License to Bill? Complex IT should mean simple licensing.

One of the hot topics coming out of this year’s User Group conference was the issue of licensing. As I highlighted in my keynote speech, one thing all users want is greater transparency. However, whether or not we get it is another matter.

Much as we’d like to think otherwise, IT is becoming more complex. Broader IT trends such as virtualisation and cloud computing are certainly adding to this. Indeed, our own recent survey of SAP users showed that 80% expect their SAP implementations to be a mixture of on-premise, on-demand and on-device services. However, as this complexity increases so does the complexity of licensing.

Ideally, the opposite should be true: as IT becomes complex, licensing should become as simple as possible so that vendors and users both know exactly what they are offering and what they are getting in return. This is especially true as the ways in which we supply and access our IT evolve and so provide even more ways for licensing to change.

Vendors need to show not just clarity but flexibility in their licensing, providing options to suit the changing requirements of today’s business while at the same time enabling customers to see exactly what they are getting in a concise, understandable manner.  In a world that often seems to be changing by the minute, the predictability this gives will be essential. For our part as users, we need to make sure we are getting the maximum bang for our buck and not paying over the odds.


One Response

  1. Alan – a good point well made.

    Also, as users you need to know what you need to buy, before starting negotiations. Going into a discussion with SAP, or any other vendor, before you’ve completed a high level design/requirements piece of work and translated that into an inventory of required products, is just asking for trouble.

    There is a great temptation to start negotiations with SAP as soon as you’ve decided to ditch your legacy systems, without engaging assistance to interpret what product components are really required. If you leave it to SAP to “help” you, then you might just end up with a shopping list of things that you don’t really need and are unlikely to use, and which will just add complexity to your implementation.

    Start by knowing what your business objectives are; work out the conceptual/high level design and decide what things are going to enable that vision – then discuss with the vendor, not before. That’d be some of my advice.

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