It is a tough time for anyone managing a budget. Every organisation, from the smallest corner shop to the big-name multinationals, is impacted by rising prices. Most have implemented measures to reduce the pressure, through things like reducing energy consumption, avoiding unnecessary travel, or switching suppliers, but they are still feeling the pinch.
Some organisations are turning to Technology Intelligence to introduce greater understanding and streamline technology costs. Put simply, Technology Intelligence is a combination of tools and processes designed to help organisations to address today’s challenges with managing their technology investments, so they are better prepared to navigate the highly complex world of technology management.
There’s one area where waste is especially common, and it carries additional risk for businesses. Around a third of software investments are wasted in most organisations, so it is little wonder that research firm Forrester recommends a focus on cloud cost optimisation in 2023. These software costs make up a solid portion of overall IT spend, and with rising prices, they could be holding back innovative projects that contribute to the bottom line.
Software licensing is complex and understanding the available options to find the best match has become a specialised skill. As a result, overspend is common. One organisation we worked with managed to identify more than $600,000 in savings on their licensing renewal for Microsoft by getting the right advice.
Changes to licensing models by some major software vendors may also not have been accounted for in budgets. Oracle, for example, is changing the way customers pay for Java. Organisations with large numbers of employees could be facing significant increases in costs, and a time investment to understand what that is. How good would it be to have that information at your fingertips, and even better if you could use existing subscription agreements to alleviate the impact on your budget.
Where once, it was relatively simple for IT departments to know what software was in use, this is no longer the case. The combination of increasingly tech-savvy users and the extraordinary ease of purchasing cloud services means that business units often bypass IT altogether and make purchases ad-hoc. 76% of IT leaders say that their organisation purchases far more cloud and SaaS than recorded by IT1, which means a high probability of doubling up. It also prevents the IT department from seeking out price breaks they may be entitled to, based on a higher number of users. Those users, meanwhile, may miss out on a better suited software choice that enables greater efficiency and a better experience.
Like any business, technology vendors are driven to increase revenues and ensure payment for the services they provide. We have seen a ramp-up in audit frequency from major vendors. Preparing for audits is time-consuming, stressful and distracting. Discovering inadequate licensing coverage is never great. After recent COVID-19 disrupted years, where many vendors rose to the occasion by rapidly providing technologies that allowed the workforce to work and collaborate from home, there’s reason for many organisations to feel more nervous than ever about compliance.
Enforcement from vendors varies. Some take a hard-line approach, with punitive fines that run into millions of dollars, and nobody wants the reputation damage from explaining that to stakeholders. Many use the opportunity to encourage transition from older licensing models to cloud offerings, with the reparation cost running far lower when taking this option. IBM announced that its customers are required to prepare an annual compliance report that must be available for scrutiny at any time with 30 days’ notice, something easier said than done in a complex environment. Microsoft takes a different angle, focusing on using its partner network to offer compliant customers access to value-added workshops on everything from security to Azure adoption.
Aside from the financial hit, the IT department cannot manage and secure what it cannot see, and this inevitably leads to security gaps. Software becomes outdated and misses out on security patches, which leads to vulnerabilities that are obscured from the IT team. 75% of cyberattacks use known vulnerabilities in software that is more than two years old2, so this is a very real concern. The direct cost of cyberattacks, along with the hit to reputation and loss of customer confidence, can be hard to survive. Employing Technology Intelligence gives organisations a list of vulnerabilities, prioritised according to both potential severity and volume of deployments. This increased intelligence means customers can immediately identify which applications to address first in their quest to cut the risk of security breaches.
Success can often depend on how quickly your organisation can make good decisions – and good decisions rely on easily accessible and accurate data. Typically, gathering information about hardware and software licensing has been a time-consuming and tedious process, with information captured on spreadsheets and documents, often not in a single place. This effort tends to capture only part of the picture, and only at that moment in time. It soon becomes outdated and often relies on guesswork. It is a lost opportunity because, without a clear picture, the value of your data is lost.
The multiple, disparate forms of data just add to the problem: 60% of CIOs surveyed said they are overwhelmed by data, and 89% say IT must invest in tools and technologies to extract value from data and turn it into actionable intelligence1. Replacing guesswork with easily accessible and accurate data is the first fundamental step to Technology Intelligence.
So, what are the options? Doing nothing, considering the potential for licensing non-compliance, cyberattacks and overspending, is clearly not attractive. Service desk tools, spreadsheets and vendor portals can each provide part of the picture, albeit in a fragmented fashion that involves multiple, separate expenses and leaves you finding time and resources to join the dots. Or you could turn to Data#3’s Technology Intelligence 360 solution.
Organisations have long wrestled with the challenges of identifying all on-premises and cloud software in use. Meeting their compliance requirements has in many cases already become costly and distracting. In response to customer feedback, and to put businesses back in control and give easy visibility and understanding, we created Technology Intelligence 360, a SaaS solution that gives a full, unified view of all on-premises, SaaS and cloud IT assets. It monitors the physical and virtual environment, with some 180,000 technology assets managed in 2022 alone.
Using Snow Software’s cloud native Atlas platform, our licensing specialists go far beyond discovering the customer’s environment. The resulting data is analysed, with expert recommendations on optimising the customer’s environment, using detailed understanding of licensing usage patterns to identify the most cost-effective coverage. The typical licensing savings can come in at 30% in the first year, and 5% year-on-year after that, which on an overall software budget in the millions of dollars is certainly not to be sneezed at.
While it presents a single source of truth in a visually appealing and easily understood platform, Technology Intelligence actually consists of a cluster of services. To help you gain a clearer understanding, Data#3 has created a Technology Intelligence 360 Periodic Table of services that can be consumed as and when needed. Just like the scientific periodic table, our periodic table organises those services into categories and groups, making it easy for you to identify what you need and how it fits into your overall technology strategy. At the core is the immediate information needed to understand your environment and satisfy even the most demanding of auditors, with add-on elements to help you to optimise your technology eco-system. Australian-based support is on hand, and training is provided.
While the tough business landscape looks set to challenge organisations for a while yet, reining in technology expenses is a great start. Reducing risk, and avoiding losing sleep over audits, will ease the pressure further. Time to get smarter about Technology Intelligence? Explore the Data#3 Periodic Table of service elements and design your own perfect solution or contact our dedicated team to request a demo today.
Tags: Cybersecurity, Snow Software, Technology Governance, Technology Intelligence Solutions, Technology Optimisation, Technology Visibility