Software as a Service (SaaS) Hell

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For years now there has been a saying in I.T and business that you may have heard of before; “DLL Hell” (re: software development) and “Excel Hell”.

What Is It?

For those who have not heard of these terms before; “Excel Hell” manifests itself due to the simplicity and power of Excel, where anyone within an organisation is able to create an Excel file and start using it for a specific business process. One spreadsheet can very easily and quickly turn into many – all linked and macro-driven in some way or another, dependant on each other. They all then becomes a delicate eco system – if one falls, they all do, and troubleshooting where the problem lies can be frustrating and time consuming. Woe to those who may have lost some key employee(s) who created this interconnected, neural network of files and all of a sudden no one within the organisation knows where or how these spreadsheets work.

Now if you are cringing and thinking “oh god that’s us”… you’re not alone. One of the reasons people engage Ardento is to bring them out of “Excel Hell” and help design and implement off the shelf business management software to bring all that data and process into one centralised spot.

New Trend

A new trend that we are seeing now is “SaaS Hell” – a term that I will go ahead and claim as one being coined by myself (I “Googled” it).

“SaaS” stands for “Software as a Service”. Simply put, that is any website that you can sign up to for a monthly or yearly subscription that performs a specific task. Some examples of SaaS systems are Xero, NetSuite, Insightly, SmartSheet.

With the popularity of cloud computing and payment models all moving to a subscription based setup – without trying too hard, you can find pretty much any SaaS system out there that can do a specific task for typically (and seemingly) a small, recurring subscription fee.

All too often it’s easy to get swept up in the hype of cloud services – and with subscription prices being low, take out the credit card and sign up and begin using it.

Enter “SaaS Hell”

I hope you can start to see where this is going. Just like “Excel Hell”, having your data and departments all using different, disparate cloud systems can in some ways be a lot worse than “Excel Hell”. With Excel, at least you have the data stored locally and when it comes time to get someone like us in to migrate all that data and processes into a centralised spot, we can extract that data out.
SaaS systems on the other hand, is not that easy. Most of the more popular SaaS systems out there have ways to extract data or even an API (application programming interface, used by software developers to connect to the data) to integrate systems – but some have no easy way at all to get the data out.
You can see how your ten “cheap” SaaS subscriptions can turn into a huge liability for your business.


SaaS systems overall are great and help streamline processes and can also make an employee’s day-to-day life in the office more enjoyable. Just be certain that before you sign-up to another subscription you look into the following points:

  • Does it have an API for software developers to connect your other services to it?
  • Does it allow data to be downloaded in a common file format such as CSV, XML or Excel?
  • Try to include all departments in the decision making before adopting a new SaaS system. There may be one SaaS system out there that can accommodate everyone’s needs rather than each department quietly using their own subscriptions. This will bring teams closer together and inadvertently cross skill users simply by having data shared and open between departments.

If you have any questions about this, or are in “Excel” or “SaaS” hell yourself, please call us to discuss.

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