saved in less than a year
annual spend in software
internal compliance for using Tropic
Watermark gives higher education institutions the software, data, and analytics tools they need to provide a better education experience for students. The company helps thousands of colleges and universities each year spend less time collecting data and more time learning from it.
Since forming in 2018, Watermark has grown, acquiring three other entities—Digital Measures, EvaluationKIT, and Aviso Retention—and is rolling out eight new products that change the way colleges approach education.
Create a unified purchasing process for accounting teams from acquired companies
At Watermark, consolidating multiple business units through acquisition created a complex purchasing process.
For example, someone in each organization had individual budget approval for things like Adobe licenses, says Megan Szeker, VP, Controller and Business Operations & Intelligence. So the newly-created Watermark ended up managing more than half a dozen subscriptions for the same supplier.
Multiple processes and layers of complexity meant that optimizing every contract wasn’t always the top priority. It didn’t take Szeker long to realize that she needed a unified platform and procurement partner to be more time and cost-efficient.
After testing other platforms, Watermark chose Tropic to streamline its purchasing process and consolidate inbound contracts
Szeker and the Tropic team started by excavating information from old systems and pouring it into Tropic to serve as a single source of truth for SaaS spend.
With a solid foundation, they designed and implemented approval workflows that would enforce department, legal, and compliance reviews on new purchases and renewals moving forward. From there, Tropic was ready to help optimize Watermark’s savings.
Chris Clark, Watermark’s Director of Information Security, says he was particularly impressed by the ability to compare prices and capabilities for similar software without leaving the Tropic platform.
For example, Watermark recently purchased a security tool through Tropic, and negotiations began at 50% off the software’s list price. But Tropic saved Watermark another $80-90,000 over a three-year contract term, Clark says.
Szeker has seen significant savings too. “I did not expect Tropic to save us as much money as it has,” says Szeker. “I'm the one that reviews the savings as they come through and I often think, 'Wow, that was pretty impressive.'”
VP, Controller and Business Operations & Intelligence
In total, the Watermark team estimates Tropic has saved the organization more than $300,000 in their first eight months.
It’s enough savings that Szeker believes her company can now free up budget in other places.
Having Tropic in place also keeps a longtime accountant like Szeker from constantly needing to play “bad cop” when it comes to purchasing decisions. Where she might have simply said “no” to a purchase request before, she can now use Tropic to show her team where a request falls in the queue with other requests, and how costs compare from one supplier to another.
Szeker admits she “really hates red tape” herself. But Tropic has made Watermark’s purchasing process more fair, organized, and transparent for the whole company. “I've worked really hard to try to make purchasing as simple as possible here,” she says. “I think Tropic’s tool makes that very doable.”