Many of our customers have a relationship with one or several SAM Service Providers to help with different parts of a SAM solution or to design and manage the entire solution, but it is often the case that the chosen provider(s) do not have the right capabilities to suit their requirements.
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All too often we see managed services that are just PAAS (platform-as-a-service) where the customer effectively leases a hosted tool (and even worse, they are sold on the contents of the future roadmap rather than current capabilities).
If your requirement is to simply outsource the management of a technology then this can work, however you must be clear that you understand the deliverables and that you have had a proof of concept demonstrating what you will actually get, followed by a statement of works or contract that puts this down in black and white.
If we take ‘generating an effective licence position ’ (ELP) as a normal (and probably now expected!) output of a licence management service, one way that an MSP (Managed Service Provider) can help you is by providing an ‘on-boarding’ service.
This is a dramatically different approach to simply ‘throwing data over the wall’ at your MSP. Onboarding involves generating a list of publishers and products (prioritised by the criteria that is important to you such as risk, spend, contract and maintenance anniversaries, vendor relationship and even ease of completing the task!) that will be properly managed, leading to an ELP that you understand and trust.
Onboarding includes the following main activities that ITAMS can deliver as part of its ELM360 (Enterprise Licence Management) service:
- Data requirements definition
Different products and licence metrics have greatly differing data requirements. There is no one size fits all approach. Your existing discovery tools may not be capable of tracking SQL server deployments correctly, mapping server farms or monitoring usage. ITAMS can identify the data requirements needed to produce a real ‘effective demand’ figure rather than a simple installation number.
- Licence Clearing
Bringing all relevant entitlement and contract data together in the licence repository and modelling the licences which have adequate proof of purchase. This includes linking entitlement to contracts, contract relationships, renewals, upgrades and downgrade paths.
- Software Recognition
Where tools are required to detect the consumption of licences, working with those tools to configure them to recognise software and count it accurately. Verifying that the recognition patterns and rules in the solution are correct. Creating custom rules and patterns for customer specific deployment scenarios.
- Some products may need new discovery tools or data sources to provide accurate data such as physical / virtual relationships, editions, CPU data and usage tracking. These data sources often require combining before being ready for use in an ELP calculation.
- Exception reporting
Highlighting areas of data weakness, insufficient entitlement, data gaps and where assumptions have been made in the final calculations.
- Reaching Effective Licence Position (ELP)
As a result of the above activities, reconciling the installation/usage and entitlement/contract data to reach a known, provable Effective Licence Position.