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How Independent Is Your “Independent” Software Advisor?

In this article, we outline our independent approach to what essential things you should check before taking any advice on software licensing. 

Etter + Ramli: Independent Software Advisor You Can Trust

Being independent does not guarantee an advisor is any more or less unbiased than someone working for a major firm.

We are sure you will recognize that feeling of uncertainty you get before you commit your organization to its latest software license or SaaS agreement. The uncertainty as to whether it is the right deal, whether it is best pricing and terms, are you over committing or are you even buying the right components to be compliant. Everyone has an opinion informed by past experience or the CTO’s desire to start deployment. Therefore, in testing times, where do you turn for advice or assurance that this commitment you are responsible for creating is best in class?

There is no shortage of organizations that can provide advice. Organizations who are accredited by or who have close relationships with the publisher or SaaS provider and should know how good your deal really is. You could ask: your service integrator who may have helped to design your solution and will be hosting and maintaining; your reseller after all like your service integrator they are an accredited partner and they see lots of deals so should be able to provide you with a benchmark; your software asset management service provider can assure you if you are buying the right license components to meet your needs and be compliant; perhaps even the publisher or SaaS provider will give you some assurances. How independent are these sources of advice and why should you care?

Why should you care?

You should care because you want to make sure the deal that underpins your investment is right. The consequences of a deal that is less than perfect can last for years, decades even. If you are locked into the deal whilst you write down your investment, and all the while incurring support charges, or tied into a three year SaaS commitment without the ability to terminate for convenience the value from your hard won additional discounts is eroded and you create value deficit. In such circumstances, seeking advice from a third party seems to be common sense where that third party is independent and impartial.   How can the objectives of those third party sources of advice who are linked to and often incentivized by the publisher or SaaS provider or driven by the revenue objectives of their own contracts, truly align with those of the customer? A customer who is seeking to minimize their outlay and achieve the maximum value from any commitment.

We believe true independent advice is fundamental to shaking up the software market. With SaaS providers adopting many of the traits of on-premise license providers such as the use of incentivized channel partners, or merely being on-premise providers adapting to the cloud world it has never been more important for customers to have access to advice from companies who don’t gain from the software or SaaS purchase decisions they make.

True Independence

True independence means being transparent about an advisor’s relationships with publishers and SaaS providers and demonstrating the relationship does not come with a sales target or an obligation to share sales leads. It means providing a clear set of options, demonstrating the value for money in each, to help customers secure the right deal for their organization. It means putting the customer before the quarterly sales target.

Here are three questions you might ask to determine the independence of your advice:

  1. What license sales target does your partnership with software publisher create?

  2. What sales incentives will you or someone else in the supply chain receive from the software publisher for my deal and how will you ensure I receive them?

  3. What assurance will you provide that your recommended deal is the best fit for my requirement and represents best value for money and will you compensate me if I find out it isn’t?

If the answers do not convince you, the advice from this person may be good – but is it great?

Etter + Ramli is your managed service solution provider that acts as your advisor, optimizer, and architect.

If you would like to learn more about how Etter + Ramli’s unbiased, client side delivery support services can help your business, then contact our experts today.

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