In this article, Gillian Leicester, Co-Founder of Synyega, joint double winner of ITAM Review’s “ITAM Professional of the Year 2015” and the “ITAM Project/Implementation of the Year 2015” outlines her independent approach to what essential things you should check before taking any advice on software licensing. Gillian will be presenting at our UK and USA conferences – find out more here.
How independent is your “independent” software advisor?
by Gillian Leicester
I am sure you will recognise that feeling of uncertainty you get before you commit your organisation to its latest software licence or SaaS agreement? The uncertainty as to whether it’s the right deal, whether it’s best pricing and terms, are you over committing are you even buying the right components to be compliant. Everyone has an opinion informed by past experience or the CTO’s desire to start deployment. So in testing times where do you turn for advice or assurance that this commitment you are responsible for creating is best in class?
There is no shortage of organisations that can provide advice. Organisations who are accredited by or who have close relationships with the publisher or SaaS provider and should know how good your deal really is. You could ask: your service integrator who may have helped to design your solution and will be hosting and maintaining; your reseller after all like your service integrator they are an accredited partner and they see lots of deals so should be able to provide you with a benchmark; your software asset management service provider they can assure you if you are buying the right licence components to meet your needs and be compliant; perhaps even the publisher or SaaS provider will give you some assurances. How independent are these sources of advice and why should you care?
Why should you care?
You should care because you want to make sure the deal that underpins your investment is right. The consequences of a deal that is less than perfect can last for years, decades even. If you are locked into the deal whilst you write down your investment, and all the while incurring support charges, or tied into a three year SaaS commitment without the ability to terminate for convenience the value from your hard won additional discounts is eroded and you create value deficit. In such circumstances, seeking advice from a third party seems to be common sense where that third party is independent and impartial. How can the objectives of those third party sources of advice who are linked to and often incentivised by the publisher or SaaS provider or driven by the revenue objectives of their own contracts, truly align with those of the customer? A customer who is seeking to minimise their outlay and achieve the maximum value from any commitment.
We believe true independent advice is fundamental to shaking up the software market. With SaaS providers adopting many of the traits of on-premise licence providers such as the use of incentivised channel partners, or merely being on-premise providers adapting to the cloud world it has never been more important for customers to have access to advice from companies who don’t gain from the software or SaaS purchase decisions they make.
True independence means being transparent about an advisor’s relationships with publishers and SaaS providers and demonstrating the relationship does not come with a sales target or an obligation to share sales leads. It means providing a clear set of options, demonstrating the value for money in each, to help customers secure the right deal for their organisation. It means putting the customer before the quarterly sales target.
So here are three questions you might ask to determine the independence of your advice:
- What licence sales target does your partnership with software publisher create?
- What sales incentives will you or someone else in the supply chain receive from the software publisher for my deal and how will you ensure I receive them?
- What assurance will you provide that your recommended deal is the best fit for my requirement and represents best value for money and will you compensate me if I find out it isn’t?
If the answers do not convince you, the advice from this person may be good – but is it great?
Do you agree with Gillian’s points? Please leave a comment below or come and see Gillian present at The ITAM Review UK and USA conferences, further details and register here.