John Koops, Independent IT Asset Management contractor, shares his real life experience of delivering tangible business value from Software Asset Management projects in the Netherlands.
John has spent over 20 years in IT Management roles at companies such as Rockwell Automation BV and Sprecher & Schuh BV and is now working as a Senior License Management consultant for a large publicly traded corporate company in the Netherlands.
ITAM Review: John, can you tell us how you started out in IT?
John Koops: I started off in sales for a Sprecher & Schuh. At the time they were introducing a new ERP system. They hired someone to set it up and I was asked to get involved and was soon managing the whole ERP system. I then moved onto Novell networking and PC’s before becoming an IT Manager.
ITAM Review: How did you find yourself in the ITAM field?
Rockwell Automation set up an EMEA customer service centre, centralising IT functions across Europe and I took an infrastructure role. No technology was in place at the time apart from whatever the local IT guy might have put in place and recorded locally. We introduced Altiris and locked down desktops and laptops.
ITAM Review: Did you experience negative feedback from users when locking down their systems?
Well, you better make sure you have management buy-in and funding before you make a move like that! It is not problematic as long as the users can access a good process to request and approve new software without delays. If a user requires a copy of Microsoft Project, his manager approves it and it gets delivered to his machine without too much delay. Getting senior management buy-In and funding are critical to successful SAM.
You also need to make people aware of the costs of software, the compliance risks and why you are doing it, then they will understand and support you. Eventually there will be cost savings, they will have less trouble running their pc on a day to day basis. You need to create awareness and get buy in from users.
We are now in a position to tell a supplier what he have and the terms and conditions of the licenses. That puts us in a great position for contract negotiation. Since commonly the supplier does not know what we have.
After lockdown we then moved to standardise desktops. They were a mixture of 98/NT and we moved them all to XP. Its a lot easier, when everyone is one the same release, not 6 different versions of excel.
Also support is easier and cheaper,eventually it delivers costs savings. We also made savings on hardware, met with SOX compliance and avoided hassle from organisations like the BSA.
ITAM Review: What processes would you recommend to put in place based on your experience?
1. Get buy in and funding
2. Lockdown and standardise
3. Implement an Inventory tool
4. Create a software shop for users with approval process and automated distribution tool.
ITAM Review: How could IT Asset Management Software vendors make your life easier?
We are using an inventory tool, a distribution tool and a contract tools, it would be good to have one supplier. There is no one tool that meets all my needs.
ITAM Review: What could software publishers do to make your life easier?
Two things; offering 20 different license keys for 20 different purchases is irritating. Because it means we can’t automate the distribution. i.e. Package it up and have it ready to ship to users when they need it. Secondly; virtual environments. Software publishers need to be clear on their terms and conditions. When do I need a license? it is currently a minefield, everybody is struggling with it.
ITAM Review: What are you currently working on?
I am now on a two year contract. Everything is under control here, for example we have 9,605 Winzip licenses. We take back licenses if they are not used in 60 days. We used ITIL as a starting point, defined our processes, built an inhouse webshop for users to select software and we have a software policy board to monitor and govern changes. We use HP Radia and CA Helpdesk – but software tools are not one size fits all – it depends on how the company works, on how big they are and many other factors.
Are you interested in sharing your views or experiences with our readers? For an informal interview via phone or email please contact us.
About Martin Thompson
Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.
On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.
Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.