First of all, it has been an interesting journey during my SAM career to get to write this post…because I have spent so much time helping companies and organizations “clean up the house” and get compliant, manage their applications and protecting them in the way of being always ready for software audits. But like the best things in life the journey does not have an end and is the ride that makes it great.
In the SAM World the ultimate efficiency is to manage applications from the deployment of images to usage control with compliance in between. It is precisely on this SAM ultimate efficiency that allow us to be more proactive in order to not only be ready for software audits but also to advance the reporting to a vendor before reaches to audit… I know, I know, sounds sacrilegious.
Let us put together this scenario: one organization uses a SAM governance management for all applications, policies and procedures are well-defined, smooth and there is compliance control. To “cleaning up the house” is easy and give it a year to achieve the optimal position. It is now a matter of maintaining, adapting and advising. It is then that risks are fully controlled towards software audits. And the services are rendered by a certified and recognized independent SAM consulting firm, not by a reseller. Imagine then that the organization reports voluntarily their compliance that includes deployment information.
Vendor does not have to list the organization on the black list
The organization tracks reports delivered to provide “good faith” to auditors and avoid their time-consuming engagements
The organization is motivated and keeps SAM governance live, active and constant maintaining compliance to optimal levels
Vendors provide funding for voluntary reporting, services by the SAM consultant may be partially covered if not paid in full.
SAM consultants can focus on the upcoming projects, working with IT architects and other to prepare for changes and ensure healthy delivery and compliance as per the established road map.
What we need is an alignment between the vendors, the SAM consultants and the customers. It has to be driven by the Vendors primarily, creating clear programs of audit protection by voluntarily reporting, enabling independent SAM consultants to provide a level of trust and optimal reporting acceptance. And this is out of the scope of the True Ups and Renewal typical reporting,,, Cloud subscriptions actually fit well on this model as usage can be controlled by the access to the applications from the vendor, but more than ever, the reality of Hybrid Cloud could benefit this approach tremendously, increasing the trust between all parties involved.
Certified companies for SAM services like AMTRA are able to prepare companies and help them to pro-actively report their licensing status to vendors.
In the case of Microsoft, the SAM team partners with clients to get compliance ready in a friendly engagement that distance itself from the traditional audit approach that takes so many IT leaders by surprise.
Some vendors divide the exercise of hunting for compliance issues in two categories:
Soft Audit: just requesting general information on existing installations
Audit: full analysis and reconciliation of the client using the empowerment of the agreed terms and conditions (that normally no one takes in consideration until the vendor shows up)
However Microsoft has changed the pace of these engagements by allowing clients to proactively report, and experience shows that the “friendly” gathering and reconciliation of the data helps organizations to fix issues and arrive to better agreements when they willingly and proactively approach the vendor, it is called “Baseline”.
For this reason the Baseline SAM services for Microsoft could also be done using a pool of funds to help clients to fulfill these task, plus they also help clients to Assess and deploy SAM Services. Only a few companies are able to provide these services, and as mentioned AMTRA Solutions is one of them, servicing clients globally.
What is left after the exercise is a full understanding of the licensing compliance status. Now these by itself is useful for the vendor however the organizations can have these done as a starting point for a more Dynamic SAM process and assessments to truly avoid any noncompliance issue in the future.
It is key to understand and strategize SAM Baseline services as a way to get the Vendor involved and a SAM partner to help reducing typical compliance and costs risks.
For more information on SAM Baseline let’s discuss: @mslicensing @amtrasolutions
We live in an Application driven IT world. Whether its our Cloud-based phone apps, our computer apps, or the applications in our servers and hosted datacentres, everything is moving towards applications that will improve our productivity. Technical complexity is increasing rapidly and we are consuming more applications than ever before.
I have come to understand the value of application packaging. Initially, I thought it was simply creating an automated process of imaging applications to be delivered. However, I have to come to realize that its a lot more than that. Application packaging:
Allows one to conform to standards despite their edition and version.
Provides the ability to test applications before moving to production.
Delivers the same application, yet tailored to specific needs or departments.
Provides process and characteristic documentation without having to spend hours writing and collecting screen shots.
Enables a licensing person, through the process, to control and manage assets (Software Asset Management (SAM)).
For this reason it is now part of what I envision to provide my clients. That vision is to deliver a robust strategy that not only takes care of SAM inventory and reconciliation, but also goes to the root and applies application packaging best practices.