SITUATION & BUSINESS CHALLENGE
The new CTO of an American chain of luxury department stores wanted to optimize software expenditures by eliminating duplication across divisions and ensuring that the organization planned and maintained a strategy around the issuing and management of software licenses.
To achieve this goal, the CTO issued a directive that any software renewal over a certain dollar amount would require review. The directive required the software asset team to develop a new process and solve some key challenges, such as:
- Stakeholders involved in enterprise asset management, procurement, vendor management, as well as individual business managers, had their own responsibilities regarding software assets.
- Software asset management information was distributed throughout the organization without any kind of central knowledge share.
- Because of the disparate storing of information, software asset, contract and licensing information mainly existed in individual contracts and purchase orders among the various teams. When contract renewals arose that might require CTO review, reviews were necessary across the teams to locate and collect the proper information—a tiresome and sometimes inaccurate process.
Recognizing the need for more cohesion and visibility within the software renewal process, IT and stakeholder teams began to craft a solution to unite software licensing information from across the organization and help the teams manage the license renewal process, but a lack of direction in the early stages, particularly regarding how to assemble content for proper review, stalled their efforts.
At the time, the retail chain was already leveraging AIM Consulting for other projects. Upon learning the struggles that the software asset management team was having, an AIM Enterprise Service Management Principal Consultant took over the project.
The AIM consultant began by interviewing 3–4 members from each stakeholder team to understand their processes, roles, and responsibilities regarding software license renewal. The interviews revealed numerous gaps and duplicative processes in how information was getting shared across the teams.
Next, the AIM consultant consolidated the information from the interviews and presented to the IT teams. This effort led to a thorough understanding of the overall software renewal lifecycle.
From this initial research, the AIM consultant developed a prototype in Jira, gathered initial feedback, and updated the solution accordingly.
The final solution consists of several dashboards for executive use and Kanban boards built in Jira for the stakeholder teams to execute against the renewal lifecycles of the software they manage. To manage a software renewal is essentially a lifecycle in Kanban, with individual contract renewals represented as work items. The executive dashboards compile different reports, with detailed histograms of all upcoming software license renewals by month, enabling drill-downs into all the renewals for certain periods of time.
When a software asset comes up for renewal, this solution helps to manage the review process, streamlining the work during owner reviews, asset reviews, vendor management reviews, and the CTO review. Once the review process is complete for a software asset, the record is recycled into the backlog so that all renewal notes, previous risks and recommendations, and other pertinent information that went into the decision is available during the next renewal period.
The comprehension, speed and dexterity with which AIM developed the solution was a huge win for the office of the CTO. Stakeholders are elated over how the solution has simplified the software license renewal process across the enterprise and empowered them in many ways:
- Increased insight and control by leadership over the timing, cost structures, and other details of software license renewals.
- A much more consistent set of roles and responsibilities across all stakeholder teams, leading to improved cross-collaboration.
- The removal of duplicative work.
- One consistent record of renewal, eliminating the need to search through siloed documents and data.
- Reduced risk of unnecessary auto-renewals from simple awareness of when renewals are approaching.
Additionally, centralizing renewal information led to reduced risk of losing proprietary information if an employee who worked on the renewal of a specific asset should leave the company.
Finally, the company has more power during renewal negotiations due to not being rushed at renewal times and from all the recorded insights associated with the renewal, including what the vendor was willing to do the last time around. The ultimate result is substantial opportunity for efficiency gains and cost savings for the organization.