Building SAM into every cloud project
Craig Taylor, Head of the Cloud Team at Phoenix, discusses the importance of considering Software Asset Management (SAM) at every stage of your cloud migration to better monitor costs, manage the project and maintain compliance
“At Phoenix Software, we spend a lot of time speaking with both new and existing customers about the changes their organisation could be making to take better advantage of cloud technologies. Licensing in the cloud can be a nightmare; usage will change, costs can get out of control, and service can suffer if software licensing isn’t a consideration at every stage of a Digital Transformation project.
Using SAM for cost-cutting in the cloud
Although we have a wide customer-base, Phoenix Software works with many areas of the Public Sector – including local government, NHS, Police and Fire departments – and Charities and Housing Associations – all of which face the challenge of staying up to date with technology trends to attract new talent to the business, while at the same time feeling the pressure of having to reduce their spend.
The benefits of cloud are now being widely realised, allowing people to work more flexibly, communicate with colleagues more easily, and simply get things done more efficiently. As an example, we are now able to take advantage of great productivity tools in the ever-evolving Office 365 toolset, saving money and becoming more efficient by moving certain workloads to the Public Cloud such as Azure. Operating in a more secure and resilient environment means IT staff can focus on the larger strategic aims of the organisation and start to build a better future for the public services and people they support.
Managing software, managing change
Whether it’s introducing new ways and styles of working, or managing a different IT estate and model of delivery, change isn’t always easy. Amongst the complexities involved in migrating to the cloud, the change that brings to Software Licensing and Software Asset Management shouldn’t be misjudged. We’ve seen organisations underestimate just what will be affected when it comes to cloud technologies, which is why we help our customers understand what the best solution for their business looks like – from a commercial, IT solution, and people-change perspective.
In some ways, software licensing in the cloud should be simple. In theory, a customer should only pay for what they use, and have the ability to manage their costs in a predictable manner; ramping licences up and down as required. When it’s not properly managed, however, licensing can actually become far more complicated. Rather than a help, the cloud becomes a hindrance, making a project cost prohibitive when the business case hasn’t been calculated properly.
Phoenix Software now builds the SAM conversation into every one of our strategic Cloud Project discussions. Software Asset Management can underpin a large transformation project right up front, allowing an organisation to truly understand their current licensing position, the costed impact of moving existing services, and the associated licensing to the cloud. It also offers the opportunity to review the existing IT estate in more detail to ensure workloads are right-sized and software licensing optimized to maximise cost savings.
What (good) cloud migration looks like
Running parallel to SAM, and as part of the discovery and planning stage, Phoenix Software can also utilise our extensive cloud Professional Services team to help organisations understand what a migration to Office 365 would look like from a design and licensing cost perspective. We identify which om-premise workloads could operate in a hybrid or cloud manner via IaaS, PaaS or SaaS.
This approach allows us to analyse all the different angles of a major transformation project. It involves engaging with stakeholders from across the organisation – procurement, licensing and finance, service leads, infrastructure managers and IT Directors – to ensure that the technical solution proposed maximises the licensing an organisation already owns and ensures they select the best licensing model moving forward.
Once the project is complete, and to ensure ongoing management of the organisation’s assets in the cloud, it’s critical that the IT and licensing estate is continually managed and monitored to ensure cloud workloads operate as expected. This can mean tracking usage and ensuring that new workloads added to the cloud are right-sized, optimised and make best use of licensing entitlements. This can be done via a SAM Managed Service agreement such as the Phoenix Software Focus Service or by making smart use of the billing portals that come with Public Cloud providers such as Azure.
Software licensing in the cloud is different
Whether your organisation enjoys a mature SAM solution, or has recently made the decision to roll out a better managed process, the logistics of managing software licences after cloud migration is very different. It’s why at Phoenix Software we work closely with our customers to help them understand how to make the transition.
It’s vital that carefully selected SAM tools such as those provided by our partner License Dashboard are used as a strategic piece of work at every stage of the cloud migration, and utilised to their full potential to make sure the project execution is successful – and remains successful once complete.”