How to get your maintenance renewals under control
If your organization always wants the latest and greatest products and most up-to-date support, chances are you buy your software and hardware maintenance from various manufacturers. The question is: How do you manage all of your purchases while ensuring you’re not overspending?
Renewal management can be complicated, involving a kaleidoscope of factors that can turn a simple process into a field full of potential land mines, including overspending and non-compliance. Here are some of the challenges IT organizations face while managing renewals and how to solve them.
1. Myriad buying programs. Every business unit has its own unique mix of hardware and software needs. When it comes to licensing Microsoft products, for example, some organizations excel with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to license a particular number of seats at any time for any product. Other organizations utilize a Select Agreement to buy what they need when they need it. With other publishers, some parts of your organization might still rely on perpetual licenses while others need options like the subscription-based Adobe Creative Cloud. The range of potential ongoing agreements in any company is vast, and renewal dates are unlikely to align, creating the potential for under-licensing or budgetary “gotchas” if the various renewal dates aren’t closely tracked.
2. Multiple employees managing buying programs. Larger organizations have licenses with more manufacturers and for more products than any one person can manage alone. Of course splitting the workload, whether by division or manufacturer, reduces visibility into organization-wide renewal dates. Having employees manage licensing in a silo also limits potential cost-savings and cost-avoidance advantages for future licensing, as employees might not be aware that their combined purchases qualify them for the next level (price break) of cost-savings.
3. Manual tracking. Renewals for various buying programs are often tracked in manual solutions like Excel spreadsheets, which open up the potential for errors and, in turn, either overspending or under-licensing. Given the complexity of managing licenses from multiple manufacturers, for various types of agreements, through different employees, and for renewal dates that don’t typically line up, organizations need a strong software asset management tool. Without one, organizations can lose sight of what they’re currently licensed for, leading to the purchase of licenses that aren’t needed. Or, perhaps worse, compliance lapses can draw costly lawsuits.
What to look for in a renewal management solution
Through automated renewal management tools, organizations can avoid these problems, prevent overspending, maintain compliance, and better plan for future organizational needs. Look for a solution that tracks renewals by manufacturer, including SKUs, product titles, quantities, expiration dates, and purchase order numbers as well as one that offers quick visibility into upcoming renewals, allowing your organization to better understand what it’s currently licensed for and proactively plan for changing needs before renewal dates arrive.
If you’re an SHI customer, we offer a free tool called Polaris Renewal Organizer (PRO) Timeline that tracks maintenance renewals up to 36 months. Apart from tracking all the data about licenses across an organization, it also can export the data to a spreadsheet to share with anyone in the organization involved in IT purchasing decisions.
Since launching three years ago, the PRO Timeline has attracted more than 5,600 organizations to help them manage more than 16,000 individual timelines. And we’re adding an average of 43 new organizations to the program every week. If you’re an SHI customer and aren’t yet using PRO Timeline, set it up by contacting your account executive today.