Microsoft recently produced a blog of its own dedicated to explaining Microsoft’s Software Asset Management (SAM) programme and distinction between SAM practices and compliance oriented audit activities. Having ran a SAM programme which had in cases been used as a pseudo revenue generation engine, the message was met with a degree of scepticism by some of Microsoft’s critics and scarred clients. The blog itself however reflected a desire to dispose of any ill-use of SAM and harm it may create
The journey continues
This week Microsoft took two additional steps. Formally launching a SAM Managed Service programme which commences with eight partners in the US and UK. Whilst managed SAM programmes aren’t new, and have been delivered increasingly for some ten years, Microsoft’s programme serves to sponsor efforts to deliver value and best practice on an ongoing basis – rather than a one-time activity.
Arguably of more significance is a shift which effectively demonstrates Microsoft putting its money where its mouth is. During Microsoft Inspire on Monday Patama Chantaruck announced a field compensation and partner incentive change which aligns with the communications release in May.
For FY18, Microsoft SAM teams (engagement managers) will be aligned with overall client success, rather than being compensated only on licensing shortfalls. In addition Microsoft will no longer fund partner SAM baseline activities, instead re-directing that funding to Value Engagements oriented to business problems and solutions such as Cybersecurity.
Holistic approaches to SAM which manage the complete environment (across multiple platforms within and beyond the firewall) shouldn’t be devalued however, and must remain core to best practice disciplines. Holistic SAM approaches are indeed a key component of Microsoft’s SAM managed service programme, a valuable tool for any organization to utilize as a component of governance, and a rich data source to both enable accurate procurement and manage cloud services consumption.
Why is Microsoft taking such a path?
These changes reflect a desire to target and align Microsoft sponsored SAM activity with solution priorities. For clients that indicates motions within Microsoft, not just to sell its solutions, but to use SAM activities as a foundation for right sizing and a best fit outcome.
Microsoft’s shifts may not be reflected by the software industry as a whole. However, we might see the steps taken as a reflection of an evolution of their own organization and a desire to execute in a more refined fashion.
Inevitably as a software and cloud services vendor, the underlying agenda will remain oriented to selling Microsoft’s priority offerings. That agenda appears to be shedding the brute-force foundations of revenue recovery. Microsoft is a big ship to manoeuvre, the rudder has been turned, what’s intriguing to observe now is how its field executes the change of course.
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