Teaming up – customers profit from partner-2-partner collaboration in SAM
Software Asset Management (SAM) services and consulting firms collect enormous amounts of data (when the job is done right….). In the past, only parts of this data was used and only to close the gaps between software usage and entitlements, with, when a shortage was detected, penalties for customers as a result. We have left those days far behind us now.
Today, the data SAM partners collect can benefit partners more than they can imaging. I’d like to present just two examples where partner-2-partner in the IT industry means a bigger win for customers and a bigger profit for partners: ‘Teaming up’.
Cloud Solution Providers, especially in the Microsoft Office365 space, help customers transform their business with the use of cloud services. That is a good thing. Reality is that a transition to the cloud is far more than a technology shift. For employees it requires a different way of work to benefit from cloud services; being more productive and working more smoothly and happy. Today I see quite some cloud transitions failing because employees simply do not use the technology they have at their fingertips. Sure, lots of organizations use training and communications to let their employees know ‘we are using the latest and greatest in cloud technology’, but that doesn’t automatically mean that people will. True adoption is necessary to land cloud services.
As written above, SAM services and consulting firms collect data of the customers IT environment. The better SAM partners are able to track software usage. This means that these SAM partners can help Cloud Service Providers with deep insights of the usage of cloud services. Is usage increasing after a training but decreasing over time? Are employees using Skype for Business for instant chat but not for video conference? These facts are essential to leverage a proper adoption program for cloud solutions. And with that, when Cloud Providers and SAM Providers team up, they are able to collectively better help customers actually using the cloud services they subscribed to.
Managed Service Providers are the IT companies providing knowledge and manpower to maintain customers IT environments. Mostly they use monitoring software such as Microsoft System Center, Kaseya or SolarWinds. With this software they monitor their customer’s environment for ‘up and running’, patch management and solving issues. Still, today, quite some solutions are based on reactive support instead of proactive support, maintenance and innovation. There is a logical explanation.
What the vast majority of this monitoring software doesn’t do is make an inventory of legacy software or out of support software. Most of them have no integration with cloud applications or cloud infrastructures such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. IT can see when a printer’s cartridge is empty, but not how many people or devices actually access this printer, how many times a month and from what location. Or simply, how many people with a company owned device use the online mail and calendar functionality provided by Exchange Online?
This is data that the better SAM partner does have and can provide to the Managed Service Provider. By using the SAM data the MSP is able to better help and consult their customers, proactively. They can build future proof scenario’s for their customers so these customers can make strategic IT decisions based on facts instead of assumptions. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of MSP’s are doing a great job, but they will be able to do an even better job when they team up with Software Asset Management companies.
These are just two examples where ‘teaming up’, or set up a partner-2-partner approach to customers can actually help customers better. And a better served customer is a happy customer.