I asked Sandi about her experiences in the Software Asset Management market and her advice with regards to auditing and inventory tools.
ITAM Review: You are cited as being the first licensing specialist in Canada – can you tell us more about what you do?
Sandi Conrad: I have been in this business for 18 years, our main business is software asset management and compliance audits. We help our clients with software licensing, renewals and consultancy. We sell licensing for all the major vendors like Microsoft and IBM but also sell tools to help our clients manage their software assets.
ITAM Review: What recommendations would you make to firms looking to renegotiate their licensing agreements?
Always look for negotiation points with each vendor. Microsoft, for example has tiered pricing so there is not much room for manoeuvre on unit pricing but if you are transitioning from multiple agreements into a single agreement there is usually room for negotiation and you have a bit of leeway to gain more benefits.
Similarly if you are aligning dates on agreements there is usually some give on behalf of the vendor (since this makes their life easier in terms of ongoing administration). Clients can usually pick up training and development bonuses with some negotiation, especially if you are in control of your estate and have a clear view of what you own.
ITAM Review: What inventory and audit tools do you work with?
I work with many tools, and make recommendations to fit the complexity of the client environment, but there are two main tools I have worked with;
Express Metrix – My clients like this because you can purchase a 60 day license to see how it works. If you like it you can then upgrade it. The software usage reports are the biggest seller for the clients I work with. All it takes is to find 10 people not using a piece of software for 6 months and they can make serious savings.
Decision LabsI have done a lot of work with Lotus Notes in the past. This tool makes a lot of sense for anyone that has already invested a lot in a Lotus Notes infrastructure and wants to implement a Software Asset Management program.
ITAM Review: What other tips can you recommend to our readers?
Here is a free tip: For those clients that don’t have any budget at all for software asset management software there are various free survey tools out there (e.g. Survey Monkey) that IT Manager can use to find out what users are doing and remove unused software.
It’s not ideal, but in the current economic climate most users will understand your motives and will be keen to help. You just need to ask is there any software on your desktop you don’t use? we are looking to renew our contracts and don’t want to waste any money. It’s an onerous task and entirely manual but it gets the job done and can save thousands on a renewal. This could free up some budget for a modern automated system.