2014 Tech Trends

Steve Phillips, our CIO, has provided his top trends for 2014. This should help provide you with best practice to address these trends.  

 

This year’s look at top tech trends from my perspective is more about evolution rather than revolution. While the list may seem somewhat static compared to previous years, the importance is in how these trends are being applied within Avnet’s business over the next 12 months.

 

Number #3

Mobile strategy/BYOD

As we continue to embrace BYOD and CYOD (choose your own device) across the company, our main question is this – how do we protect and back up company data and applications while also ensuring the integrity and privacy of the employee’s personal data on the same device? As tablets gain mainstream acceptance as daily business devices we need to have an answer to this question in 2014. “Containerization” is one approach we’re considering this coming year. The goal is to divide employee devices into two logical containers – a corporate container and a personal container. Data and apps on the corporate side can be secured, backed up and even wiped remotely like any Avnet-owned hardware. What makes containerization appealing is that all of this is that this can take place without disturbing an employee’s personal contacts, photos, apps and data.

 

Number #2

Predictive Analytics or “Big Data”

Today Avnet stores more than one and a half petabytes of data. This is tremendous value if we can present it in a way that helps drive better decision making. We’re currently in the process of implementing SAP’s HANA solution to help us do just that. HANA will give us the foundation we need to start rolling out the tools and technologies that can help us extract the full value of our data. But big data is much more than just a hardware and software roll out. In my last tech trends video I laid out Avnet’s framework of the critical elements I believe are needed to make the most out of any data analytics implementation. You can be sure our own big data journey is focused on addressing any of those elements in 2014 without them it’ll be difficult to deliver the accurate reports and business insights our leaders and partners are going to be relying on to make critical business decisions.

 

My number #1 technology trend for Avnet in 2014 is

IT Security

This year we’re going to be focusing on a few areas including data loss prevention. Data loss prevention is all about giving us visibility into what data is moving around Avnet and where it is going. That way we can better read and react to potential security breaches with the right plan of action. At the same time we’re going to be working on better protecting Avnet systems and data even when they’re off the Avnet network. As malicious hackers focus more of their efforts on targeting employees, rather than data centres, it’s imperative that we prevent our people from being exposed as much as possible when they’re on the go.” 

Posted under Big data, BYOD; celebrating mobility

The Four Keys to a Successful Software Vendor Agreement

 

Avnet TS EMEAAs companies grow in size, the streamlined individual software license model can morph into something larger and more complex: the enterprise software agreement. The variables to consider in these contracts extend well beyond the basics of price, performance, longevity and support.

Here are four additional dimensions of larger software agreements that you should take into account before releasing that purchase order:

#1 Enterprise Licensing Arrangements

Determining whether to buy in volume through an enterprise license or to purchase individually on a “per seat” basis starts with a good understanding of your company’s usage model.

  • For consistent usage, general purpose and/or large user bases – Some enterprise licenses are offered “buffet style,” meaning for one annual fixed price you can download and use as much as you like across your operation.

The goal here, of course, is to maximise the value of your investment by leveraging the software as much as possible.

  • For inconsistent usage, specialised purpose and/or small user bases – In this case, a “pay as you go” arrangement might be the best approach, with the software vendor conducting periodic audits to capture usage and true up with the client afterwards.

This works especially well with specific engineering software, financial or legal applications, or tools for designers.

The other aspect to consider with any enterprise licensing is the business relationship with the vendor. Are they a vendor, or are they a true strategic partner?

The larger the engagement is and the more mission-critical it is to your business, the more support, access and consulting services you may need from the partner to ensure you get maximum return on your investment.

#2 Substitution Clauses

As software new product rollout cycles continue to shrink, you don’t want to be tied to obsolete software through your enterprise agreement.

Before negotiating your software agreement, take a look at the vendor’s development roadmap first. Does it include options that might align with your own company strategy and future need?

If so, consider adding a substitution clause that allows you to swap out current licenses for those new products if they become available during the duration of the agreement and if they do support your strategy at the time.

Negotiating what is eligible for substitution through the enterprise agreement – and at what value – is highly advantageous in these situations. Be sure to find out:

  1. What products can be tagged for substitution eligibility? Which are not eligible?
  2. Is it a 1:1 substitution ratio, with every old product updated to the new product, or is it 2:1, 3:1 or higher?
  3. What happens if the initiative or software doesn’t roll out as planned? Will alternate licenses be offered, or will the scope of the contract be reduced?

#3 Portability

Businesses of all sizes are continuously adding (and removing) personnel based on individual and business performance as well as overall market conditions. So it’s important that your software profile can adapt to the changing needs of your business during the duration of the agreement. The key term here is “portability”.

Portability ensures that you don’t pay double if an individual in your company is let go in Month One of your enterprise agreement and another person is hired to fill that position in Month Two.

A “portable” software license allows that single seat license to be used by anyone who fills that seat, not only the person it was originally activated for.

#4 The Total Solution

Some software you purchase will require specific hardware to function properly, or specific platforms come highly recommended from the vendor for best performance.

Purchasing a full solution from the software vendor often leads to better performance and support overall, so it’s not always a bad idea.

However, don’t overpay for that total solution. You don’t have to work in IT distribution to know that hardware margins have been shrinking over the last 20-30 years, so as you negotiate focus on the software pricing.

That’s where the biggest costs will be. But at the same time don’t take your eye off the hardware costs either. If that system pricing doesn’t feel competitive, don’t hesitate to renegotiate.

While enterprise software agreements can be more intimidating than individual licensing arrangements, there’s nothing to fear.

By understanding your own particular use case and taking the four dimensions above into account during the negotiation, you should arrive at an agreement that meets the needs of your growing business for years to come.

Posted under IT Software

This post was written by on December 11, 2013

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