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Host: Kris Johnson, Anglepoint Chief Product Officer

Speaker: Ken Staude, Director of ITAM Technology Services

This episode of the ITAM Executive revolves around the challenges and best practices of onboarding publishers in a software asset management tool. Kris and Ken especially emphasize the importance of data quality, configuration, and interpretation in order to manage software licenses effectively.

One of the most common errors that we see is that organizations often underestimate and overlook the complexity and effort required to effectively onboard publishers into a SAM tool. And while it is a challenging endeavor, proper publisher onboarding is essential to being able to make accurate, data-driven business decisions.

By listening to this episode, you’ll learn about:

  • The importance of understanding the overall health of your SAM tool
  • Why and how to properly configure and map software entitlements
  • Why all ITAM tools are not created equal, and how to know which might be best for you
  • The challenges of interpreting licensing terms and conditions
  • And more

Episode Transcript


Kris Johnson:

Hi, and welcome to another episode of the ITAM Executive. I’m Kris Johnson, Chief Product Officer at Anglepoint, and with me here today is Ken Staude, Director of Anglepoint’s ITAM Technology Services.

Ken, we’ve talked a lot before and we’ve had other content webinars and so forth about the pitfalls of selecting tools and implementing tools. But there’s an aspect that I’d like to double click on today. And that’s the, okay, you’ve implemented a tool, you’ve done the base configuration, but now you need to do what we would call on board publishers into that tool, which has a lot of implications, there’s a lot of moving parts to it, and it’s an area that a lot of organizations get wrong.

It’s an afterthought. They don’t realize that. Oh, wow. It takes a lot of effort and skill and knowledge to be able to do that onboarding portion correctly.

It’s as good as the tools may be, right? You’ve got to feed it good data. And you may not always have that good data at your fingertips to put into the tool. I thought we’d talk about that and something we were talking about earlier is the role of a health check that we often do when coming into an organization that already has ITAM technology platform.

Because sometimes, you know, what the quality of the data, the completeness of the data in that ITAM platform, that SAM platform may not be what it seems. Tell me about that.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, I think there’s a lot to it and it’s not just publisher A, publisher B. It’s a lot of process, just like we say with a lot of our customers.

It’s the people, the process, the technology. So yeah, you have the technology, it’s working, you have inventory, but where do you really get that value and get that visibility? So, to your point, the entitlements, the contracts it’s all there, you purchased it. But really bringing those two together, that’s where people really get the value and make those business decisions.

So, going into a new organization, it’s not only for us, but also for the customer of where do we start to work together and you alluded to the health check. So, I’ve done the basics. I’ve been using it for not only just inventory and visibility. A lot of these tools have normalization of the products. That’s one of the key selling points of why am I introducing a tool that normalization? But again, as good as these tools are, everybody does it a little bit different, every organization’s a little bit different.

Did you just scratch the surface? Did you go very deep? Maybe they neglected it for a little bit of time, again that’s why the health check is to us very valuable, but we found that it’s very valuable to the customer as well not only are we looking at hey, how was it implemented for that organization? But also, perhaps there’s additional value that we can bring that they may not have known during the time of implementation. Or perhaps their asset management practice has grown matured, and they’re looking to take more advantage of the feature functionality of the solution as well.

So that’s where I think the health check really comes into the value, not only for us to understand the customer. Their implementation, but also some of their practice. How do they work? What are they looking for from that value and that health check? I think, before we get into some of the publisher focused just the basics.

I think that’s where the health check really provides a lot of initial value.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah, it is probably worth mentioning, from a managed services provider standpoint, there’s, if I were to define like the happy path, we, or let’s say any managed services provider for that matter, is involved from the beginning of, say, the, requirements analysis for the tool, the selection of the tool, the implementation of that tool, the onboarding of the tool, and then the ultimate operation of the tool.

So, you’ve, got this chain of custody that is consistent, and, if things are wrong, You know where to look, right? You look at yourself, right? Oh, somebody missed this, or missed that, or overlooked this, or sometimes that happy path for some customers doesn’t lead to a very good, happy state, and that’s why they bring someone like us in to replace an incumbent managed service provider that they’re not happy with.

And that’s where this health check comes in, is, let’s take a look at if the tool was configured properly? Has it been maintained? Where are there some things that have been overlooked or neglected? Not even talking about publishers in particular, right? But how’s installation data coming in?

Are there rules set up for, primary versus secondary sources and exceptions to those things and deduplication logic and just having clean organizational data, organizational hierarchy, HR data coming in? All of those data sources need some care and feeding because they change a bit through time and even just if you’re doing some sort of inventory or discovery type exercise to bring data into an ITAM tool, the credentials are in usually a constant state of flux.

You might be using a credential manager, hopefully, but sometimes you just stop getting visibility into whole vCenters, for example, or different clusters. And so, having to monitor those things on a regular basis is necessary to really understand, is the information, the data that I’m getting into this tool complete?

Is it accurate? And can I rely on it? And as a services provider coming in and maybe replacing an incumbent that a client is not super satisfied with we can inherit a lot of problems. Oh, sure. And we want to know eyes wide open what those problems are and just be transparent with the client.

What is the root of those issues? How do we go about fixing them? What remediations need to be done before we get too far down the road of looking in more at the publisher specifically.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and creating more problems potentially. Yeah, having recently gone through a new home purchase same reason why I got an inspection, right?

Yeah, you can see what’s on the walls. Everything looks good, lights turn on, they turn off but over time things can degrade, things change. It can change possession of multiple people over time. Maybe not everything was documented, you end up with an extra bedroom or an extra light switch that does nothing.

We’ve had a few of those, but it’s like that comparison is you inherit stuff. And until you have somebody, a third party come in that kind of knows what they’re doing, you can find out all the things that are right, but also you might find some things that have room for improvement. And I think that if you get that in a good place, then everything downstream again, will be a little bit easier, less of a surprise.

Learn a few things that even maybe the customer doesn’t know about their own solution, their own environment, but it’s also a learning curve for us as well.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah. We all know it’s garbage in, garbage out of a system like this, and there’s just no need to just continue eating garbage.

That’s not a solution to the problem, right? You’ve got to look at and diagnose, where’s garbage coming in? How do we clean it up? How do we refine it? How to make sure that we’ve got the practices in place to keep it clean.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and again, it always starts from the very beginning.

So, it could be all the way downstream from inception of where you get into data, right? And so, if you can fix the source, you know, everything hopefully gets better downstream, so to speak. But you want to put those checks and balances to make sure that it’s a repeatable process. As the organization expands, gets smaller in size, new business comes in you have a large upgrade coming in again.

It’s that reoccurring theme that hardware refresh stuff like that. There’s a constant cycle. And I think every time a SAM maturity model. That’s a constant cycle of software coming in, contracts going in things expire. So, all of it needs that care and feeding.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah. And again, we’re not just talking about discovering inventory data and like entitlement information.

It’s also organizational hierarchy. HR records for users and subscribers. It’s looking at PO data coming in from the procurement system. CMDB data or relational data, who owns an asset – those sorts of things as well.

Ken Staude:

Yeah. And those are, again, all things that are constantly changing. Establishing those practices on paper, making sure what are those checks and balances again, how do you facilitate that as an organization changes, it’s constantly changing. People are constantly going in out just like assets.

Yeah, it’s a constant review process. So like getting that health check, seeing how can we do that better? How do we maintain that? Again, all things that can be thought about or at least brought up in conversation to really fill out the program fill out the value. I think in my opinion is how can that part of the organization?

Yes, it’s just a tool It’s only asset management, but it touches so many other parts of the organization that it’s crucial to get it right and accurate so it’s trustworthy data.

Kris Johnson:

Exactly because we all know once something’s inaccurate or incomplete and people are misled or shown that hey, this isn’t quite right, Ii’s a poisoned well.

It’s really hard to gain back that credibility that is lost by misleading decision makers with bad data.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, you can make anything look pretty but you want to make sure it’s accurate and pretty, wherever possible.

Kris Johnson:

And human nature, I think you’d agree is even if you caveat it with, hey, now this data isn’t entirely complete, nor is it entirely accurate, but you can see here people are willing to make decisions based off of the information that you’re showing them, regardless of whatever caveats and conditions and limitations you place on it.

So just, you have to be careful that we’re not misleading people.

Let’s talk a little bit about the publisher onboarding. So, assuming you, maybe it’s a tool that we’ve helped select, implement configure, and now we’re to the publisher onboarding stage or we’re coming into an existing environment where tools already in place. Done a health check.

We’ve done some remediations to make sure we’ve got good clean source data coming in but now we need to look at the publisher data. Why is that so important? Why does it often get overlooked?

Ken Staude:

Yeah, I think there’s a couple different points to look at I think number one is you know, one common, very large mistake is we need to get all of the publishers in there.

I need complete visibility day one as quickly as possible. Again, they’re trying to justify, I spent a lot of money on a solution. I need to get back and get that value out of the solution. Which is very optimistic. And I think everybody would want to say that from day one, that’s their plan. Now, in reality, they’ve bit off a little bit more than they can chew.

And I think that’s the most common pitfall that we see is we try to do too much, too fast without setting the guidelines, the scope, the resources, not only for somebody like Anglepoint, but also for the customer. Do I have the right data? Do I have the right resources to support? Even if we’re, assisting them, it does take time.

It does take effort and making sure that we do all the right stuff in the right order. And really having the right stakeholders as part of that, not just the asset management team or the software asset management team, but even looking at things like procurement invoices, purchase orders, those might be in different parts of the organization.

So doing that due diligence prior to saying we want to do all publishers, getting that on paper I think is something that can help remediate that let’s do it all at once. Yeah, those are some of the big common ones up front and being somewhat selective of, where do we want to go first?

Where is our biggest dollar spend with publisher A, B, or C? Biggest areas of risk or strategic importance. Exactly. Maybe there’s another initiative going on and you can feed off some of that. So that publisher selection process, whether it’s, hey, these are my top tier. These are my tier twos, tier threes.

Classifying that, not only helps set those priorities, but also setting those proper expectations early and often and making sure that, all the right business stakeholders are involved and engaged in that.

Kris Johnson:

And spoiler alert, not all tools are really good at handling all publishers, right?

So, a lot of tooling platforms have publisher packs where they’ve written specific business logic and code to identify license consumption, identify license entitlement. For those particular publishers, in an enhanced way, or what we would consider an enhanced way, versus ones that they haven’t, that are just as complicated or nuanced, and there’s an element there to onboard into the tool what the tool knows to deal with, so that you’re getting the maximum value out of what the tool’s been coded to do right the jobs to be done. Which is not the same for every publisher.

Ken Staude:

Exactly and I think the other big thing to not justify but rationalize as well as, over the last however many years, you know there’s been obviously the big shift from here’s all your on premise software, here’s all your stuff that use is tangible and then you also consider SaaS and cloud and everything else, what were the tools built for how are they up to date and stuff like that again?

Back to the health check is really where’s your focus and is that an initial focus of yours? A lot of these tools do have additional addons or capabilities and maybe where do you start? And I think that’s where a lot of customers miss, like the opportunity to find that initial win to really build that momentum, tackling a publisher, a solution setting them up for success, I think is really important because otherwise they wait too long and don’t see that value. They don’t get that win to really get that momentum.

Kris Johnson:

It’s surprising to me how often we still see organizations not really fully understanding the level of effort it takes to properly onboard the tool for particular publishers, right?

They get that there’s an implementation cost, But the configuration and the publisher onboarding, so consider that, you’ve got to have complete and accurate entitlement for, if you want to do 20 publishers for those 20 publishers. And if you’ve grown through acquisition, you’ve got different procurement processes in different areas of your business, independent business units, different countries that do things a little bit differently.

All that data needs to be aggregated. You can’t just plug in some magic button and it’s all like vacuum suck all of your entitlements in magically, it just doesn’t work that way. Yeah, if there’s an integration with a procurement system, usually your PO line-item detail is not sufficient enough to be at the SKU level for it to even be able to normalize. It makes sense of right so your accounts payable processes may need to change and evolve so that you can actually feed this great tool the data that it is designed to consume and make good use out of.

You fundamentally may have to capture the data differently at the source.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and I think that’s a really good point. And back to what we said about that whole circle of evolution, right? So, the SAM tool has, a certain amount of scope within the organization initially. And as the process matures, as the tools mature as well, one may shape the other. So, there’s going to be that constant caring, feeding and evolution within the organization. Part of it’s by just the nature of maturing. And hopefully, hey, we don’t have this data. We can’t get as granular for this publisher, but we can for this one.

And looking back and reflecting internally to like, look at those processes, and not only can we help with, the processes, if they don’t exist. I think that’s also. Another value we bring to the table is the process part, but when it comes to the tool and the publisher you can look at it from really any angle of maturity and hopefully, we’re maturing and tracking that process and also improving processes outside of the tool to make it only better and more reliable, more accurate.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah, that kind of process maturity makes me think of what you and I have been working on recently, recognizing that there are different, maturity levels of organizations and levels of sophistication and levels of understanding for their need to do different types of publisher onboarding.

And so, we’ve segmented out recently, a basic, onboarding, which is just taking whatever you know your entitlement to be. And putting it in a format that’s uploadable and it’s visible within the tool versus a step further, which is actually doing a proper entitlement analysis, analyzing the contracts, going through a very detailed gathering exercise, recognizing that the sources that you think may or may not be complete.

It’s not a question of whether or not they’re complete, it’s a question of identifying how incomplete they are. And doing that very manual exercise of contacting different business units, different areas of procurement looking at credit card data, a lot of different procurement sources to get a full picture of entitlement and then putting that in the right format to be uploadable, consumable by the tools as a sort of a second maturity stuff.

Ken Staude:

Absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s a really good point of kind of saying, what are those quick wins up front? We can help with the quick wins, but also looking at that long-term, the holistic publisher picture. And I think that’s where, again, you’re talking about pitfalls. I think what we know is great.

It’s the what I don’t know from a publisher whether it’s inventory, whether it’s a publisher I don’t know that I don’t know. Exactly. I think that’s the most intangible part is the stuff that you don’t know you don’t know. And to your point, especially with, decentralized organizations or, who’s owning what sometimes just tracking down the people that know some of the answers is half the battle.

And they find these pockets of purchases or bring your own license, things that get overlooked, especially when you get into that cloud environment where I’m just purchasing a workload, I’m just purchasing a virtual machine. And that’s all I need to worry about or SaaS. It’s so easy to Overlook those things and until you take that deep dive that holistic approach it all comes down to that experience of asking the right questions to the right people not challenging them, but also saying, hey, we can help, we know where to guide you.

But ultimately, we still need that customer involvement. It’s a two-way street for both of us.

Kris Johnson:

It reminds me of my former software auditor days, for which I’m still probably making penitence for. But as an auditor, you’re trained to always look at different tests of completeness, right? And having completeness checks.

So, it’s not enough to just talk to one person in procurement, ask them, please send me all your contracts for this publisher, all of your, transactions and so forth. You have to question how could this be incomplete? Where might there be other data that this source or this person doesn’t have visibility into usually answering their questions from a specific organizational context that may not be the entire organization, maybe just a portion of it.

Yeah. Similarly on the consumption side, so we talked about entitlement, although I think there’s another step to the entitlement discussion, which is, okay, we’ve done a complete and accurate entitlement analysis. We’ve uploaded that entitlement into the tool, but to the degree that the tool will support those entitlement designations, which, people might think how hard could it be, to just represent an entitlement correctly in an entitlement repository? But truth be told, there’s any sorts of nuances that you might have in your particular contract that are non-standard and that the tool developers would really have no way of coding your specific use case.

There may be some more general things like you may have multiple enterprise license agreements for the same publisher, but there’s different geographic restrictions, different time zone restrictions, there may be entity restrictions that don’t conveniently get put into an entitlement repository as, hey, this particular license for this unit of measure with this quantity can only be used by this subset of the organization or this geographic area.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and a lot of those nuances, the, I would say many of those tools have the capabilities and it’s all, again, with the health check, it’s how does your organization actually work? How does it function? How do you purchase? And those are the things where you make these tools that are available, they try to make it so that it’s available to any one solution or any one customer for that matter. So, they put enough availability or function in their work arounds too, right?

Kris Johnson:

You can make it fit. It may not be a perfect fit, but it works sufficiently well to be able to manage it and track.

Ken Staude:

It really comes out to you. How granular do you want to be able to get?

What’s your business goal? What’s your outcome? And you can shape a lot of these solutions and metrics and entitlement to again, make it work. And it’s also just making sure that somebody doesn’t undo that nuance. As the tool gets upgraded, updated, yeah. So, it always goes back to, again, documentation is, I’m a technology person I can go into the documentation and read A to Z just like everybody else. However, it’s sometimes it’s interpretation.

Kris Johnson:

When we do onboarding like this and do configuration and analysis, we create a runbook that exists alongside the solution that sort of serves as that recipe book, if you will, that reference and guide so that any judgment calls that were made on how things were called or how things were treated, there’s a memorialization of what that call was.

Ken Staude:

And there you go. It’s especially capturing those changes and what I always see a lot of is, asking that question once is good. Asking it again, one year from there, two years, it might be a different answer, but tracking those changes and tracking those conversations and more importantly, the decisions or outcomes, that’s usually one thing, especially when you’re passing that baton of a solution, people change roles over time.

People evolve, people leave the organization and they, in some cases, inherit a solution. And a lot of the times, a lot of our opportunities are, hey, we inherited the solution, how do I get value from it? And can you also teach me how to use it? Because they were brought into this, it landed on their lap a lot of people get into this role of software asset management by mistake or an audit, and they’re like, this is not my full time job, so it’s, how do I run with this, where do I start from, and I think that building the, with a health check or a run book that’s just as educational for us as it is for the customer, so it’s really capturing a lot of that information.

Kris Johnson:

Especially when we’re documenting the rationale behind the decision, not just the, what was how it was configured. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then, of course, there’s the step of doing a gap analysis of, okay, here’s what we would consider the gold standard effective entitlement position, or the EEP that was done completely per the contract, per the terms of governing terms and conditions usually a fairly manual process, and compare that to what the tool generates from the entitlement upload and how it is able to represent it.

And then noting any gaps in between and in some cases they’re nearly identical if not identical, in some cases they’re different and there’s some notable differences that you need to understand if you’re going to rely on what’s in your tool, you need to know what it’s telling you, what it’s not.

Ken Staude:

Yeah. And I think doing this for many years at this point and seeing a lot of those scenarios, I’m sure it’s like from an audit perspective, there’s every scenario under the sun and it always comes down to what can you prove? And usually sometimes numbers are numbers and that’s good enough, but I’ve always compared it to be able to back that up with the story.

Justification, right? So, interpretation is, what can you prove to me? And numbers are half of it. The other half is this is why, and this is the nuance of, we might be special, we might have something that’s nonstandard and making sure that that story is told, so not only internally it’s understood, external folks understand, what that represents, as well as if and when, knock on wood, it doesn’t happen, but in the case of an audit, making sure you can back up and show your work, so to speak.

Kris Johnson:

Let’s complete the conversation with the other side of the licensing coin. We talked about entitlement; we’ve got to talk about consumption of entitlement. We’ve got inventory sources, so we’ve got discovery sources, we’ve got subscriber information, user information. A lot of these tools you’ve got to configure, all of them you’ve got to configure to be able to have them properly mapped to and recognize their entitlement counterpart, which somebody might think is an automatic or automagic process but in reality, some tools are better at it than others, but there are steps that an operator needs to take that is informed to know, okay, these associations, I need to do these mappings, I need to do these configurations, so that it’s aligned to the entitlement and I can actually have a good comparison.

So, there’s that aspect of just comparability, but then there’s the completeness and accuracy of the consumption calculations themselves. And here again, probably even more so when it comes to consumption, we see a wide variability on the ability of tools to accurately determine license consumption based on any Number of technical markers or data.

Ken Staude:


Kris Johnson:

When it comes to say IBM, for example, right? There are some tools that might be able to identify that certain IBM’s a non PVU licensed products are installed but really have no way of telling you how many licenses they’re actually consuming because those license metrics are very wide.

They may not be based off something like a processor that they’re based off of a quantification of, scans, or print jobs or, any number of things that that particular tool isn’t designed to be able to count. And so here again, we’ve created some maturity levels, right?

Do you want just basic out of the box? Let the tool tell you what the consumption is that it will or do you want us to take a look at it and compare it to a gold standard of here’s accurate license consumption with custom procedures the way that we know how to do and do a gap analysis to show, here’s where, again, To be a responsible tool user, you need to know, here’s what my tool does and does not do so that you can make decisions accordingly and not be, misled or blindsided or make a decision based off of incomplete information you didn’t know was incomplete.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and I think, we all want to dream and maybe one day AI is very powerful, but it still doesn’t fix everything. So when it comes to some of these, again, pitfalls and assumptions, and it’s all about not only understanding what the tool’s capabilities are, and this is where I think, the training of not only bringing in experts or taking training from any tool vendor, as an example, it’s always understanding how the tools interpreting it versus the letter of the law so to speak your license terms and conditions and you know a lot of solutions do have that intelligence to say this view maps to this type of purchase whether it’s you know a device or a user or processor as an example, but Person A versus person B might have two different levels of interpretation and the tool is flexible to use either metric perhaps. As well as things like, high watermarks and in some cases, you might even have zero visibility into how a product is being consumed for one reason or another. Maybe it’s just not you can’t get data out of a certain level of environment.

So there is a manual process perhaps. That’s okay not everything can be automated.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah, not to mention the fact that there’s some gray areas licensing. Oh, yeah. It wouldn’t be to be simple, right? If there was no gray area or seemingly simple, at least. Where there’s, like you said, two different people can interpret things in slightly different ways.

Publishers that are conducting audits try and audit according, sometimes not according to the four corners of the contract and the governing terms and conditions, but according to their internal policies that they’re trying to impose as if they were governing current terms and conditions.

Whereas discerning, High 10 executives would know where those gray areas are or have a brand services provider orient them to those calls and be able to configure their tool the way that they know that they’re governing terms and conditions that they’ve signed up for and agreed to abide by would actually treat those license consumptions.

And for the tooling platforms, they kind of try and give some flexibility, but at the end of the day, they usually have to have an out of the box mapping and generally it tends to side with How the publisher wants to have it reflected which may or may not reflect the actual reality in terms of conditions that you actually agree

Ken Staude:

Yeah, exactly.

And I think again that gray area, it’s a this is a representation of your environment as known. And there’s an asterisk somewhere in there and saying to the best of our knowledge, I’m signing my life away on this again, to the best of your knowledge and all it comes down to what you know, what you can prove and, being able to tell that story.

Time and time again, I’m still surprised of speaking with customers even to this day that have language that is completely different from one to the other. And even for some well-known publishers, the Oracles, IBMs, less maybe on Microsoft, but some of those big vendors, large organizations do have some wiggle room on being able to alter that language or have an amendment on page 137. Something along those lines and it’s who takes the time. I’m not a legal advisor. I’m not a legal expert but again, it comes down to interpretation and the tools allow for interpretation which is great if you know how to use it.

Yeah. Yeah. Great point.

Kris Johnson:

And so here again, this is where a managed services provider recognizing that there’s different maturity levels in understanding of different clients and their needs, right? There’s a basic out of the box configuration of consumption versus a more nuanced one that compares it to a gold standard.

If a client values that and understands what they’re getting there and the difference. Part of that is the gap analysis. So, here’s what the tool knows how to represent versus the gold standard and here are the differences.

And there are some workarounds that we can do from a mediation standpoint to get it closer to the gold standard, but oftentimes if it’s a large strategic publisher that you’re at potential risk of audit you probably want to be managing those publishers in an enhanced way, which means let the tool do what the tool is designed to do as best as it can, configure it as best as it can, so you’re getting the max value out of how it’s been designed, but then supplementing that with additional custom procedures to get to a full complete picture so that you don’t have any surprises, can drive the right level of optimization, reduce the waste, get the cost savings, and surprises.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, I think that’s always the way to look at it. Whether you’re at high risk, I think everybody’s at risk of an audit. Let’s just be real. If it’s, if it hasn’t happened …

Kris Johnson:

With the uptick that we’ve seen in the last 3 years.

Ken Staude:

It hasn’t happened to you as a customer, I think that’s the one thing to, you always want to be prepared.

And I think just like the reason you have insurance, right? It’s not if, it’s when, and you want to have it when you’re ready. And just like anything else, it’s creating that visibility and being as ready as possible, if not prepared and over prepared and making sure that you review it on a regular basis too.

And I think that goes back to the health check. And with a lot of our managed services customers, doing an annual health check, a quarterly health check just to reassure that, hey, everything’s still working. Ask some of those questions again, because things change. And just hey, baselining where you were year one versus year two, year three.

It’s always a good time to go back and challenge yourself and make sure it does our process work. Have we been able to maintain that? And I think where we see a lot of customers have success is in that. Repeatable process and doing that constant review. Again, things change, and things get forgotten, people change, so making sure that documentation is updated, that process is updated, both in the tool solution or even a process.

Kris Johnson:

As you mentioned, that’s so that you can manage your compliance risk, but also so that you can reduce your waste and reduce your consumption that is unnecessary. Having the confidence to know what your actual license position is, so you don’t have to overbuy, confident that you’re not underbuying, that you can buy what you need and be using what you need.

Ken Staude:

Yeah, and I’ve alluded to this before, but as the cloud becomes easier to consume. It’s one area SaaS is, it’s easy to consume. I think we will continue to see that trend, right?

Kris Johnson:

Publisher marketplaces are easy to transact in, but very hard for procurement organizations to have visibility into.

Ken Staude:

Yeah. So, tying all these systems together, just, it’s all about visibility and hopefully over time, again, maturity reduces. All those, pitfalls to an extent, as best you can. Let’s be real. We’re humans and until AI puts a foot in the door a little bit in some of these areas, there’s still going to be that human interaction, that human knowledge that addresses some of the gray area, the situational things.

And that’s why, having that trusted advisor on the licensing, the publisher, the tooling it’s always that room for improvement as well.

Kris Johnson:

Yeah. Thank you for the time, Ken. Great to have you in the studio. To our audience, as you maybe heard me say before, a fool with a tool is still a fool.

And there’s frankly no reason to keep being a fool, get the help that you need to educate yourself and understand how to get the best value out of your tooling investments.

Ken Staude:

Absolutely. Glad I could be here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ken or Kris, connect with them on LinkedIn.

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