As part of this month’s SAMPanel debate Sherry Irwin, a President and Principal Consultant with Technology Asset Management (TAM) gave her view on the question, ‘What will be the impact of Cloud migration on SAM?’
Below was her response
From a SAM perspective, there are two scenarios to consider: Migration of certain SAM functions to the cloud; and, impact of cloud migration to the SAM program, including SAM’s role. The latter is addressed here.
There are significant parallels between management of software assets (and licenses) and cloud-based services, particularly as to managing compliance, risk, cost and value – SAM’s core objectives. And, SAM staff have many of the requisite skills and knowledge, as well as contacts and relationships within the organization and with some of the cloud service providers (CSPs).
Depending on the nature of the cloud service – application (software), platform or infrastructure – some of those parallels include:
– Lifecycle perspective: As with software assets, lifecycle phases of the cloud-based service need to be considered, as part of the original evaluation, justification and contracting – including termination; and, on an ongoing basis. This involves consultation with multiple organization functions based on their role in the lifecycle.
– Integrated view: The organization needs an inventory of the cloud-based services to which it has committed, over what period, the total cost, the terms under which the service is provided (and terminated) and the associated obligations and risks. As with software assets, this requires an integrated view of the physical, financial and contractual aspects of the service.
– Contract compliance: As with license agreements, agreements for cloud-based services have grants and restrictions (limits) on use, as well as penalties for non-compliance. Access and usage need to be monitored to ensure compliance by the organization; also, the CSP’s compliance in providing the service. Corresponding policies may need to be established – e.g., prohibiting sharing of userids.
– License transfer: If the software license is to be held by the CSP, the organization’s existing license agreement may not allow transfer; or, the transfer terms may be prohibitive. Additionally, the organization needs to ensure that the CSP is properly and sufficiently licensed for its business model; and, is using genuine software.
– License compliance: If the software license is held by the organization, it is essential to know and have some control over where the software is installed and who has access, for what purpose – both organization and CSP personnel. A CSP hardware change (upgrade, replacement, relocation) could result in non-compliance with the license agreement, as could other aspects of the CSP’s operations (e.g., disaster recovery).
– Cost management: Identifying and tracking all material costs, and comparing to usage and value – ensuring that the organization is not paying for unused or low-value services.
– Vendor management: As with any candidate vendor, the CSP’s business model, terms and overall viability need to be considered in selecting cloud-based services; and, re-evaluated on a periodic basis throughout the relationship.
Bottom Line: In recognition of the above (and more) parallels, the need for SAM is not eliminated or decreased due to cloud migrations, although the focus may change somewhat. On the contrary, in many organizations, the SAM program and role are expanding to include management of cloud-based services, leveraging the capabilities and successes of the SAM program in these and other areas.
About the Author
Sherry Irwin | President and Principal Consultant at Technology Asset Management | Connect with Sherry
Sherry Irwin, founder (1995) and President of Technology Asset Management Inc., has over 30 years of experience in IT/software asset management (ITAM/SAM), including license, contract and vendor management, across a broad spectrum of industries. She is widely recognized as a pioneer, expert, educator and advocate in this maturing discipline, including as an IAITAM Fellow. Sherry also founded (1992) and sponsors the Canadian IT Asset Management Users’ Group – an industry first – and is the Canadian delegate to ISO ITAM working group (19770).
About Technology Asset Management Inc.
Technology Asset Management Inc. advises clients on ‘good enough’ practices for lifecycle IT/software asset management (ITAM/SAM), with a focus on minimizing costs, minimizing risks, and maximizing benefits related to IT investments. Additionally, TAM Inc. offers ITAM education and training, including as an IAITAM Accredited Training Organization, and a mentorship program to accelerate knowledge transfer based on organization-specific strategic and operational issues, situations and decisions.