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.

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You will be Audited

Sounds like a title for a doomsday licensing movie… however besides the dramatic title it is very certain that if you are an organization using software, specially from the usual suspects: Microsoft. Adobe, Oracle, IBM… you will be audited!!!

Is written on the terms and conditions you may have not read when deploying the software, or on the contract the reseller provided you to sign. And as a practice to ensure compliance the software vendors periodically will request from you licensing information to make sure everything is alright.

Now… to fall in non-compliance situations is very easy:

  • Many software vendors don’t restrict the use of software to avoid misuse.
  • Many organizations don’t track licensing use and compliance with Software Asset Management Tools
  • Licensing rights, terms and conditions are subject to change, and they change often!.

For this reason through AMTRA Solutions and its partners, plus this blog I will start a campaign of awareness and practical examples plus Q&A to help you be prepared and ready with the information gathered from my experience. I consider that a “fair trial” has to be performed when all parties had fully knowledge of consequences and clear understanding of complexities. Stay tuned for more content and invitations to listen and see coming up.

Cheers

The Licensing Guru: Josef Hans Lara

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional.

As a non regulated profession you find many types of licensing professionals, read my previous blog Types of licensing Professionals

Time and time again I have been engaged to consult on an audit that is requested right after another licensing professional involvement, specially from a vendor. Audits made on the suspicion of non compliance are normal these days when more software vendors are fishing for dollars disrupting with inquiries even the smallest of the companies.

It may not be the licensed professional fault at all that a company gets audited, however certain good practices can be established upfront:

  • The clarity of commitment to represent a costumer or a vendor
  • The clarity before  the customer and vendor to find the right solution
  • The explanation of duality of representation when exists.

The reality is that a narrowed minded vision on a licensing professional can harm as the advice should not be bias to certain goals, and it is key to establish trust and reputation in order to succeed and provide the right solution and advice to an end user costumer as well as the vendor.

Vendors should also understand that independent licensing professionals also work in the partner ecosystem and the best solution for their customers is the ultimate goal.

Specially the duality of representation is common in licensing engagements. A clear understanding on dual representation should be upfront and explained to the customer. I was reading a dual representation document that could help on this kind of situations, taken from real estate example that i edited as if it was for a licensing exercise:

“With regard to client confidences, each of you (Vendor and customer) should realize that the licensing professional cannot keep
information confidential between you, since the licensing professional is serving both of you. Therefore, by
requesting dual representation, each of you is authorizing the licensing professional to reveal each of your
licensing information, contents of documents and other disclosures and information to
the other.
After considering these factors, each of you must decide whether the licensing professional will continue to
represent both of you in connection with your licensing exercise planning, renewal or audit and related matters. If in the future
either of you wishes to have the advice of a separate licensing professional, you can do so.”

I think we apply the old rule that the costumer is always right…, (plus presumption of innocence, ) and regardless of being in two sides of the coin a licensing professional can dedicate the talent to the client with a balance for the vendor if has the right approach for both.

 

Virtual environments licensing issues with Terminal Services (RDS)

Recently I have been asked several times for Virtual environments for contractors Terminal Services (RDS)

There is a critical distinction to make, virtualizing the OS or Applications has different issues.

to put in Q&A format:

  • Do any of the rights of the desktop Office 2010 license extend to the hosted environment?

Yes, If the computers accessing Office on the RDS server are owned by the company, you only need to use the license through volume licensing for Office for each desktop whether Office is run on the local desktop or from the RDS server.

  • What about remote access from home  or contractor PCs not owned by us?

you will need to get a license of Office for each desktop and a license through volume licensing for each RDS session. Unless you had SA because SA comes with Roaming Rights. (SA has MDOP – Microsoft Desktop Optimization Platform)

A contractor is not part of your organization so roaming rights ONLY apply for primary users of the company

  • What if we want to do a virtual image of the OS?

make sure the home PCs from primary users have its own valid Windows OEM, then by using VDA licenses if you did not purchase Software Assurance will be the subscription you need. If you own Software Assurance with MDOP subscription you are good to go.

Again roaming rights apply only to primary users

A valid option will be Office 365 for example for Office, it gives up to 5 installations to each user and the company can assign the licenses to the users they authenticate.

more info:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/office-roaming.aspx

 

Office 365 cannot be used as Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services)

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not have RDS rights

Office 365 cannot be used as Remote Desktop Services(Terminal Services)

According to Microsoft Office 365 does not grant the right to use Office Pro Plus images on a server eliminating the possibility to use Remote Desktop Services.Contrary to the software licensed under desktop application licenses for Microsoft Office, Office Professional Plus for Office 365 may not be deployed on a server or desktop and accessed remotely from another desktop. Customers may only use Office Professional Plus for Office 365 locally. Remote Use Rights are not available under Office Professional Plus for Office 365 licenses. Examples of remote access technology used under desktop application licenses for Microsoft Office, but not supported for Office Professional Plus for Office 365 include Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

 

It is a common practice to create virtual devices for different purposes, and is a practice use more often today however seems to contradict the sale of the subscription license through Office 365 as the RDS is not allowed with the subscription.

See official document