Why Google may win the Cloud battle in the Enterprise

Google-Apps-vs.-Office-365-change-1024x372 Since the Cloud offering of Office 365 the inconsistency of licensing purchase methods is increasing. Enterprise clients have extensive agreements with Microsoft and have maintained them for decades, however the subscription licensing has been obtained in a very confusing and additive way instead of substituting the volume licensing agreements.

First it was the Cloud addition and “bridge” licenses within the same document contracts that increased the cost, not equal or save costs to customers.

Flexibility offered by the Cloud subscription model was compromised because these old agreements had to be maintained. Microsoft could have adopted a better transition just by allowing flexibility in the licenses within the agreements when clients deployed Cloud services, it could have provided an incentive to Microsoft clients not only to license but to deploy the Cloud technologies. Instead Microsoft added costs, and pushed clients to move to the cloud within a difficult transition that will eventually fulfill the promise of being flexible.

Currently the increase to 500 users to have a large agreement, the introduction of the MPSA agreement, the discontinuation of enrolments that were sold as ultimate solutions in the last 3 to 4 years have become not only a product licensing complexity but also a management chaos for organizations in the enterprise with multiple offices, affiliates and moving numbers of workforce.

Google has offer consistency as a cloud subscription model for working tools, and has allow other vendors interacting with Google Apps for work. It is in a collaborative way that Google and other vendor partners can offer security, data jurisdiction, access to robust data servers and integration with multiple ERP and CRM systems. Google has understood of the opportunity to gain market share in the Enterprise and has started offering new interesting approaches.

The dichotomy I see is the following: Microsoft offers an All-in approach to technology buyers through complex agreements while Google offers “buy what you like” with Google and “friends” subscription models, independent to each other, including Microsoft products and Azure services.

To manage compliance and mitigate risk is better for enterprise organizations to pay for what they truly use, measure its performance and use and adapt budgets accordingly.

I am observing companies deciding on their Cloud services consumption based on flexibility and less management burden on compliance risk. The Cloud is standardizing security, integration, multiple levels of vendor to vendor development and common market approaches… it will be difficult to justify complex licensing contracts the more collaborative are the services offered in the Cloud.

Microsoft could invite more vendors to sell collaboratively on flexible plans, otherwise Google may win the presence in the Enterprise.

To know more :

Advertisements

Be a CSP that cares about Security

With so many IT providers becoming CSPs it is obvious that more than ever the value proposition is key and extremely important.

A Value proposition has to go beyond a line of products and concentrate on your business philosophy, your culture and offer clear arguments for differentiation. You can do this as well by adding great services to the portfolio defining you as a CSP with great difference from your competitors.

One of the suggestions I can provide is the addition of Security services on the CSP portfolio.

What you are selling is not a product any more… but “trust”. Your clients need to trust you will drive them to the Cloud securely.

CSPs come from multiple backgrounds, from development to integration services and everything in between, however not many are specialized on offering Cloud Security options to the clients. And what a complementary offering security is!, as it is not an option any more but a requirement in more and more industries and job functions.

One great example is the addition of Secure Messaging, email encryption and tracking to your clients technology and productivity tools. Cirius Messaging is, in my view, the best solution you can  add to email that keeps being the most used communication form these days. It is a Cloud based solution so it moves a CSP rapidly to add security offering that aligns with any email platform provided to the client.

What you gain providing Security to your clients is not only the perception of trust you are looking for, also provides an answer to the threats all businesses are concern about with regards to their sensitive data in communications. Even more, clients have more confidence in the Cloud as you help them to adopt a user friendly and simple security enhancements.

Think about you as a CSP having the ability to extend your markets to regulated industries. This could result on new clients from new opportunities, and obviously a new revenue stream that could allow you to grow beyond the usual productivity tools sales.

Be different, be smart, care about Security and win the trust of your clients.. it is my strong recommendation.

The CSP Licensing Business Model

A few years ago I had the opportunity to start a full LSP (licensing service provider) licensing business from the very beginning of licensing activities and growing the business with a licensing business model. Later on I repeated the process in MSP and VARs especially for those who had the desire to grow their Volume licensing business. And now the change towards Cloud licensing especially with the CSP program has given me the chance again to work on licensing business models transformation, for this reason I thought was relevant to comment on the CSP licensing model concepts that all CSPs should assess.

Adapting to a Cloud revenue business model is not an easy transition and sales teams, business owners and many others are reluctant to change the traditional transactional model to a subscription based model, but obviously signing to the CSP program is already a commitment towards applying the necessary changes on the business model required.

CSPs must be “licensing ready” and should assess the business to successfully plan activities: knowing about licensing is not enough, controlling subscriptions, transitions from volume licensing to subscription licensing, client ROI impact and SAM maturity, between other topics,… all is essential to all CSPs…

Some questions to resolve: has the CSP a volume licensing or hosted licensing business in place? What is the CSP licensing selling strategy? Is the CSP reactive to renewals? How successful it has been to capture net new Cloud clients? Is the CSP in a position to sell Office 365 or Azure Services? Is there sales team members knowledgeable enough to offer Cloud subscription models? Can you transition from SPLA to other cloud licensing? Is the sales team incentive align with the achievement of new monthly recurrent revenue? Has the CSP SAM services at all? Is the CSP SAM service aligned with client expectations or works just as a necessary exercise due to partnership obligations for audits? How many current clients versus net new are required to obtain to keep CSPs revenue expectations?

The end goal of any assessment exercise towards licensing sales business is to create a strategy for sales and operations that can capture clients and operate efficiently to create revenue. Some CSPs plans have not contemplated all risks, for example:

Many CSPs are finding that some sales efforts are futile with clients that transact with Enterprise Agreements via qualified resellers or LSPs (Licensing Solutions Partners), it is necessary to know how to pick the battles and be ready to fight the arguments of licensing agreements, making sure that clients don’t get involved between the subscription margin fight from the different resellers and see the services value as the true differentiator. As it is today between CSPs and LSPs with CSP expectations (all of them) the battle for the Cloud is on…

Assess, plan and get the right licensing trusted partners and distributors. Get the right SAM independent partner (you can always ask me for their names), be familiar with distributors CSPs advantages and get yourself ready to get into the wonderful world of software licensing in the Cloud era.

Let me know if you require more information for your CSP plans.

The Benefits of Voluntary SAM & Licensing Reporting

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.

Benefits:

  • 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.

Just a thought…

The New Order of Software Asset Management (SAM) in the Cloud era.

The New Order

Microsoft is definitely the great influencer of Software licensing; when Microsoft develops and promotes new rules may other vendors follow. During this last World Partner Conference, that just happened in Washington DC, I observed the influence of Cloud now directly affecting the Software Asset management (SAM) approach.

Cloud and SAM

Not long ago I was questioned by other SAM peers on my approach towards Cloud and SAM, the interaction of the old licensing models affected by the new subscription models seemed for some the end of the need of the licensing advisors, however I always thought it was only an adaptation of the SAM knowledge towards new exciting models to compliantly license software.

Microsoft is going all or nothing to the Microsoft Cloud offerings, I am glad that my guess has been right for so long with respect of being aware on how to measure, what to investigate, and how to determine the right Cloud licensing solution, because now SAM has to fulfill the qualification to move the right IT budgets towards Cloud in order to fulfill the great demand and transformation that Cloud is making in organizations everywhere. SAM has now a special role in regards to Cloud, it has to monitor the usage, contemplate the rules and repurpose licenses for an optimal transition.

SAM and Services

Some SAM professionals identify their task as auditors as the more relevant with respect to the services thy offer. However I disagree, in fact SAM has to be hand in hand with technical, and business assessments to actually not only portray a licensing position but to guide any organization to transformation. The new era of SAM services has to require a true alignment between business goals, technical requirements and licensing.

 

SAM 2.0

SAM is now critical in order to govern software and identify the possibilities of Cloud computing, outsourcing databases, access to BI integrated products, assessing security tools and allowing a new perspective of IT expenditure that walk with business objectives. The New Order of SAM services will create once again a differentiation between those that will be stuck in the old reseller ways, just contemplating the exercise of an audit without any other variable added, and those that understand the new realities and needs of IT on today’s market.

 

IT is truly a great moment for SAM services that can play a significant role on the era of Cloud.

Facing a Software Audit Webinar Invitation

Join the Webinar on June 12th

Register Here! (click the logo)AMTRALogoFinal_FullColor (1)

 

 

 

A note on a great IT Leader: Tiffani Bova @tiffani_bova

Tiffani Bova has always inspired me for change, I find that her direction and to the point keynotes, not sugar-coated and driven to innovation have always produce great change in the IT industry. And to actually understand her influence is as easy as to listen, listen carefully because her ability to portray the trends and take advantages, make changes and defy the “Status Quo” is making a difference. I would say that in the last few years I have observed how accurate she has been to define our roles and opportunities on Cloud, channel, etc.

Every time I listen to her keynotes I am inspired and find vision to drive forward. Like today in the Cloud Summit 2014, she has shown us what 2020 looks like, and I am up for the challenge to take my clients to the technology that will make them thrive today and in the future to create better and more efficient companies.

Truly recommend to follow her @tiffani_bova.

 

Get ready for a Licensing Audit and get the vendor to fund it

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

Save time, reduce costs and get compliant with Application Management

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.

Ask me how: @mslicensing, @amtrasolutiuons

Calling for a change on OEM OS licensing… because I like other devices.

Windows 8 (8.1) is a single experience for all devices. It works for some people, not really for me, I like different experiences in life. Despite my personal taste on OS use, the premise behind Microsoft’s OS campaign is that one single OS can deliver the same experience on a phone, pc or tablet.

Microsoft has done a very good job at owning the OS market for many years on the pc side. Today’s evolution of devices claims a more open market. We have “phablets”, tablets and phones doing more tasks we used to do on a pc than ever before. We chose devices qualifying them for more than we used to… the graphics, size, entertainment purposes beyond work, cameras, level of connectivity etc…

As we evolve on our use of multiple devices I imagine that having a “single experience” across all devices must be a very good premise to capture market as Microsoft marketing strategy, however going back to basics, like many years ago, we should get the device we like because of the functionality we seek.

In some cases Android devices have the perfect attributes for certain jobs, still for work purposes I would prefer to combine a Windows OS on the same device as my Android OS. Taking virtualization to the device even the mobile device and tablet will help us to use them in different scenarios in life.

As the revenue war is driven more towards Office 365 these days. Productivity tools should be available on any OS. And I know that what I am asking here is hard.., but it will be so much interesting, flexible, and user-friendly if we could obtain the OS separate from the device, or add to it a partition.

I heard rumors that this is coming to the mobile world. I wonder how OEM OS licensing rights will change to enable a new reality… Diversity.