By Carrie Arbuckle, Support & Subscription Renewals Specialist
Introduction by Chris Saso, CTO
Way back in Feb. 2014, I wrote a blog about co-terming and managing hardware and software support renewals. A lot has changed since 2014 about the way companies consume IT. One of the biggest changes is a move to subscription based licensing. Security products such as firewalls and endpoint protection software are licensed on an annual basis which means your organization needs to stay on top of annual support agreements and annual subscriptions.
In 2014, Dasher formalized our support renewals process by creating a position that is dedicated full-time to working with our clients to proactively manage their support and subscription agreements. We leveraged our years of experience in logistics and data management, and applied it to the process of managing renewal contracts. We tapped a Dasher veteran for this position, Carrie Arbuckle, who has been with Dasher since 2013 working with our clients as a sales support specialist. We asked Carrie to write this blog in order to give the community an update on Dasher’s support renewals offerings and processes. Take it away Carrie…
The IT Support and Subscription Renewal Process with Dasher
Early in my career I had a manager that used to say, “numbers and dates; if you are coming to talk to me about a business issue, I want you to be prepared to talk about numbers and dates.” That has stuck with me throughout my career and it still holds true today. In my position as the Support & Subscription Renewals Specialist at Dasher, I am immersed in numbers and dates.
The renewals process is the part of IT that is fundamental for “keeping the lights on.”
Having active support agreements and subscriptions is critical to ensure that our clients’ businesses are protected against potential hardware, software and security issues that arise everyday. With the rise of cyber security threats, it has never been more important to keep the solutions we provide our clients up-to-date and under support.
Here are some features of the service we provide to our clients:
Deliver Support Assessments
Many of our clients need help understanding exactly what they have in their environments, therefore we often start a renewals discussion by proposing an audit of your hardware and software systems. Dasher has invested in software tools that automate this process and we can also perform a physical walk through of your data centers to ensure nothing is missed. The result of the audit is an installed base report that contains a list of products, serial numbers and product identifiers. For software applications or subscriptions the report will include a list of license keys and/or instance numbers.
Reduce Costs by Aligning Support with the Needs of Your Business
We take the inventory information and work with our manufacturer partners to determine the current support state and support level of each item. We then sit down with our clients, review the inventory list and “right-size” support for each product. The right-sizing is important as we can often save quite a bit of money for our clients during this process. As products mature, they are often moved from production to development or testing and as such, do not need the highest level of support like they may have when they were in production. Dasher adds another set of eyes on this important product lifecycle process. Finally, products also age out of eligibility to have support provided for them. As we review agreements we provide insight into the End of Support Life (EOSL) dates for equipment and thus give our clients early visibility and time to plan for possible replacement options and decommissioning plans.
Proactively Notify our Clients Prior to Support Renewal Expiration
My #1 goal is to ensure that our clients are never out of support. To reach that goal, Dasher has designed and written a support and subscription management tool that automates the process by creating proactive reminders well in advance of expiring renewals. Assuming Dasher has provided the product, previous support renewals or subscriptions, our system alerts me to notify our clients between 90 and 120 days before a renewal is required. If Dasher did not originally supply the equipment, we can begin to help our clients manage renewals by rolling in other equipment during the co-terming process described next.
Simplify, Co-Term & Consolidate Support Agreements
One of the big benefits of working with Dasher on renewals is that we can co-term and consolidate agreements for equipment and software that our clients procure over time. Most companies invest in IT solutions over time and therefore have to manage not only the care and feeding of the products, but also a myriad of support agreements that come due on the annual date of the original investment. We have found that we can greatly simplify renewals management by annualizing agreements that are timed with our clients financial schedules, not their procurement schedules.
HPE support agreements will appear on your HPE support website, which you can learn more about here.
Additionally, since Dasher offers such a robust product set across multiple vendors, we can provide proposals that span multiple technologies. Consolidation by vendor is beneficial, but consolidation across various vendors is something only a true partner can provide.
Plan and Budget for Future Support Renewals
Once we consolidate agreements it makes the future budgeting process so much easier for our clients. For example, your budgets for the next fiscal year may always be due in October, so wouldn’t it be nice to have a clear view of your updated support agreements ready for your review every October? Our goal is to ensure that you have visibility as early as you need to in order to plan for support renewals and future projects. This enables our clients to make informed decisions to meet business goals, and keep control over the budgeting process.
Client Advocate to Vendors to Minimize Costs
Finally, and for the financial folks in the organization, ensuring there is visibility to the costs associated with renewals is critical. The audit, right-sizing, co-terming and consolidating is an iterative process so once we have a final list of products and subscriptions, we work with our vendor partners to get the best investment figures together to present to our clients. By simplifying the renewals process, our vendors win as well so they often offer us additional discounts that we pass on to our clients.
If it is time to get your renewals process under control, please reach out to your Dasher Account Executive or drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will be happy to get together to help your organization streamline your renewals process.