:

- How satisfied are you with the tool's features and functionality?

- How easy is the tool to use and integrate with your workflow?

- What pain points or frustrations do you experience with the tool?

- How critical is the tool to your day-to-day work?

This insight can help you make more strategic decisions about which tools to keep, replace, or retire.

4. Renew/Retrain/Replace/Retire:

Finally, to effectively avoid procurement costs, you need a structured process for evaluating and optimizing your SaaS stack on an ongoing basis. 

One framework you can use is the Renew/Retrain/Replace/Retire model.

Here's how it works:

Renew: If a tool is delivering strong value and aligning with your organization's needs, renew your contract and continue using it.

Retrain: If a tool is underperforming but has the potential to deliver value, invest in retraining your users to ensure they're using it effectively.

Replace: If a tool is no longer meeting your needs or providing a strong ROI, consider replacing it with a better-fit alternative.

Retire: If a tool is redundant, outdated, or no longer necessary, retire it from your stack to avoid unnecessary expenses.

💡PRO TIP: Find out your team’s favorite SaaS tools with Spendflo’s Sentiment Hub. Run periodic surveys to gauge employee sentiment. Measure your ROI on SaaS tools, engage in data-backed renewal negotiations, and make the best decisions that help save on SaaS and extend your budget.

Avoid SaaS costs by renewing software critical for your teams

Try Sentiment Hub Now!

How Spendflo Helps Effectively Avoid Procurement Costs

Implementing effective cost avoidance strategies for your SaaS ecosystem can be a daunting task when done in-house. Many organizations struggle with:

- Lack of visibility into their SaaS ecosystem and usage patterns

- Difficulty gathering and analyzing user sentiment data

- Inconsistent or manual processes for renewals and license management

- Insufficient data to support negotiations with vendors

- Challenges enforcing governance policies and preventing shadow IT

These pitfalls can lead to missed opportunities for cost savings, overspending on underutilized tools, and a bloated, inefficient SaaS stack. 

That's where Spendflo comes in. 

Spendflo is a purpose-built SaaS management platform that uses automated discovery and detailed usage analytics to gain complete visibility into your SaaS ecosystem, making it easy to identify opportunities for optimization and cost savings. The Sentiment Hub feature allows you to easily gather and analyze user feedback, giving you a holistic view of how each tool is performing and impacting your team.

So why struggle with cost avoidance on your own? 

Let Spendflo help you take control of your SaaS ecosystem and drive your business forward.

Book A FREE Demo Now!

Ajay Ramamoorthy
Senior Content Marketer
Karthikeyan Manivannan
Head of Visual Design
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