Softline Group // Interview with Dennis Montanje: Arguments for the implementation of Software Asset Management

Interview with Dennis Montanje: Arguments for the implementation of Software Asset Management

Every month we pose 5 questions to Dennis Montanje about Software Asset Management related issues. The topic of this interview is ‘arguments for the implementation of Software Asset Management’.

Under the supervision of Dennis Montanje, Softline Solutions’ objective is to assist organisations in the implementation of Software Asset Management by creating transparency in software assets that in turn results in cost reduction and compliance.

For the past 15 years Dennis has been assisting various organisations in the implementation of Software Asset Management, playing a strategic role in SAM projects for public authorities and national as well as international organisations. As from 2010, in his role as Managing Director, Dennis carries responsibility for Softline Solutions Northern Europe.

1. What arguments can an organisation have to start with the transition of Software Asset Management?

There are 3 primary motivations to start using Software Asset Management (SAM). Firstly from an audit point of view, driven by the thought ‘this should never happen again’. The need to be in control.
Secondly, driven by cost avoidance. The internal organisation strives for cost reduction and cost control.
And thirdly, based on the conviction to act with ‘due diligence’, without any license incompliance. Although this applies for other organisations as well, this motivation is mostly seen within public authorities because they can’t afford to generate negative publicity. Public authorities are seen as role models and are more strictly observed.

2. You state the IT audit or software audit is the main motive. Would this still be the case if there were no high costs involved?

It is important for an organisation to be able to predict the cost, up to a certain level, and avoid surprises. Even if the outcome of the IT audit would be positive, 0 Euros, the related costs are never budgeted and always are a surprise. The related costs are generated when an organisation has no control over the available software. An example of this could be an internal team that was hastily formed and drawn from their daily tasks to help with the audit. No work done yet, but the score is already 1-0 behind. A different, more positive outcome of an IT audit can be an overview of redundant software licenses. Even though no extra ‘out of pocket’ budget is involved, an efficiency improvement must be realised. No pain is felt during the audit, but it is important to have a good overview on behalf of next year’s budget.

3. When talking to different employees with different responsibilities in the organisation, do you notice a difference in arguments to start with SAM?

From the perspective of senior management, the Board of Directors, the primary motivation is generally ‘cost control’. This is fine when the outcome of the audit is a software spend of 100, but when it turns out to be 200, it’s not. Senior management wants to have control over costs versus no budgeted costs. And by using benchmarks or talking to related professionals, senior management can subsequently define that their sofwarespend is higher, compared with other companies in the sector or organisations with similar size and core business. This can be a clear trigger to start realising cost reduction.

4. Within one organisation, several arguments can exist to start with SAM. Do you notice any change in the priority of these arguments, during the process of implementation?

A change in the order of ranking of the motivations referred to before, mainly occurs when an organisation takes the next step to SAM maturity. The outcomes of an audit that initially formed triggers make way for a more ideological conviction: no software incompliance. This can only be realised when organisations are ‘in control’ and the next step to cost reduction can be taken. These steps are easily traced back to the SAM maturity model: you have to know what’s in store, before you can start saving costs. Even when an organisation indicates that the only purpose is to reduce costs, this can only be achieved at phase 2 of the implementation of Software Asset Management. The 1st step is always ‘knowing what’s in store’ and the 2nd step is ‘knowing what you really need, and what you really don’t need’. This ‘needing’ is defined by a number of factors: the usage of applications, the usage of licenses and the overlap in application functionalities, the standardisation.

5. So an organisation decides to start with Software Asset Management. What would be the first logical step?

Some organisations start with the selection procedure of a SAM tool. During this process –or in some cases only after the implementation of the tool- the organisation realises outcomes that are not necessarily what they need. Software Asset Management affects the organisation as a whole and is not just the implementation of a tool. It is cooperation between organisation, process, technology and these 3 elements have to be aligned. My advice for an organisation is to start with a SAM Assessment, in which different aspects are regarded. For instance the creation of awareness in the organisation, definition of the desired level of ambition and a clear overview of the risks, points for improvement and possible quick wins during an ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ workshops, all made transparent and implemented in a short and long term plan.

Next time:

What does an organisation has to take into account once the decision has been made to start Software Asset Management?