How & Why we Got Started

We’re introducing a new series on the SaasWatch blog. Many of our customers have asked us what made us think of the problem we are solving.

In thinking it through the requests among ourselves, the how and more importantly the why part of the reason that prompted us to start working on SaasWatch, will be valuable to help our customers understand our motivation and value we promise to bring to them.

We hope you enjoy it. Please give us your feedback and keep us honest!

Now, every company has an origin story and ours doesn’t diverge too much from the standard narrative…
SO, maybe we didn’t start in a garage or in silicon valley for that matter.

It all started back when I was working in procurement for a multi-billion dollar major pharmaceutical company. There, I was leading IT sourcing for a division of this company, and had been on the job for a little over one year. For me, understanding how both IT and procurement worked in such a big company took a long time to figure out. As you may know, navigating a big company can be really challenging (mine at the time had ~60,000 employees, so definitely not small!). After a year on the job I was starting to get a pretty good handle on things, or so I thought.

One particular day I received a call from a sales rep from a major cloud file-sharing app; one that is really popular and you’ve probably heard of (rhymes with crop fox). Now this is normal and not a big deal. Working in procurement I get cold calls from salespeople all the time. Sometimes I’d answer and listen, other times I didn’t; depending on what they were offering and what else I had on my plate. But as it turns out, this call was different.

This time the salesperson wasn’t just cold calling to try and find new business. Instead, he was calling to let me know that we had THOUSANDS (yes x’000s!!!) of people actively using his file sharing service using our corporate email addresses. He said we needed to talk about an enterprise licensing agreement, and that given the size and scale of our “deployment” we’d probably be looking at some licensing costs.

On the call I said “sure let’s talk about it” but inside I was panicking with questions!!

  • How much of our IP (a big deal for the pharmaceutical industry) was potentially exposed on this cloud file sharing site?
  • What kind of financial liability would we be facing for licensing?
  • Did our IT team know this was happening?
  • etc…

Being on the job for a year, the questions that I learned to ask of potential companies we work with, started ringing in my head. (will cover them in another post).

Discovering an issue that entangles IP risk, financial risk and IT security risk all at once is never fun. So what did I do? Let’s just say this was a big undertaking and something that took my time away from other overdue projects.

This and several other stories are what prompted me to start thinking differently about how to get ahead of the curve and solve problems before they arise.

In the next segment I’ll write what happened next and how we took this scenario as the primary use-case for Saaswatch.

Adam Long
[Co-Founder, SaasWatch]