So you’ve reached that stage where you have policies and procedures in place, and your system selection has already been made and acted upon.
The next step is to consider your implementation strategy. Again, this will depend upon the size and nature of the scope you are looking to implement, and so below are several expanded upon bullet points that you will need to consider to ensure your implementation runs as smoothly as possible:
Hopefully, within your revision of Software Asset Management policies and procedures you might have recognised the role Software Asset Management should play in change management, and so just because you are implementing a Software Asset Management system, doesn’t mean to say that you don’t follow the rules and regulations a new re-enforced Software Asset Management change management policy recommends. Consider too, the approach of installing agents (if agent inventory capture is the preferred technology) and the impact that might have on end users. A pilot of a deployment and testing of data capture might be appropriate prior to a full roll out.
We’ve mentioned (above) the concept of testing, and so let’s look a little deeper into this – first off, we could do worse than consider Quality Assurance metrics. It’s not enough just to click Next, Next, install and hope that our Software Asset Management suite will conjure up all the answers we ever hope for. The system should be benchmarked; and not just the software used as part of the Software Asset Management suite, but also the processes and the people who form part of the overall solution. Such testing should not just focus on the implementation aspects as highlighted in the project, but also consider BAU activity (more on this in my next blog).
Your acceptance criteria should be determined by upper and lower acceptable levels of performance. How long does it take for inventory data to be loaded into your Software Asset Management suite? How frequently is the recognition portion of your Software Asset Management suite updated (so as to keep up to date with the latest and greatest titles of software) how easy is it to generate the reports that are required to support IT in their day to day tasks? How easy is it to generate the reports that are required to support the business in their day to day/strategic tasks?
This aspect of implementation should be very carefully watched; particularly if 3rd party resource is brought in as part of the implementation. Please be crystal-clear on the deliverables they are expected to oversee, because once those benchmarks have been met, they will move on to their next assignment. Even internal resources could have a finite amount of time to dedicate to the implementation of a Software Asset Management suite/programme, so be mindful of what is expected of the Software Asset Management programme prior to it becoming BAU.
Hopefully if you have bench-marked any new systems that are going to be implemented, you will have living proof of their capability to underpin the Software Asset Management goals and objectives, and also any business goals and objectives that have been demanded of the Software Asset Management programme. Such technical requirements may also have to be benchmarked once the system has gone BAU, as the requirement to cope with large batches of data (as an example) may not be something that can be truly assessed until the go live date; wherever possible, try and ensure that any technical requirements match BAU activity as closely as possible.
Your comms plan should be providing relevant stakeholders with timely and accurate information not just on a Go Live date, but also pitfalls and successes experienced along the way. Your RACI chart should give you some idea as to who needs telling what and when, but don’t forget those who perhaps might be peripheral to any RACI activity that you might have drawn up. Equally, your communications plan should not just be one way; give opportunities for feedback and consultation on the reports and data that your Software Asset Management system will produce to other areas of the business.