“Show me the money” goes the famous quote from the Jerry Maguire movie: a sports star talking to his agent and demanding to know that he’s getting the best possible deal.
Bring this into the world of IT, and you’re more likely to hear “show me the performance, the configuration, the compliance…”. Yet for both the sports agent and the IT Manager, the goals are pretty similar:
Negotiate the ideal financials – and find the best deal aligned to performance
Take care of the details – and leave ‘clients’ (read: end users) free to focus on their day-to-day objectives
Manage change – and ensure all new developments are taken care of
The Fast Fragmentation of IT Procurement
Change in IT is constantly accelerating. All while organizational priorities, strategies, and long-term goals tend to remain relatively stable.
This imbalance is partly due to the sheer choice of software apps available for making your business run smarter, faster, smoother, and more cost effective.
But equally, it’s down to the way IT procurement is evolving, with practices like software bundling becoming ever popular – and introducing a host of new complications.
Recognizing Your Software Assets
Software bundling occurs when publishers combine solutions into a single product. Or where one publisher combines a series of standalone products – particularly in the area of analytics, databases and web services.
The challenge comes from the fact that publishers rarely change anything in the reporting entries or file attributes to indicate that the software is indeed bundled. As a result, software inventory tools can struggle to recognize or differentiate bundles from full products.
This leads to the software inventory being artificially inflated to contain items for which users can struggle to prove their entitlement.
Change Management in IT: the Software Edition
IT professionals are presented with a variety of tools for tracking and documenting any system alteration.
But, like always, change management is easier said than done and requires a keen business sense and the necessary discipline to use the available tools properly.
A necessary step is to accommodate some form of entitlement management capability. Such an approach is not only more relevant, it can also provide a solid foundation for your Software Asset Management (SAM) activities – if certain best practices are followed:
Keep it simple – and avoid more than 3-5 separate product options per bundle
Adopt a ‘base + options’ approach – and seek a ‘base’ bundle that packages a minimum of 80% of the desired capabilities, with ‘options’ added from standard licensing arrangements
Avoid version upgrades at the product bundle level – to avoid the issue of ‘synchronicity’ within the bundle (instead, demand independent upgrades)
Standardize on one approach – and agree to follow either bundles or standalone licenses across product lines to aid with the ‘simplicity agenda’
Think through the entitlement lifecycle before picking a course – and consider all the cost/benefit aspects including subscription renewals, version upgrades, software updates and machine management
Keeping Your Bundles Up-to-date
But even when you follow our best practices, it’s still difficult to say for certain that you’re fully compliant in terms of license usage versus entitlement. Or even that every license you’re paying for is being fully utilized.
This is because server environments need constant updates and patches to stay running. Plus, there’s the constant call for new features. Introducing these demands requires IT to either replace the existing software and hardware or install new libraries and components.
Hence why it was estimated in 2016 that 39% of software installed in computers around the world is not properly licensed.
The Value of SAM Expertise
As any SAM professional knows, the biggest challenge to their role is complexity – alongside an inability to create accurate views of their complete license estates. Hence the value of being able to call upon a proven SAM solution.
A partner like SofteareONE offers SAM as a managed service to help you:
Gain an accurate understanding of license agreements during investment and renewal negotiations, as well as after implementation
Interpret terms and conditions to ensure you’re complying with all software usage policies
Remove the potential for financial and operational risk by ‘unpacking’ software bundles and confirming the full extent of your agreement