It is fair to say that our world has changed to something that is nearly completely unrecognisable to the one we were in just a few short weeks ago. Whether I am talking to my staff, customers or friends there are two recurring themes; Firstly, there is concern as to how we maintain relationships when we are unable to meet; and Secondly there is an overwhelming feeling of the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves (whether that be collecting prescriptions, doing shopping or even simply calling someone who is feeling alone during this lockdown.) I am particularly proud of my SAMGarde team who, in various ways, are all actively working in their communities, and “doing their bit” to help.
So, what does this mean for the world of ITAM..? Well, firstly its clear that the Disaster Recovery (DR) scenarios – and the licence contracts negotiated to support them – that many of our customers planned for were unable to cope with the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic; this is because the focus of many organisations DR planning has always been on having secondary sites with banks of unused desktops awaiting a throng of office-less workers to come in and start work.
As a consequence, there are a large number of people immediately stumped as to HOW they can respond given the infrastructure and licensing that they have and some CIO’s have had to take some very pragmatic decisions about how they keep their employees connected and delivering for the business.
So, aside from our people supporting their local communities, how else are SAMGarde assisting the COVID-19 effort? Firstly, we have opened up our “ITAM Emergency ™” service to non-customers, so that anyone who needs licensing guidance can reach out and get some immediate help. In many cases their concerns are unfounded, however being able to give people confidence in a course of action or to present them with options at a time of crisis is very, very important.
Secondly, Software Vendor Audits are probably the biggest ongoing concern for our customers when it comes to the risks associated with managing software. We are also aware that despite the COVID-19 Pandemic some publishers have not only continued their proactive audit activity, but have actually increased it. We find this totally unacceptable and, as SAMGarde are 100% Independent, we are not averse to telling them how it is.
As a result, we have lobbied a number of leaders in the largest software publishers, calling for a cease on all audit/customer review activity until the pandemic has passed, and businesses have had the opportunity to return to a proper “Business As Usual” standard. We believe that this will enable organisations globally to focus on keeping the lights on, and thus ultimately deliver a more stable economy.
To be clear, we are not advocating software piracy in any form but simply asking publishers to acknowledge the wholly unprecedented global situation and recognise that audits / customer reviews can often have a significantly greater operational impact than financial. Are we biting off the hand that feeds us? To a degree, audit defence is an area where SAMGarde deliver great results, a recent customer saw their IBM audit reduced from £4m to £250k and settled for £70k. BUT as you all know, at SAMGarde we do things differently and sometimes you just have to do the right thing.
One publisher has replied, advising that they are considering my request, there has unfortunately not yet been a response from the others. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn for updates on this.
In closing, you all know that the cause I care most about is homelessness, having spent time as a teenager on the streets of London I know very well the hardships faced by those without a home. If I had one hope out of COVID-19 it would be that we all move to a way of working where HOME is the norm and we only need to visit an office by exception. Aside from being able to spend more time with friends and family we will travel & pollute less but the biggest win will be that we can repurpose all the vacant office space into housing and go a very long way to solve our housing crisis…..
Stay safe everyone.