Australian Software Asset Management Association




Software Asset Management 

Relationship Management

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When entering into a commercial arrangement it is important to establish and maintain a good relationship with the software vendor. Good relationships should be constructive that meet both your organisation and the software vendors outcomes. The software vendor is seeking revenue through the sales of their software and services to meet the commercial targets that have been set for them. The business benefits from the software and services are what your organisation needs to be delivered.

The key to success in a relationship with a software vendor is mutual trust and understanding. Clear, constant and consistent communication with the software vendor is required. One important messaging that should be undertaken is to encourage the software vendor to provide solutions to your business requirements. This will encourage the software vendor to be more attuned to your business requirements and not to be just another transactional vendor where the only interaction is an invoice and an invoice payment. The software vendor will feel more confident that they are being viewed as a long term partner and they will be more open and willing to engage on a range of issues. One of the key outcomes your organisation should be seeking from the software vendor is to provide additional knowledge and access to their corporate information that will be of assistance to you in managing your software assets. In communicating with the software vendor you do need to remember there is some commercial information you do not discuss with vendors and there are elements of your software asset management program that is also not discussed.

A number of software companies you will engage are large multinational organisations that in many cases are larger than your own organisation. These software companies have a lot of resources, knowledge, experience and skills that have been developed to be focused on the software products they sell. In having a good relationship with a software vendor, often these companies will provide access to these resources and their associated knowledge, experience and skills. Types of benefits can include best practices, contact details and introductions to other organisations who undertake the same or similar role as you do, technical advice and support, technology partnerships and many more. This access can be provided by the software vendor initially at no cost. These types of engagements can be very valuable to your organisation and provide you with enough information to begin addressing a particular business problem.

If there is a good relationship with the software vendor, issues that involve compliance should be able to be addressed in the spirit of the relationship. The software vendor will have to apply their organisational policy, however there is usually a lot of flexibility in addressing these compliance issues that does not always involve in paying the standard compliance costs.

As with all commercial relationships there are limits to the scope of the relationship. Factors that influence the limitations are many and varied, which is similar to personal relationships. One of the most common limitations is the difference in the business outcomes being sought by your organisation and the software vendor. These outcomes are influenced by many factors including; previous history, organisation culture, commercial influences, policies and personalities.

In summary, relationship management is based on mutual trust and understanding. This is achieved through a period of time when both your organisation and the software vendor have proven to each other the value of the relationship through the actions each party has undertaken. Communication is key in establishing good relationships and good relationships need to be constantly worked on to enable future benefits that are achieved through relationships to be delivered.


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