Corporate mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs are a common occurrence in the business world. Since software investments and their management are a significant contributor to a company’s expenses and operational complexity, it is important to have a plan in place for managing these assets before, during and after corporate transitions and M&A activity. Following is a list of considerations for streamlining this process:
- Understanding and reconciling total software inventory
- Tracking software usage broken down by organizational structure or cost-centers and geographic locations
- Managing consolidation or separation of software license servers
- Planning for usage appropriate software inventory for the following year
If there are no systems in place that track software usage in any of the companies about to merge, or if a company does not really know what software is used (and how) by people in different departments and geographic regions, getting a handle on software costs and allocation can be a big problem. This is especially true where shared license pools are in place. It is difficult to make the right decisions without the required data to answer these fundamental questions:
- What do we have?
- What do we use?
- Do we have too much or too little?
Altair’s Software Asset Optimization (SAO) solution can help answer these questions with objective metrics. IT departments can deploy the solution with data collection agents installed for every vendor daemon in the system, for all companies and divisions that will be affected by the merger, acquisition or spin-off. If the complete list of all vendor daemons is known, SAO can collect information about all software installed at a company.
One of the critical tasks the IT department will need to undertake is defining how the organization (current and future) is laid out, and how the companies and divisions are distributed geographically. Once this information is available, and users have been assigned to a specific department and geographic location based on the future organizational structure, SAO will use this information to calculate usage by department and region including peak usage and total usage in hours. This data can then be used to plan for possible vendor daemon consolidations or breaking up current vendor daemons for assignment to the division that is targeted for spin-off. Break-down and roll-up of usage along the departmental and regional hierarchy is a built-in functionality for SAO.
Usage Breakdown Reports
The following diagrams show a summary report of usage organized by Regions (geographic locations) and Organizational Structure.
The “Feature Usage By Region” report shows the hierarchical regional structure with certain key metrics such as Peaks, Total Usage, Maximum Concurrent Users and Distinct Users. Notice that the Peak values in the Peak column are not summed up to the upper level since peaks are time dependent and affected by the time zone of each region where usage occurs. Thorough understanding of usage, taking into account time zones, will help with vendor consolidations and can result in significant future savings.
The “Feature Usage By Department” report can be especially useful in the case of spin-offs where different divisions are either being split, or entirely incorporated into, one or more companies. The usage metrics are identical to those in the previous report. In fact, in cases of spin-offs, software licenses will need to be split according to historical peaks encountered by different divisions and could very well result in increases in license counts. It is best to know and plan for this eventuality, and that cannot be done through guesswork. With SAO, one can re-organize organizational structures, assign users to these structures, import these into SAO and re-do a full calculation that will enable the determination of true peaks in a potential re-org. For example, if one needs to know what the true peaks would be for ESG+HQ department in the above report, a new organization can be created with a parent department (potentially the one that could be spun off) that includes ESG and HQ, uploading the new structure into SAO and executing a full re-calculation to determine the TRUE PEAK of the parent of ESG+HQ departments.
In addition to providing deep usage insights, SAO enables administrators to execute a variety of what-if scenarios. This is especially useful for estimating required license counts based on increased/reduced user counts, an intrinsic result of any Mergers/Acquisitions and Spin-off activity. SAO’s ‘Vendor and Feature Pooling’ functionality can be leveraged before planning license server breakups or license file consolidations, and the historical usage data can be used to execute ‘what-if’ studies using SAO’s License Simulation system that is slated for release by the end of 2015.
Stay tuned for the next 2 blog posts, which will cover Vendor and Feature consolidation for reporting, and the License Simulator for executing what-if scenarios!
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