As part of our ongoing series of pieces on ITAMChannel, we will be speaking with a range of professionals from across the ITAM spectrum and asking them questions on a range of subjects.
For our latest interview, we had had the opportunity to sit down with John Lunt, CEO of Certero Software.
Thank you for taking the time to speak to us John For those unfamiliar, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, I am the CEO and Managing Director for Certero Software. My main role is to provide direction for which Certero follows. This involves focusing on defining the right strategies, converting them into a vision, a mission, and a goal in a manner that Certero can buy into and which can ultimately result in a short, medium, long term plan. There is also a day job which is more aligned to the daily running of the business and all the joys that entails. How is that translated into something tangible?
Well maybe this may help. Certero is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) that has just brought to market the latest ITAM, SAM/SLOE technologies via four products, with no legacy, providing solutions across multi platforms that cover key vendors such as Microsoft, Apple, IBM, SAP, ORACLE, to name just a few.
Certero also have another four products providing solutions for Mobile, Self-Service for App-Stores, Passwords reset solution as well as being a leading provider of a PC Power Management solution. All of Certero’s products run on a unique ‘platform’ either individually (standalone) as a ‘best of breed’ product in its own right or as multiple products running together, optimally and holistically as a single product/solution, which is totally unique to Certero.
What first got you involved in the IT/Software Asset Management sector?
My background is from the corporate world of IT, working for the likes of IBM, Fujitsu, British Telecom and Equifax, so mainly responsible for managing IT Services in-house or via an outsourcer, or both. Asset Management is critical, especially when embarking on an outsource arrangement, after the first 12 month, honeymoon period has ended, then having such critical information is vital to ensure the relationship and service provision can be achieved in a cost effective manner.
So, in that regard, my involvement in asset Management goes back to the early 1980’s, but to answer more directly, it was my exposure to what is now called SLOE, the compliance, optimisation side of asset management back in 2006 that caught my imagination, resulting in the setup of Certero in 2007.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the ITAM/SAM sector?
To be honest, I don’t believe the current state is that healthy. Both Tools and Services need to get better and quickly. I see lots of legacy in the tools available currently which obviously limits their ability to add value. This results in over-selling and under-delivery from tool vendors, I see this a lot.
I also see ‘tools agnostic’ services companies who project that they can do everything regardless of the tools, as the tool is not important, how inefficient and unpredictable does that sound? I just fundamentally disagree with both. Vendors need to raise their game and start to innovate, automate and develop tools that stand up and deliver against the demands of the market.
Equally, services have to be cost-effective, timely and need to utilise the very best tools and processes to ensure consistent, repeatable and accurate outcomes that deliver ‘correct’ results for customers. I am confident that both can be achieved and at Certero we believe we are leading this agenda.
There is some discussion around the ‘Myth’ of Vendor Certification for ITAM Tools, could you share your thoughts?
Interesting question. This ‘Myth’ is deliberately capitalised on by a few vendors that are to be polite, ‘misleading’ organisations in an underhand manner. This has led to some organisations purchasing tools that are not the best available through ‘fear’.
The most common is probably ORACLE by vendors on the LMS tools page. The ITAM Review and Aspera both recently put out very good articles and videos to ‘expose’ these ‘Myths’ and I would recommend that your readers have a look at them. It would take up too much page space to explain in detail here.
Further examples where vendor certification is being wrongly claimed includes IBM, where some vendors are suggesting that their tool is accepted by IBM as an alternative solution to IMLT; and Microsoft and Microsoft Device-Based Licensing solutions are ‘Authorised’ by Microsoft for thin client solutions being used such as Citrix and Terminal Services.
In summary, no vendor is going to ‘certify’ away anything, why would they, they don’t need to and thus don’t. Vendors will not take ANY third party tool as an unchallenged compliance position -period.
My recommendation to organisations out there looking for the best solution is to ALWAYS perform a Proof of Concept (POC) as it is the ONLY way you are going to truly going know the best solution for you. I would also suggest that the POC should be free, what have they got to hide?. Don’t be held to ransom by a programme that was ceased due to funding cuts approx. four years ago (in the case of Oracle), the world has moved on and the likes of Certero can prove that.
The same is true for IBM IMLT and Microsoft Thin Client, Certero have solutions for ORACLE, IBM and MICROSOFT, thus, proving the point.
Despite both being a part of ITIL, ITSM and ITAM are two different markets, do you think this in an acceptable state of affairs and if not what can be done to rectify it?
Traditionally, the ITSM world and the ITAM world only came together in collaboration in order to get basic Configuration Items (CI’s) into a CMDB from a ‘feed’ from an Inventory tool, that was it. Again, the world has moved on and the technical world of ITAM/SLOE and the process world of ITSM unfortunately still seem to be miles apart.
The vision of the two worlds collaborating to drive more value is being seen by a few, but again legacy, in their respective technologies, makes any attempts at doing anything about it very difficult with very limited success.
Innovation, tenacity and capability are the ingredients needed by vendors if they are to provide a solution fit for tomorrow, that will drive ‘automation’ to its highest level. Simple things like seeing a problem about to happen and pro-actively managing it to maintain minimal disruption to service, has to be one example that should be more than achievable. This is certainly part of Certero’s vision and I hope that of other vendors too.
I’d like to thank Mr Lunt for his time and invite anyone who would like to, or knows some who should, take part in our spotlight series to get in touch with me here.