How can you know when you don’t know? Slice and Dice — Prepare for Multiple Views of Budgets IT application spending can be broken down and represented in many ways. Business leaders need to break down their cost structures in different ways to provide for multiple views of the business; IT leaders should be able to do the same thing. These breakdowns are typically snapshots in time; however, this should be the basis for cost trending. Some examples of this include: Budget by business unit or location — IT organizations should be able to communicate how much of the IT budget is dedicated to supporting a particular business unit or a location. This does not mean that every organization should go to the extreme of allocating every last cost to a particular part of the business. Shared resources that support applications that everyone uses can be represented in a "corporate" or "enterprise" category. However, IT spending that is dedicated to a particular part of the business, such as business-unit-specific projects or functional applications (and the dedicated infrastructure to support them — such as servers, storage or databases), should be tracked and represented. Budget by application or application suites — Understanding the overall spending with portfolios of projects, is critical for the application planning process Budget by users or user-group helps clarify what is really going on in the IT organization By fixed vs. variable costs – you want to track those add-on licenses that you are leasing or have as a pay-per-use agreement with your vendors By vendor – group applications or products together to give an overall picture of usage from a vendor Budget top projects — Organizations must be able to communicate overall project spending and the allocation of money across top projects. This can be a little tricky because projects do not all start and end at the same time, and may have radically different mixes of capital investments vs. expenses. The key is highlighting the big picture and noting these additional details
Take this simple graph as an example: This is a trend report for one specific application. The blue line shows me the total number of concurrent licenses that have been checked out at a weekly basis for this half a year worth of data. The red line is active usage spent on this application. This graph can be used for any view: You can use it for for user-groups, business units, locations or total global usage – depending on what kind of information is critical to you in your position. Let’s say I am the global application manager for this application. I will want to know the trend in usage for this applications – is there a growth in usage – there are new users to the user community. If I see a negative trend in usage: how come – are there other products that are overlapping that they have started to use? In your organization you might have 8-10 key users of these types of reports: Budget holders on different levels, Application managers, Support and Training Staff... They could all benefit from viewing usage of these assets to make the right decision on both sizing and support levels. These reports should be easily available as templates, which can be automatically updated with fresh usage data on a weekly or monthly basis. Each stakeholder can have their own set up canned reports that help them do their job better. For your core applications, you want to look at trend usage and analyze active vs inactive time spend on the appliaciton. With this type of reports you can analize: How often do my users log into this application but not actually use it to produce any work and just have it sitting idle on their machine? Are there any savings that we can look at here? Should we set some standards that the application should be freed up and the license given back to the pool if there have been two hours of inactivity? Or would we only take manual actions against our users such as calling them up to ask if they need the license?
I can zoom in for further details about who the users are that have used this application – how much active vs. inactive time have they spent in this application? This is good if you want to look at users that could be champions for your core tools etc. Some of you might be scared to see this much details... Privacy laws.... Access controls, mask data...
These end-users have perpetual licenses. They have started to receive denials (when users are denied a license when trying to access the software). This is unacceptable for this company. Instead of buying more perpetual licenses, they enter into a pay-per-use agreement to cover this extra need for licenses on certain days or times of the year. In order to make sure they stay within their budget, they want to add a high watermark to this pay-per-use agrement: Over a certain level, the rate is flat again. This agreement gives the vendor an upside when the customer is using the software, but gives the end-user control over their budget. Both parties are happy. In this example, usage below the first line is covered within their perpeutal licenses, where usage between the two lines is covered by the pay-per-use agreement. The usage component can be billed in many ways: for batch applications, like Nexus or Eclilpse, charging by elapsed time makes most sense, but for interactive applications, like OpenWorks or GeoFrame, e.g. daily max concurrent users is a better model, perhaps with a filtering out processes that runs for less than 5-15 minutes.
What are our recommendations for moving forward: Harvest low-hanging fruit! This is always important – even more important now in the economic climate that we are currently in. There is fruit to be had out there – go and get it. Where do I look? Not just by focusing on cutting costs. That brings you back to the old picture of the ”tug of war”. You want to focus on IT Optimization. How can you do that? By tracking usage and by evaluating how you use your resources every single day or week… Step 1: Track as much as possible - Don’t expect to optimize what you are not metering. Step 2 and 3: Analyze, communicate and then Optimize. Harvest the ROI – reinvest. You will find candidates for savings or improvements in user or asset efficiency everywhere: – Don’t renew software that you are not using or underutilizing... Make sure all your leased software is needed Redeploy assets that you intend to keep but which would benefit another user or user-group better – these could be automated by setting up specific rules for high-priority users for each asset, etc. Track usage by user, user-group, location – make sure that you spend your support and training dollars where they have the greatest effect – also supporting all the silent users out there Find bottlenecks – lower operating costs Get the reports you need for all stakeholders – faster – don’t waste time on manual administration or report gathering – you can get direct access to the data you need – make sure you spend some time defining what kind of usage data would be powerful to get – every week, month etc. And last, but not least: Do not risk non-compliance.
Let us sum it all up in a success story: There are experts among you – that have used usage-data for years as decition making supprort for cost optimization, user efficiency and better management. One company that have put usage data to work for them is Newfiield. Their story is very much about cutting costs where it did not hurt the users – focus on documenting shortage – no more denials – and focus training where it has greatest effect. The Newfield success story also point out to the fact that with usage data you can communicate with much more certainty about your needs – both internally with your upper management and your users that you are serving - but also to your external partners.
Open iT Short presentation for SEG 2009 about software asset management and license optimization.
Critical Questions to Ask...If I had the right information,what kind of analysis would bepossible?Would I make betterdecisions?Can I use information for:• Documenting compliance?• Cost optimization?• Improved productivity?• Better management? Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 1
Slice and Dice - Prepare for Multiple ViewsMultiple views provide critical insights: • By business unit/ location • By application/ application suites • By users/User-group • By fixed vs. variable costs • By vendor • By project
Trend Report for Core Application Total vs. Active Concurrent Usage Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 3
Zoom in to See How and Why... Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
Enable Pay-per-Use Agreement for Peak Usage• Base payment includes “free” usage up to a limit; only pay for extra usage. Flat fee if over a certain level. Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
Improve your Decisions with Objective Usage Data! Cost Optimization • Reduce software spending on underutilized SW • Standardize versions and tools • Improve technology acquisition • Lower the costs of reporting and administration • Mitigate license compliance risk User Efficency • Identify power users and product champions • Uncover training needs Better Management • More effective communication between and within units Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
Success Stories are available on request!• Cut costs• Eliminated denials• Focused training where needed most• Communication based on data reports, with upper management, users and vendors Open iT, Inc. All rights reserved. 7