Mike Gersten, our Global Innovation and Strategy Officer at SoftwareONE, sat down with Stu Miniman, of the CUBE, at the Boston SiliconANGLE Media studios to discuss how software spend is impacted in a multi-cloud world, and what SoftwareONE does to help customers navigate this constantly changing territory. The interview took place as a Q&A format and the questions and answers are paraphrased, curated and highlighted below to fit SoftwareONE’s blog format.
Who are SoftwareONE and why do you care about the cloud?
Stu Miniman (SM): We’ve been seeing some clarity around these cloud topics that we’ve been talking about for more than a decade. Companies are finally getting their strategy in place and figuring out what to do with both Software as a Service (SaaS) and public cloud. SoftwareONE however seems to have been “doing” cloud long before cloud was popular, so for those who need a refresher how does SoftwareONE fit into cloud?
Mike Gersten (MG): We are a 30 year old company with a presence in over 85 countries and obviously software portfolio management is our domain. However, we look at the cloud and we see Microsoft, VMware, Oracle, and many others all rejuvenating and becoming a new piece of the cloud puzzle. We are right along beside them ensuring our clients can manage their portfolios whether it’s in the cloud or not.
Does SaaS make cloud easier?
SM: How committed to a particular publisher are customers today?
MG: It’s definitely more complex today. The promise of SaaS was agility and flexibility and the ability to shift from a Capex operating model to one that is Opex (more pay as you go). That, of course, is appealing to software publishers as well because it allows them to move from a three year license renewal to having a perpetual agreement. However, the challenges lie in a new set of complexities that were unforeseen by customers at the start. Namely, shadow IT; people are buying countless SaaS applications with department level credit cards and the procurement department has no idea it’s happening. Costs are getting out of control.
SM: SaaS should make it easier, but now one sees sprawl and nothing is audited or tracked. How does SoftwareONE help with this lack of visibility?
MG: SoftwareONE’s forte is around vendor, asset and financial management. We look to right size the investment. If we look at IaaS consumption analytics, companies may commit hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront but then realize that the upfront predictive commitment was well overspent. One example of how this could happen is workloads may have been running at night that weren’t needed – turn those off and you save money and right size the environment.
How can businesses best manage cloud spend?
SM: In the past regarding the data center 70-90% of the of the business was simply dedicated to “keeping the lights on.” Today cloud was supposed to be easier but in reality you need a dedicated engineer to architect and manage financial spend. How do you see companies managing cloud spend today?
MG: Most organizations have a document acknowledging their cloud spend but it’s not what we’d call a true cloud strategy. In the on-premises world (which still makes up 85% of companies today) a license agreement shows you what a customer is entitled to use and compares this to what is installed. In the cloud world it’s the same but on the other side of the subscription there is no inventory – simply consumption.
What’s the best way to effectively manage private cloud?
SM: If you have a true private cloud how do you reach the same level of operational model and efficiencies in the public cloud? What application management trends are out there today? And last but not least – lift and shift – recommended or waste of time?
MG: In the past in the on-premises world there were always tools to manage what licenses were actually being used. It will take time to reach the same level in the cloud. As far as lift and shift – definitely sexy – but many of those workloads that may belong in the cloud need to be optimized first. That takes intellectual capital not brute force.
SM: Who’s helping across the multi-cloud world?
MG: At their core the publishers want what is best for the customer. We see strong competition for both on-premises support and cloud support but we don’t see anyone making as big of a play for the management of the entire estate similar to what SoftwareONE is achieving.
What’s New for Pyracloud?
SM: What are the latest updates on PyraCloud?
MG: One of the biggest updates on PyraCloud is how our customers are using it for visibility into their software estates. You don’t have to buy software through PyraCloud – many customers use the platform as a point of reference to house the entitlement data, upgrades/downgrades, various geographies and then compare that to how the software is actually being used – all in one place.
SM: How much are people / intellectual property involved in PyraCloud?
MG: Metadata is the foundation of the PyraCloud platform. It’s how you tag resources and create metadata for every resource both on-premises and in the cloud. The cloud providers all have tagging systems but it’s unique to their product – PyraCloud gives you the overarching view into the entire estate. You can then apply that down to the structure of the organization – be it geography, service line, etc. But it takes consultants and manpower to help our clients achieve this level of visibility.
SM: What’s in store for the future of PyraCloud?
MG: We’ve extended out much of the functionality to incorporate the financial management piece – rich budgeting tools that are solving customer problems. For example, our clients are using PyraCloud to do charge backs, automate the invoice process and manage the entire portfolio.
And the future?
SM: What key issues are SoftwareONE looking at in the future?
MG: Sprawl will continue, particularly in the SaaS world. Customers have 20 – 30 SaaS tools but very little visibility into who is doing the purchasing, where they exist and what is being used. IaaS will continue to be a focus as this is a significant portion of the overall spend in the cloud market.
This article was first published in our DACH quarterly digital magazine.