IT managers and staff need to know the best approaches for managing IT operations, but knowing about the contractual aspects of software usage is no less important.
Training for entry-level and experienced license managers - ConZert by ConSalt
Proactive preparation for your SAM projects - ConFirm by ConSalt
Ready for the next contract negotiations - ConTract by ConSalt
Software Lifecycle Managerment - ConFour by ConSalt
The most important aspect of an IT strategy is that it aligns with your overall corporate strategy while directly supporting your efforts to achieve the company’s objectives. As every company has its own objectives and challenges, we help you tailor an IT strategy that meets your needs - rather than using “strategy templates”. This helps make solutions more sustainable and makes it easier to break down the overall strategy into components, e.g. for digitization of company processes, IT operations or commissioning and managing IT (cloud) services, IT governance and IT security.
- IT strategy
- IT sourcing strategy
- Digital transformation
- Cloud assessment
- IT compliance strategy
- Business continuity planning
The capabilities of your IT organization are determined primarily by the competence of management and staff and their interaction in various workflows. As a rule, multi-step workflows are only as strong as the weakest process. In accordance with this principle, we analyze your organizational IT structure and processes on site, allowing us to make an immediate assessment before discussing our findings with you. Our focus always lies on identifying opportunities for quick improvements in the following areas:
- IT Service Management (ITSM) according to ITIL
- Software asset management (SAM)
- IT operating model (ITOM)
- Vendor management
- Cloud enablement
The purpose of deploying technologies (hardware and software) or integrating external IT services is to enable, support and streamline the company’s processes. With this in mind, the objective is to identify, assess, select and implement and/or integrate suitable technologies and IT services that meet the requirements of your company. In addition, technologies already in use regularly need to be checked for continued suitability with the aim of updating or replacing them if needed:
- Technology and business management
- IT innovation agenda
- ITSM tool assessment
- SAM tool assessment
- Cloud transition
For your staff with Software Asset Management (SAM) responsibilities, knowing the key license provisions is important – but so is knowing what SAM is meant to achieve and how these goals can be reached. Our trainers provide direct on-the-job training or workshops on basic aspects of prominent software vendors’ license agreements and license metrics. They also demonstrate practice-tested approaches for ensuring compliance (i.e. using software in accordance with licenses and agreements) and for saving costs, e.g. by optimizing metrics and agreements or pooling licenses.
- Licensing Professional (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP)
- SAM beginner courses
- SAM expert courses
- SAM manager courses
As individuals grow professionally, they take on additional duties and responsibilities. This also changes the demands on their qualifications. Our management coaching is designed for leaders in your organization and for staff members with extended software asset management responsibilities. We offer customized training concepts – from 1:1 sparring to group seminars – tailored to the participants’ roles and information needs.
- SAM and IT roadmap
- Project management
- Audit management
- Contract management
- Vendor management
Successful knowledge acquisition during a course is often verified through tests. In addition to our license manager course, which has been certified by TÜV Rheinland, we also provide training on how to prepare for SAM audits conducted by auditing companies or international industry associations such as IAITAM or IBSAM:
- Support in preparation of TÜV Rheinland SAM Professional test
- Preparation for KPMG certification
- Preparation for Microsoft MLP & MCP certification
- Preparation for CSS(P) & CSAM & PCSAM certification
Working directly with vendors often helps to prevent audits. We have found that active communication is a potential strategy. Depending on requirements, we can present other approaches on site.
- Audit risk assessment
- Compliance check
- Audit simulation
License audits follow certain rules, but there may also be hidden agendas on the part of the auditors or software vendors as well as requirements which may or may not be based on the contract, but which can positively affect the audit outcome. There are also audit requirements which, if implemented unconditionally, would lead to violations of applicable law. In over 200 license audits, our consultants have worked out what really matters during an audit. On this basis, they have developed a targeted way of dealing with license audits. Our aim is to ensure audits are concluded in the shortest time possible and with the least amount of hassle for all involved.
- Validation of technical and commercial inventory
- Establishing and optimizing the license position
- Review of audit reports
Keeping tabs on everything during an audit is a challenge. There are numerous documents to collate, systems to check and interviews to conduct with IT operations, procurement and the legal department. Sometimes the works council has to be involved and the manufacturer of the SAM tool being used has to provide support. In addition, you have to communicate with hardware and software resellers. Figures, data and other information relevant to the audit have to be assessed and the findings prepared in a comprehensible format. In between all these activities you need to liaise with the auditor or the software vendor. We coordinate the entire license audit on your behalf, from responding to the audit notice to negotiating relicensing:
- Communication management
- Supporting the auditor / vendor
- Reconciling audit findings
- Support in the settlement of audit results
When buying a software license or installing software, do you rely on your reseller’s or software vendor’s advice? Do you trust the marketing messages of a SAM tool vendor (“license position at the push of a button”)? Do you consider it sufficient to train your license managers once a year? Do you skip regularly verifying how effective your license management is? Even if you answered none of these questions with “yes”, you probably do not know your actual compliance risk. You probably have a good feeling about it, or maybe a bad feeling. We'll help you replace feelings with certainty. We identify and analyze potential compliance risks, identify the underlying causes and recommend corrective action:
- Check contractual documentation obligations
- Identify license risks
- Analyze unused software licenses
- Cost-effectiveness analysis
Generating a license position
A license position is a list of software licenses and software usage. It can be seen as the interface between operational and strategic Software Asset Management: information such as inventory or contract data can be reconciled. Deficits can be assessed and the required purchases initiated. Unused licenses can be “parked” and assigned as needed at a later stage. A license position also provides valuable strategic decision guidance. “Which software are people actually using?”, “Which agreements allow licenses to be obtained?”, “When do agreements have to be renewed?” or “Is software maintenance needed?” are all questions which your license position can help answer.
- Capture and rate commercial and technical inventory
- Design a cost-optimized license position
Most license agreements contain provisions requiring records to be kept about the software in use or requiring the company to notify the vendor of its license needs at scheduled times. Of course, each software vendor defines its own rules regarding reporting processes, deadlines or templates. We support you in generating the required documents and assist you efficiently and professionally in information exchanges with software vendors.
- Analysis and optimization of license need notifications
- Quality assurance of true up / anniversary / renewal reports
- Support during SAM certifications
Getting the best result in contract negotiations with software vendors or service providers requires two key ingredients: good preparation and lots of experience. Even though negotiations rarely go to extremes, your contract partners do aim to get the best deal they can. You should do the same! We support you in preparing for negotiations, work out the best outcome options and give you the tools you need to lead discussions in a focused way. If necessary, we'll take an active part in the negotiations or negotiate on your behalf.
- Manage tender processes
- Vendor and reseller selection
- Support in negotiating license and maintenance agreement
- Derive amendments
After an agreement has been concluded, it has to be documented and filed in an easy-to-access manner. The agreement is the basis for settling business transactions and usually has a fixed term. Contract implementation has to be managed and contractually defined deadlines met. Among others, the following questions become relevant: How can maximum benefit be derived from the agreement? What scope is there? What do you have to watch out for when the contract nears expiry? We work out the answers to these and other questions with you in a requirements workshop or check details ranging from whether an agreement is up to date to whether existing contract management should be centralized.
- Contract documentation
- Digitalization of contract documents
- Contract monitoring
- Contract analysis
- Contract archiving
Effective Software Asset Management depends on having reliable, i.e. complete and correct data on software in use and software licenses purchased. Without reliable data, all the license managers’ efforts are in vain and all analyses mean zilch (garbage in / garbage out). We know which data are needed and also know where to find them, or how to collect them with the least effort. We are also aware of the limitations of tool-based data collection and have therefore developed manual data collection methods or replacement criteria for the statistically sound derivation of data. Working with you in joint workshops, we design data collection procedures, support your data collection efforts or collect data on your behalf, and ensure that data are validated and filed in a structured way.
- Tool-based data collection
- Script-based data collection
- Manual data collection
- Quality assurance and consolidation of inventory data
Managing technical and commercial inventory data matters at all times, not only during SAM projects or license audits. We prepare inventoried data centrally and comprehensibly in such a way that you and/or third parties can make sense of them even after our project deployment has ended. We also offer support in bringing data inventories up to date. The tools and templates we use make it possible to verify and amend data inventories regularly, as well as to export the data into any SAM tool you might use.
- Digitization of inventory vouchers
- Standardization of inventory data
- Tagging of inventory data
- Archiving of inventory data
The tools used in Software Asset Management tend to be just as complex as the software products or licenses they manage. They offer numerous branched functionalities, lots of interfaces, substantial amounts of catalog data and complex data matching logic. Tools can be further modified in all areas to fulfil the customer's specific requirements, from the user interface through to the reports. In joint workshops, we establish what your requirements for tools are, assess them and develop recommendations for tool configuration and modification. In close consultation with you and the tool vendors, we implement these requirements. If required, we also take care of running the tools.
- User account management
- Data structur management
- Software catalogue management
- Update and patch management
- Incident management
Depending on the size of the company, there may be one or more license managers. The smaller the license management team, the more likely it is that everybody will have to do everything. There is not enough time to specialize on one software vendor or build up expertise in a specific IT infrastructure field. However, when license provisions are not known or there is lacking awareness of how an IT system works, being brave enough to “take a chance” on license management does not pay. Ignorance is no defense when software vendors impose penalties for underlicensing discovered during an audit. Let us help you! Our helpdesk gives you quick access to our license and contract experts, our audit competence team and our SAM specialists.
- License and contract helpdesk
- Audit hotline
- SAM Tool 1st level support
License managers spend most of their time on routine tasks, e.g. checking license inventories, consolidating technical inventory data, generating reports or answering licensing questions. This leaves almost no scope for their role as “managers”. Our experience has been that this may be enough to achieve compliance, but other topics receive little or no attention, e.g. optimizing license inventories and agreements, implementing consumption based license reconciliation, and many other strategic topics. We take care of the time-consuming routine tasks of operational license management, giving your license managers space to concentrate on strategic topics. Our team of license management experts and practice-tested procedures generally allow us to complete routine tasks faster and more efficiently compared to your cost structures.
- Software identification
- Quality assurance of SAM reports
- License pool management
- Software needs planning
- Analysis and presentation
License management is generally not a core competency of most companies (excepting specialized service providers like us). It does not add value. But ignoring it is risky. License agreements and legal requirements force companies to act responsibly. However, this does not mean that you need to provide the competence required for effective license management in-house or that you have to introduce your own tools. From a cost and risk perspective, it makes sense to entrust us with implementing license management.
- Support for or implementation of operational license management processes
- Provision of a SAM service portal
- Provision of tool-based inventory
- Support as SAM interim manager