The impact of cloud on your software asset management: Takeaways from the X-change of 7 June 2017


These days, there’s a lot of hype about cloud: “your life will get easier!” “it’s more cost efficient, flexible, transparent to manage!” And much more. We wanted to look into the hype, and see which cloud solutions specifically fulfil this promise of transparency on the level of software licensing. We also examined the impact of cloud on a company's software asset management (SAM).


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Steven Wynants, Manager Vendor & Financial Management, Pan-E Information Systems at Toyota Motor Europe got things going, by sharing his experiences. He built his story around 3 key statements, exploring how to solve each challenge raised:


"As a SAM manager, I feel less in control when my company buys cloud services" was the first.

  • Vendors do not approach the ICT department, but engage directly with the business.  Part of the solution is to position ICT more as a trusted advisor, both towards the business and towards the cloud vendors.
  • When no capital investment is involved, there's no project assigned to the ICT department.  A close collaboration with the finance department and bringing governance back to ICT, was the new approach at Toyota.
  • Security and standards change with XaaS - user management for instance.  Again, collaboration with other departments is key - Security, Legal, Service Centre, etc.)

"My management feels SAM is no longer required now we have moved to the cloud" was the second statement.  There is often a perception that non-compliance is impossible with cloud, so why does a company need a SAM manager or team?

For Toyota, the conclusion is that the role of the SAM manager has hardly changed:

  • Audit clauses in contracts
  • Licence models
  • Licence bundling
  • Upgrade and downgrade rights
  • Inventories of deployments

I have redefined my role as SAM manager to include cloud services in my scope of work": statement 3.  Steven himself redefined the role of his SAM team to include cloud services:  for starters, extra skills are required to pick up the coordinating role between purchasing, legal, the security team, etc. Have a look at slides 16 to 19 to have more details on this redefined role.


As complexity has increased, Toyota now also relies on expert skills from other teams. The scope has widened as well: working with affiliates and partners, providing them with tools, and building awareness about licence compliance.


Next up was Tony Spruyt, SAM Services Manager at Comparex.  "The world of SAM has changed", Tony began, "and has never stopped changing". Guarding your compliance and maintaining the proper skillset are of course key in software asset management, as managing your software assets is more relevant than ever. On top of the SAM processes that already existed, SAM teams now also monitor data consumption: it comes down to 'pay what you use and use what you're paying for’.   


When moving towards cloud, he stated that it is important to:

  • Choose the right monitoring tool: one that is up to monitoring the complexity of your cloud environment.
  • Make sure you know what you outsource (make an inventory!), check the readiness of your licences, and sit down with good advisors.
  • Work out a proper and clear migration plan.


While tools are important, he summarised, so are the skills of the SAM Manager! To conclude, he shared a few takeaways - have a look on slide 13.


The last speaker of this session, Erik Valgaeren, Advokaat-vennoot – Head TMT/IP practice at Stibbe, confirmed that life in the world of cloud is quite complex for a SAM manager. First, Erik spoke about the tension between on-premises software and cloud:

  • Existing software agreements often contain constraints for porting and virtualization is sanctioned.
  • The integration with ERP software is frequently an issue, especially the indirect access to data is a very hot topic.
  • Licence compliancy risks:  Eric explained the recent SAP/DIAGEO case (Feb 2017, a UK judgement), and why it is not necessarily applicable to all cases, or in Belgium.


Next, we looked at the potential obstacle course for SAM in the cloud:

  • 'Feedback' rights
  • Integration with 3rd party software
  • Service monitoring
  • Availability of data upon termination


Slides 9-17 give you the full overview of potential hurdles.


Know what you sign and what is in your contracts, Erik emphasised in his wrap-up. He summed up a number of 'tricky' contract clauses you might want to be aware of (see slides 18-28). His main points of advice when migrating to the cloud?

  • Review the existing licence of the software being ported
  • Review other relevant contracts of software to be integrated with cloud
  • Review cloud provisions
  • Think about your contract before you purchase
  • Adjust your SAM governance


And his final tip: vendors may come to you (after you have signed a contract) with new documents and contract versions.  You are not bound by them! You are only bound by what you signed and by what you accepted.










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