Software Asset Management (SAM) – or how to take control, quantify risk, identify, and optimise opportunities for Software Assets – is it relevant to Oracle Cloud Fusion SaaS? The answer is yes, more than ever. Perhaps the name ‘SAM’ isn’t quite such a good fit as it was, but the rigour and governance provided by SAM experts is as relevant as ever, maybe even more so. Read on.
Oracle Fusion Cloud is a SaaS service (Software as a Service) to which you subscribe. You typically pay for three to five years access to certain applications via a service, which means all infrastructure is hidden from you as a consumer. Crucially, you never ‘own’ a license to access a service; there is no asset acquired and the subscription is an operating cost paid in advance (OpEx). The management of Fusion Cloud (and any other cloud service) therefore ceases to be true ‘asset’ management.
By moving from on premise licensing to cloud subscriptions (best considered as an indivisible service and license) you have gone from needing to manage software assets (CapEx) and software costs (OpEx), to managing ‘just’ a service cost (OpEx). Sounds like life has just become easier and you don’t need that Software Asset Management anymore!
· Firstly, most companies will continue to retain a mixture of traditional on premise software use and cloud service use, so there are still assets to be managed. SAM offerings have almost always factored in the ongoing management of both CapEx (the license right) and OpEx (on-going support, maintenance, and upgrades) costs, the latter now including both software costs and service costs, so if anything, there is added complexity.
· Secondly, and far more significantly, the benefits of a SAM service; control, quantifying risk, identifying, and optimising opportunities, are as relevant as ever with SaaS.
Let me explain.
Fusion Cloud SaaS contracts typically range from $1.5m up to $15m+ for 5 years so they are not insignificant. They still have a contract lifecycle, so you still need to understand the commercial terms of the Oracle Cloud Services Agreements, the Order documents, Oracle Cloud Service Agreement Policies, Software as a Service Policies, SaaS Cloud Services Pillar Documents etc. and how they impact your use across the lifecycle of your cloud SaaS subscription. Your subscriptions will still need to be managed to ensure you have enough service provision. You will still need to identify under and over utilisation and take steps either commercially or ‘physically’ to remodel usage.
As most cloud service consoles provide you with monthly reports at the click of a button, it should be much easier to keep control, shouldn’t it? It is easy for you to spot over consumption, but it is also easier for Oracle to spot it too.
Using the monthly subscription reports to spot potential over-consumption is the easy bit. The tricky bit is knowing what to do next. Ask yourself these questions.
· What is triggering the over consumption?
· How do we rectify it?
· Are there products which don’t show a measurement?
· Are there services that could be made more use of?
· Is all our use necessary or are overly ‘generous’ roles applied wholesale across our user base, inflating usage?
· Is auto-provisioning causing issues?
· Are our subscriptions a good fit for our consumption?
· Do we try to renew for just one year or two?
· Will the new (post 2020) SKUs work out favourably for us?
· What if we want to start using a new product?
· Why is the report showing that we are using a service that we weren’t expecting?
· If we onboard a new company, do we have enough headroom on the subscriptions?
· Can we use our existing subscriptions and cloud contract to cover the new company?
· What happens with our on premise licenses?
· If we want to add usage do any of our current SKUs include the new functionality that we want to use?
… I could go on.
Managing cloud service usage has many of the same complexities as managing on premise licenses. Yes, you have more day-to-day visibility but essentially that is the only change, and remember if you have more visibility so does Oracle. The skills of an expert SAM team (who understand these products) are just as relevant for a Fusion Cloud SaaS ‘install’ (instance) and contract as they are for an on premise EBS install and license set.
‘Cloud governance is a challenge.’ Anonymous customer
You don’t know what you don’t know – a customer who thinks cloud SaaS governance and management is easy is either very experienced or hasn’t yet had to get to grips with it. In our experience customers are finding cloud Fusion SaaS harder to manage than they expected.