We've been fortunate enough to work with some pretty high profile clients over the years, across all industry sectors. In almost every case these clients, large and small, did not consider the impact of datacentre and infrastructure projects and changes on their IT asset management strategy. This is even true of organisations that believe they have implemented an ITAM, and more specifically SAM, program. Clients who do institute a SAM practice on their own, often do not go far enough. In our experience this is often down to a failure to fully understand what software asset management is all about and what a well implemented process in your data centre can do for your bottom line.
Most organisations understand that roughly 80% of their licence purchase costs will materialise through the project space. What they rarely appreciate is the value in governing those costs properly. Interestingly, a good project process will govern everything else effectively - it will ensure that a new system is designed properly, tested correctly, that any risks around its implementation are managed effectively, that its end users are happy with it, that the actual implementation does not cause any issues for existing systems (TSB, take note); you get the idea. But how many project processes ensure that the new system is not only licensed in a compliant manner, but also in way that optimises licence usage? Very few.
Part of the problem is that so many end users are relatively immature when it comes to tracking their assets. If you don't know what you own and what you're using, how can you hope to know what you can spare for new systems? Another part of the problem is that end user SAM teams are very frequently under-resourced, so no time is available to assess project licence requirements. Next, there is the question of having the right licensing skills in-house - surprisingly something that is often underestimated. Finally, the issue of not having a workable process.
We could write all day about implementing a grand ITAM strategy across all stages of the asset lifecycle but that's not really what this piece is about. What is important is actually common sense - datacentre licensing is expensive (just ask anyone who has been subjected to an Oracle or IBM audit) and needs to be looked after properly. An average PMO / service introduction gates process will go something like this:
What is often missed are the necessary touchpoints from a software asset management function, to ensure that licensing for the system is cost optimal and licences are recycled wherever possible.
The next part of this blog will focus on where those touchpoints should sit in the project lifecycle and the reason for having them...and if you want to see a workshop on this in action, please come to the ITAM Review conference on 5th June to see our managing partner, Barry Pilling, present his thoughts on how it should work.