April 21, 2020 | Jim Nollsch | CFO
It appears that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are on the decline in many regions, which is wonderful news. Less obvious is still when and how the world will be able to safely resume normal business activities. As CFOs continue to search for different ways to reduce costs and improve cash flow, they are assessing how third-party support (3PS) for Oracle and SAP enterprise software can play a role.
In Part 1 of this blog series, I outlined a five-step process designed to drive a swift assessment of and transition to 3PS, should it be the right fit for your organization. In Part 2 of the series, I overviewed the first three steps: discovery, confirmation, and the business case.
Now, in this final post, I want to cover the last two steps of data gathering and stakeholder buy-in, along with my own perspective on each.
4. Gather and submit the information needed by the vendor for accurate scoping and pricing
Each organization that runs Oracle and/or SAP has a unique software landscape with unique support requirements. To run an efficient scoping and pricing process, Spinnaker Support requests specific information so we can provide an accurate, timely bottoms-up statement of work and proposal.
The information, under a mutual non-disclosure agreement, includes:
- Product inventory/spend analysis (Via a Product Questionnaire)
- Shelfware vs. Product-in-use analysis
- Common license set/support level assessment (Customer Support Identifier)
- Ticket history analysis from the previous two to three years (types, priority level, etc.)
- Global tax and regulatory needs assessment
- Global support team/language needs assessment
- Support lifecycle plan assessment (divestitures, product retirement schedule, and more)
This data isn’t difficult to collect, and most importantly, it ensures that we will properly scope the support you need and quickly provide accurate pricing in fashion. These deliverables will then help you to make an informed decision in time to beat the software publishers’ support renewal deadline.
During this step, we can also discuss your current contractual obligations and help you understand what products can and cannot be transitioned to 3PS. We can also arrange for license compliance assurance and audit defense services should a software publisher threaten you with an audit. Gartner research has shown that transitioning to 3PS is low on the list of audit triggers, but it’s always smart to be prepared.
My Perspective: This step is among the most important. The more information you can gather from your IT and procurement teams, the more accurate the scoping and pricing results. With full transparency as to your current product portfolio and support activity, we can deliver an accurate statement of work for a fair price.
5. Engage the right internal stakeholders to reach a team decision
Whether or not this initiative is being led by a finance leader, your organization needs to identify and assemble the right internal stakeholders. Transitioning support providers has wide impact and requires a team decision. If a software publisher support renewal deadline is looking, engaging the right team can drive a decision in a reasonably short timeframe.
In challenging times like this, the CFO carries a big stick. But it is imperative to engage other stakeholders in an organized fashion. The teams I speak with include many or all of these departments:
- Procurement – Perform cost/benefit analysis, drive the pricing and commercial terms process
- IT Leadership – Determine service level agreements, assess longer-term fit based on roadmap, discuss archiving requirements, and speak with references
- IT Staff – Provide product inventory and ticket history analysis, compare 3PS features and value proposition to software publisher support performance criteria, and weigh in on interoperability and customization needs
- Business Operations – Gauge how end-users will be impacted
- Security – Compare software publisher security patches with 3PS security and vulnerability protection solution
- Legal – Conduct an operational, financial, and legal risk assessment
My Perspective: While 3PS is not a fit for every organization, it has become the right support solution for thousands of organizations across the world. Spinnaker Support’s Quick Start process streamlines the evaluation-to-onboarding timeline so you can begin to receive superior support for a fraction of the cost in just weeks, not months.
As a CFO, I hope this blog series has been helpful to my peers and everyone else on the financial team. If you are enduring short-term financial distress, migrating from one software platform to another, or simply wish to sustain your stable legacy applications, then third-party Oracle or SAP support could be the right solution at the right time.