The expertise and level of attention to detail required in producing an Effective Licence Position (ELP) for a software vendor is not to be under-estimated, and requires a flexibility of thinking and tenacity that would see you through a Master’s degree.
But just who are we serving when we look to produce such reports?
Clearly, there is a requirement to re-buff software vendor audit demands; senior management also wish to see such engagements delivered to a timely and financially favourable conclusion.
But does this serve the business?
To a point, yes – but only to address the statements above. If SAM wishes to truly demonstrate on-going value to the business, then it needs to realise the value in the expression “Perspective is Subjective” – rarely does the business view Information Technology from a vendor point of view, rather they adopt a service-based approach:
And this is where I believe the discipline of SAM needs to be heading. If we are able to link arms with Service Management, then it should not be beyond the wit of SAM personnel to start tagging installations based upon the role they play.
How many financial institutions have we been in where the IT department is so risk-averse, that they won’t dare shut down services for fear of an interruption to the business? And not because it is a technical challenge, but rather because they don’t know what purpose the software serves?
The Diageo/SAP court case highlighted this scenario all too painfully. Had a designated ERP system been re-classified as an E-Portal system, then the ability of SAM to re-visit the North-South technology strand could have been offered much greater scrutiny.
Tagging within SAM so far, has been largely promoted by the ISO 19770 community; where -2 tags look to offer definitive data on what software title is installed, and -3 tags look to encapsulate the entitlement rights the software installation enjoys. The -2 tag has the capability to add customisable fields; it should therefore be possible to enter a business justification into that tag, or maybe we go even wilder, and tag the software request that spawned the installation – after all, many technology solutions are created off the back of a project or program – and so being able to link back to that project or program could cut through a lot of “umming and ahhing” trying to guess at the purpose of an installation in the future. Additionally, we could look to recycle a given installation, but could also drive the recycling/uninstallation of a larger portion of a technology stack if a service is approaching end of life.
With indirect usage making the news as a primary means of SAP attempting to draw licensing revenue from its client base, this approach to SAM and licence management is never more important. Please note too, a lot has been published about SAP exploiting this licence metric, however, they do not have an exclusive on this licence type: all the major software vendors will use it to a greater or lesser degree.
If mapping your SAM estate from a Service perspective is a level of maturity you would like help with, then please feel free to reach out to SAM Charter today.