Innovation is more than just a fashionable buzzword for companies. In many cases it represents the foundation and the entire reason for existence. Success stories from Silicon Valley to Walldorf and Leipzig are built on the principle of providing solutions that are set apart from the competition. This awareness does not merely drive the research and development departments around the world, but also – at least ideally and to a certain degree – each individual employee. SAM consultants are no different. But how can one set about designing a personal form of innovative Software Asset Management ?
Is there even such a thing as innovative Software Asset Management (SAM)?
Consultants are used to analyzing processes from a critical perspective. And of course, the most critical of all questions is:
Can SAM be innovative at all?
My colleagues and I are frequently confronted with this question when asked to explain what our profession involves. In many cases we will use the example of a tax declaration, as valuation is also governed by strict vendor regulations. So what leeway exists – if any – within Software Asset Management? It is out of the question that anyone undergoing a vendor audit will jump up and exclaim: “Now let me show you the latest licensing method for the global distribution of SQL Core licenses.”
So where exactly is the part that can be innovative and flexible? Usually this begins during the initial consultation. How can access be measured? Which software runs on servers? Does the company even register which software is installed? Practical experience shows that companies will provide nine detailed answers to these three questions alone. Procedures and processes are so heterogeneous and complex that the employees themselves – not to mention externals – have difficulty acclimatizing. For instance, an employee appointed as a new license manager will usually need months until they have handled each task at least once. After all, license managers have a broad and varied remit:
Support in contract negotiations with software vendors
Audit preparation and implementation
Establishment of compliance throughout the company
All of these aspects may be part of the job, albeit to differing degrees.
What is expected of new SAM processes?
So innovative Software Asset Management begins with the actual SAM processes themselves. But it goes on to incorporate the enterprise-wide interfaces as well. Here, companies have very clear expectations in regard to process innovation. A survey conducted by the management consultancy firm Accenture determined that a reduction in internal costs represents the greatest incentive for change. Other issues such as establishing an innovative public image are significantly less important.
Innovative Software Asset Management
Here, SAM regulations like the ISO standard 19770-1 can only provide a certain degree of meaningful guidance. For instance, an ISO-oriented interface between Software Asset Management and the procurement process must be benchmarked against the actual, underlying purpose of the standard. In this respect, ISO standard ISO-Norm 19770-1 states: “(Software) procurement is standardized and documented.” But ISO does not determine how this must take place. Merely the requirements for certification in this area are provided:
Definition of standards and deviation criteria
Regulations and methods for ordering and procurement, as well as for the fulfilment of deliveries
Analysis of license pools
Receipt and archiving of license documents (possibly including authentication)
So neither the roles nor the scope of the actual processes are prescribed.
How can interfaces be identified and synergies exploited?
This aspect has an extremely individual scope. In practice, therefore, it is necessary to create an overview that indicates which processes are sensible and feasible. A relevant question in this respect is HOW the processes can be implemented in the respective enterprise, including their individual integration within current workflows! To enable full exploitation of innovation potential in these areas, it is imperative to acquire clarity on how much progress has already been achieved in each of them individually. This applies to Software Asset Management as much as it does to all other interfaces.
The first step on the way to designing optimized processes is to secure enterprise-wide support. However good an idea may look in theory, failure will be certain if the employees and management are unwilling or unable to ensure that it is implemented. So in many cases, companies must seek to identify what is happening on the market and how comparable companies are structured.
How can innovation be designed?
We deploy all our detailed expertise to support you in this issue. In this regard, it is worth mapping processes and process interfaces to acquire a SAM status quo. This is more than just benchmarking by one of our experienced consultants. Customized process design also includes frank discussions of which processes and roles are missing in the company. The core issues within the benchmarking procedure are:
Which changes are feasible in my company?
How precisely will I manage the change process?
This process ensures clarity for everyone involved, while at the same time allowing us to define the short, medium and long-term requirements for sustainable Software Asset Management at the end of the benchmarking process.
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This is our service: Your customized SAM basic concept
One-day workshop to map the status quo (with two SAM Consultants on-prem)
Preparation and provision of findings for a customized SAM basic concept and internal review
Preliminary discussion of the findings with the principal workshop manager / license manager, including incorporation of any changes
Final presentation and discussion of the findings on-prem