By Parham Negahdar

Rise of the SaaS-mare: What to do in a world with way too many f*cking SaaS tools?

TL;DR: We are building a tool to bring your world of tools together, so you can answer critical business questions and have more sanity in your day-to-day workflow. Check it out here.

We launched CloudSynth with the goal of creating tools that make teams (and individuals) much better at what they do.

It’s certainly an ambitious goal but we knew where to start.

Collectively, our team has spent a large amount of time at startups, mid-sized businesses and large enterprises dealing with the same fundamental issue: people are never able to answer the question, "What is person X doing?".

While this is clearly one of the most critical questions in a business, very few seem equipped to answer it.

Why?

One major reason is the rise of what we call the SaaS-mare, or in laypeople terms "holy smokes we use so many freakin SaaS products and have no idea who is doing what and how to manage all of them."

Why the question is important

Answering the question "What is person X doing?" is important for both managers and employees.

After all 'person X' is usually 'I' and, I deal with this issue almost every day!

When we talk to leaders and members at organizations, it’s clear that this an obvious blind spot.

Try it yourself: how many different apps would you have to open to understand what you or a teammate is working on?

The answer to this question varies significantly by employee type. An infrastructure person might be spending a large percent of their time putting out fires and alerts while an operational or sales person will spend a significant amount of time on Salesforce, Zendesk and in their calendar app.

The worst part of not being able to answer the “what is person X doing” question is the cascade of follow-on questions:

  • Who should be doing what?
  • How fast are we doing things?
  • Who should we assign this to?
  • How are we performing?
  • Are we on track for a goal?
  • What should I say in a stand-up?
  • Is it a good time to bug my teammate?
  • Would it be faster if we reassigned this thing to another person?

This is literally the tip of the iceberg.

Why we can't answer it

The 2010s brought us the rise of the SaaS space and, with it, we developed an appetite for best-in-class tools no matter how hard they fragment our actual workflows.

Everyone has their favorites.

Lets start with issues.

Do you prefer Trello, Github issues, Workday, Monday, Asana, Zenhub, or something else?

Alerting and error handling: Sentry, Pagerduty, Rollbar, Stackdriver?

Calendar: Outlook or Google Calendar?

Continuous Integration: Jenkins, CircleCI, Github Actions, etc?

Pull Requests: Github pulls, Gitlab pulls, Phabricator, Reviewable, etc?

Need more examples? Take a look at some of these marketplaces: Github, Jira, Pagerduty, Slack. They're full of potential best-in-class solutions to problems you might have.

The rise of all these SaaS tools are a wonderful development for the world of (wait for it) development.

We get great tools for problems we have. But with the proliferation of tools, there is an insane amount of fragmentation, tab-shuffling and organizational overhead we call the "SaaS-mare".

CloudSynth Inbox and our future

We have these pains and so do you.

And that is why we built CloudSynth Inbox, to help bring it all together.

We have a wonderful marketplace of tools and we just need the connective tissue to make sense of it all.

There’s no reason for you to use the same suite of products if one of them doesn’t satisfy your needs (e.g. get locked into the Atlassian or Github ecosystem).

Few companies should lock themselves in like that.

We fixed this by creating a suite of integrations that show you all your tools natively in the most loved format for productive folks: inbox zero.

Preview of CloudSynth Inbox dashboard

Yes, you can use every feature you like from the underlying website without having to learn a bunch of new things like: Github milestones? Trello card stacks? Jira Sprints? Jenkins build pipelines?

Keep using the applications and have CloudSynth Inbox just link them together for you so you know what's next, no matter what tool you're on.

We're really excited to launch this beta and get feedback. .

We have a ton of features in the works that should make teams much more productive.

Over the next few blog posts we'll be showing you more of what we are building and how we're trying to make an operating system for the workplace that people will love to use.