Software Deployment Best Practices

By Tracy Toth

Enterprise-wide software deployments are important milestones in the life of growing organisations. Whether the company is facing the deployment of a Microsoft volume licensed solution or the enterprise-wide implementation of another software solution, it’s imperative that the deployment occur on time, on budget and in a manner that optimises the return to the organisation.

In enterprise organisations, successful software deployments are typically grounded in a handful of best practices:

  • Strategy Development. Effective software deployments hinge on sound strategy, including the development of a robust Software Asset Management (SAM) plan. If it’s done right, SAM has the ability to optimise the organisation’s software investments and create a solid foundation for a more intentional deployment process.
  • Process Clarity. Many organisations prioritise the development of a deployment strategy, but then fail to communicate the details of the process to stakeholders across the enterprise. The best enterprise deployments priority organisational clarity in the roles, responsibilities, procedures and intended outcomes associated with the deployment.
  • User Engagement. The ultimate gauge of success for any software deployment is its value to end-users. Consequently, effective deployment processes look beyond the mechanical aspects of the deployments and target user engagement through end-user training, help desk support and other features.
  • Asset Retirement Planning. First-rate software deployments address the full lifecycle of software assets, including software retirement planning. Organisations that don’t pay sufficient attention to the redeployment, transfer or disposal of deployed solutions eventually suffer from cost inefficiencies and other endgame snafus.

Finally, collaboration with a qualified software deployment consultant can also be an essential best practice in enterprise organisations. Datacom consultants are available to help your organisation master the deployment of Microsoft volume licensed solutions and other software assets that are integral to your enterprise.

How Software Asset Management Gives Companies a Competitive Edge

By Tracy Toth

Software is a key competitive element in complex, enterprise organisations. Highly optimised software assets equip the enterprise with the resources and efficiencies it needs to compete in the global marketplace, while poorly managed software programmes limit the organisation’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and competitive pressures.

Software asset management (SAM) methodologies inevitably enhance the enterprise’s ability to compete by providing information that is critical for timely decision-making. Leveraging a strong SAM programme,Microsoft volume licensing and related software decisions can be made more rapidly and with better information than the competition, allowing the organisation to exploit opportunities in the marketplace.

SAM also allows enterprise organisations to achieve a scalable approach to MS software deployments. Since software is closely matched to the enterprise’s actual business needs, deployments are more efficient — but increased software capacity and functionality can be quickly achieved should the enterprise find itself poised for rapid growth or expansion.

In enterprise-level organisations, mergers and acquisitions are part of a normal growth process. But in many cases, mergers frustrate the organisation’s ability to compete in the short-term due to IT and software challenges. Software asset management enhances the organisation’s ability to compete by targeting software-related challenges and helping the organisation make better use of its existing software assets.

Finally, organisations that leverage SAM methodologies and technologies are better able to compete because personnel are focused on business activities. Rather than wasting their time on Microsoft licensing issues or IT snafus, workers can dedicate their time to core competencies and functions that generate additional revenue for the organisation.

Tap Into the Power of Software Deployment Consultants

By Tracy Toth

Software deployments that exclusively leverage internal IT stakeholders are viable in small organisations. But as the organisation grows, the issues and challenges become more complicated — and the need to tap into the power of an external software deployment consultant comes into much sharper focus.

At Datacom, we specialise in helping enterprise organisations maximise the value of Microsoft volume licensing and other software asset management tasks. We’ve seen firsthand how the use of external software consultants can free up internal IT resources for value-added tasks.

But more importantly, we’ve discovered that our experience with a range of companies helps our clients avoid implementation delays and other missteps that have a real dollar cost to the enterprise.

For example, in many cases, consultants offer software deployment automation software and ancillary services (e.g. help desk support or end-user training) that streamline the process and generate efficiencies in the implementation of enterprise solutions. A server virtualisation programme can also be a smart move because it allows new systems to be deployed with reduced hardware costs.

Every organisation is different. One may be wrestling with delivering core infrastructure support services across distinct business groups. Another may have a more technical priority, such as moving key software assets to a cloud-computing platform. Still others may simply be in an exploratory mode — wondering how their software deployment and software asset management infrastructure can be improved upon. By working with a large and experienced software deployment consultant, enterprises can ensure that their needs are met.

With good software deployment consultants on the project, the work will get done and internal resources become more productive. Leveraging a combination of expertise and resources, consultants ensure that deployments stay on schedule and on budget — critical objectives for organisations that are depending on a software deployment to achieve targeted business goals or growth objectives.

Finally, enterprises purchase software to increase organisational productivity. If the deployment of the software acquisition is bungled, it has an adverse effect on ROI and can unleash a cascading set of problems on the organisation. By utilising a software and desktop deployment consultant, the organisation gains the ability to maximise both ROI and the outcomes generated by the solution across the enterprise.

If your information technology assets are spiraling out of control, or if you think there’s room for improvement, it’s a good idea to have an initial conversation with a third-party consultant to see what ideas they might have on how you can take things to a higher level.

How to Get the Most Out of Microsoft Volume Licensing

By Lauren Fritsky

It’s no secret that Microsoft volume licensing can create significant cost efficiencies for businesses and enterprise-level organisations in Australia.

But optimised Microsoft volume licensing isn’t automatic – it’s the result of careful analysis and the incorporation of strategies designed to maximise the effectiveness of Microsoft software deployments across your enterprise.

For starters, the volume licensing process should begin at least three months prior to the expiration of your current licensing agreement. This provides adequate lead time to get your volume licensing strategy and execution right.

Once underway, the volume software licensing process begins with a thorough understanding of the organisation’s current licensing environment, including an in-depth evaluation of your software asset management (SAM) programme.

During this stage of the process, it’s advisable to perform a comprehensive assessment of the installed software base, paying attention to issues like existing contract terms, license types and entitlements, quantities and other variables that will inform enterprise agreement (EA) renewal.

After you have completed an analysis of your current licensing environment, your decisions regarding the scope of your licensing renewal will be determined by your standardisation goals and deployment objectives.

As you map out your needs, it’s a good idea to create a six-year financial forecast (two software upgrade cycles) to fully assess the financial outcomes associated with licensing renewal. This is especially important as more and more organisations opt for license mobility and the flexibility to deploy software hosted by service providers in the cloud.

Once you have your current state and desired future state in hand, you’re ready to evaluate your volume licensing options. Making the right choices is critically important. For example, licensees that have standardised on a primary suite of Microsoft products, require Windows 7 Enterprise features or subscribe to the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) usually find that a Full Platform EA is the most appealing renewal option. In contrast, organisations that have mixed software requirements or are interested in standardising on a limited selection of Enterprise Products might do better with some of the other Microsoft enterprise software licensing alternatives.

To get the best possible results, it’s a good idea to tap into the expertise of IT consultants that have a strong track record in Microsoft volume licensing. Our Datacom consultants, for example, will often find ways that our clients can save as much as 40 percent on their Microsoft software licensing costs.

In an economy where every penny counts, those savings drop directly to the bottom line. More importantly, getting the right software into the hands of your employees will enhance organisational productivity, which can drive even more profits and give you a huge leg up on the competition.