Founded in 1989, SHI is a $5BN provider of IT products and services and includes 1,800 staff serving over 10,000 customers worldwide.
With 44 full time staff, SHI has the largest SAM team in this review consisting of Inventory Engineers, License Analysts, Project Managers, Business Development, Trainers, and Contracts Managers.
SAM Managed Services from SHI are offered under the Polaris brand, consisting of a number of specific ITAM services from the cradle to grave of software and hardware assets.
For the purposes of this review we are primarily interested in the ‘Managed’ offering in the diagram below, but SHI also offers more tactical SAM services to assist clients gain visibility of their software assets.
The Polaris services are designed to be companions to license deals such as Enterprise Agreements, allowing customers to both invest in large license purchases and also budget for managing the agreement effectively.
The on-boarding and on-going provision of managed services with SHI is governed by a statement of work and a comprehensive division of responsibilities between provider and client (via a RACI). SHI uses a combination of License Dashboard, specialised reports, and customised Executive reports to communicate engagement results.
A typical SHI SAM Managed Service arrangement might involve helping clients on a quarterly basis with up to 40 software suppliers, but usually between 1 and 10.
On boarding Products
Once the specific vendors have been chosen all vendors and products in scope are on-boarded as follows.
- Products identified
- Licenses profiled (if not known)
- Product metrics researched (if not known)
- Measurement sources identified
- Measurement methods and tools identified
- License and Inventory plan documented
This is a good methodology for any organization to consider when looking to get up and running with SAM. Note that of the six points above – most require collaborative effort on behalf of the provider and customer. I.e. Just because you are outsourcing components of SAM you will still need resource internally to help with finding the correct data sources etc.
Addressing Conflict of Interest Concerns
As a large software licensing reseller and business partner with many software publishers, prospective SHI SAM Managed Service customers are likely to be curious regarding conflicts of interest. Addressing these concerns directly, SHI stated:
- The commercial relationship between SHI and customer is much more than just SAM. SHI ultimately wants to provide the customer with all their software and hardware – so SHI claim they have more at stake than a quick win on a licensing deal. They have to “live with the decisions we make”.
- There is no better licensing expertise in the industry than those actively selling it.
SHI currently have around 20 customers on the full-managed service, the vast majority of which are already being supplied licenses from SHI. Historically the focus has been on desktop and volume license titles, although the SHI team state this is broadening to include datacentre titles.
As well as SAM, SHI ITAM services also include Asset Disposal, Refreshes, Upgrades and Redeployments. Pricing for Polaris services is based on publishers and installs included.
Download the full SAM managed services report for free here.
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 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.