The Value of Working With an Independent Advisor

The Value of

Working With an Independent Advisor

The Value of Working With an Independent Advisor

Clichés are there for a reason – they often are true. That’s also the case for the famous saying “knowledge is power”. In the ITAM world, this means that every time when you give away too much information about your software entitlements and consumption, you also give away power. In our previous article from this series, we covered how sharing your data with the consulting companies that end up auditing you can put you in a vulnerable position, because you are providing insights into potential revenue opportunities for them.

In this piece we’ll cover how you can avoid being at risk – both from a compliance and financial perspective – and why it’s important to work with a truly independent advisor.

Assumption is the Mother of all Mistakes

When you hire a consulting company to support your business, you put your trust into their competencies and assume they have your best interest in mind – even more so when your company’s reputation and hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are at stake, as is the case with Software Asset Management. However, when a consultant can potentially work for both you and the software publisher, it’s difficult to know whose interest comes first. Before you sign a contract with a consultant that also conduct audits on behalf of software publishers, you might want to think again.

When the consulting company becomes the auditor (on behalf of the software publisher), their interest also switches and whatever they tell you regarding your data can’t be considered the absolute truth – this also applies when the auditor is the software publisher itself. With an approach driven by the audit outcome, the auditor will try to find situations that show you are non-compliant. However, because of the complex licensing rules most publishers have, often what might seem non-compliant at first can turn out to be compliant when delving deeper into the details. Make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of your data yourself, instead of putting all your trust in the conclusions shared by the auditors.

When you decide to work with hosting providers, you also assume that they understand all the intricacies of licensing and everything they do is keeping you compliant. But is that really the case? When you rely on an outside party to manage your data, be aware that you, as the end-user, are still ultimately responsible for being licensed correctly. Often, the hosting provider lacks the in-depth understanding of how your software products are licensed and may take decisions that will lead to your organization being non-compliant. You should always make sure you have someone who knows everything about software licensing and can ensure you are compliant.

Another situation where companies tend to trust others is when they negotiate a commercial deal with the software publisher. Even if you have a long-term relationship with the publisher, you shouldn’t assume that the account manager will offer you the most suitable and cost effective (cloud) option for your company. They will still try to fulfill their own organization’s needs, putting yours on second. Here too, it is best to work with someone who understands your needs - current and future - and can validate how the offered price compares to that of other, similar organization. Based on that, they can advise if the offer you received from the software publisher matches your needs, or if further negotiation is required.

Nothing Comes for Free

In many cases, consulting companies and even software publishers offer free advice to their customers. But hardly anything is free. It may be that you don’t have to pay money for the advice that you’re getting, but it’s likely that you are paying for it in a more indirect way. The consulting company auditing you is usually compensated based on the outcomes of the audit, receiving a percentage of the money you spend. Therefore, the more you have to pay to the software publisher, the more the auditor will be paid. Is it then worth to receive ‘free’ advice?

When you deal with the software publisher directly and they present you with a particular (cloud) offer, you will be told that it is the best offer for your company. However, it may be that there are other, less costly, alternatives. Again, receiving free advice from the party that has a vested interest in the negotiation outcome might not work in your favor.

Working With an Independent Advisor

In the end, it will always be your responsibility to make sure that you are licensed correctly and that you don’t pay more than is needed for the products or services that you are getting.

This doesn’t mean that you have to deal with everything yourself though. You can work together with an independent advisor who will support you in managing your software assets and making sure that you are compliant. As you learned already, before engaging with a consulting company, make sure that they are truly independent and don’t conduct audits on behalf of the software publisher. It’s better to pay for the services and advice of such a company, knowing that they have your best interest in mind, than working with someone who might be compensated in ways that are invisible to you now (e.g.: pushing you to purchase additional licenses instead of optimizing your current ones).

When you’ve found an independent advisor, make sure that they also have the required knowledge to support you. You want to work with someone who truly understands the licensing complexities and how these can impact your organization. Don’t hesitate to ask for references and proof points. Take your time in finding the right partner and it will be smooth sailing from then on.

How SoftwareONE Can Help

SoftwareONE is an independent consulting company that can support you in your ITAM journey. With an extensive team of experts in Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM and many more, SoftwareONE will provide you with the knowledge and expertise your company needs to make sure you are compliant, while helping you save costs. Reach out to us and have a conversation with one of our experts to understand how we can support you.

Working With an Independent Advisor Works in Your Favor

SoftwareONE can support you to achieve and maintain compliance, and deal with a software audit when the case arises, acting in your best interest at all times.

Learn more

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Author

Heidy Goyens, EMEA Business Owner - Oracle and SAP Professional Services

Heidy Goyens

EMEA Business Owner

Oracle and SAP Professional Services

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