Hard work is part of our mindset and customer satisfaction our best reward. That’s why we have been very happy to launch SamBox.io in 2019, and we have exciting plans for 2020. We do thank our customers for the support they have provided to us so far, and will be looking forward to meeting them (and new ones !) during this new year.
We wish to all of you that your job brings you happiness, career success, moral satisfaction, warm trustful relationships in the coming year.
This is direct question for those who might want to know more about our positioning, and more globally to compare our tool to other tools in the market.
Let’s figure it out, positionning is close to strategy, and what we strongly believe on. So let me provide an answer in 3 sections.
Where do we stand today compared to our competitors & partners ?
The comparison matrix below shows where we stand compared to other SAM Tool providers across 10 key characteristics:
SAM Tool providers like Snow, Flexera, Aspera, ServiceNow…
1) SW Coverage
Only Windows Server/System Center, or SQL Server, or Oracle Database & Middleware so far
Very Wide (almost all SW Vendors)
2) Acquisition of SAM Tool
100% Online Public prices, online payment, immediate provisioning of service
Traditional approach (meeting with sales, quotes, negotiation, deal, installation)
3) Technical Integration / Installation
No need 100% SaaS, immediate use
Required Technical architecture depends on the number of devices to be inventoried, and scope of SW to be addressed
4) Ingestion of Acquisitions & Entitlements
Fast Only needed for the delineated SW scope being analyzed. To be filled in into Excel
Requires functional integration (via consulting services, or training of users). To be filled in into the SAM Tool
5) Ingestion and/or setting of licensing rules
No need Specific engine for each SW Product family, including all detailed licensing rules & specificities
Requires functional integration (via consulting services, or training of users). To be filled in into the SAM Tool
6) Discovery capabilities
Focused on the SW Product family Through connectors or dedicated scripts
Very Wide (almost all SW Vendors)
7) Data Quality
Data quality directly driven on the delineated SW scope being analyzed Quality can then easily be improved, directly in the Excel spreadsheet
Data quality indicators for the global SW Scope Not necessarily easy to know what is wrong for one dedicated SW Compliance snapshot
8) Compliance calculation
Immediate & fully automated
Depends on the SAM Tool Calc can be quite long, and quite complicated to refresh if input data needs to be modified.
9) Optimized Compliance snapshot – best license allocation scheme
Immediate & fully automated
Depends on the SAM Tool Very limited capabilities; requires human being in-depth SAM knowledge to optimize
10) Support on licensing rules
Included Immediate access to licensing expert
On top via consulting services or profesionnal services
OK, and why such a positioning ?
SamBox.io has been released late 2019 whereas SAM Tools like Snow Software, Flexera, Eracent, 1-E, Ivanti … were first introduced 5 to 10 years ago. But Elée, who is the SamBox.io publisher, is also a 9 year old SAM consulting company, pure player, with a very strong record of SAM projects in many customer environments, on many SW Vendors. That is the benefit of hindsight. For the past 5 years, we have worked on many SAM Tool integration projects, and we do have a good overview of key success factors for such projects, associated benefits, but also sometimes the hurdles and all the difficulties which can make such projects quite complex. That is why, before releasing SamBox.io, we have taken a step back and analyze the situation.
Traditional SAM Tools are very powerful because they usually embedd very extended discovery capabilities, they cover the widest scope of Softwares as possible, very large catalogs of SKU, of Software Signatures, and they are very adapted for global SAM steering within a large company (many vendors, many indicators to follow, overall performance of SAM).
The thing is that such SAM Tools are like ERP for licenses, and like for any other ERP Software, when you invest 1$ in the SW, you need to invest 5 to 10$ on integration services to make it work. ROI exist, definitely, but likely more on a 3-5 year cycle than on a 12 to 24 months expected max period. Customers are not always prepared to that, and we have faced a lot of situation where integration services budgets were then too much compressed. Unfortunate consequences are:
lack of reliability on license positions (with then still a high level of risk when audits raise),
the feeling that the company does not get the value for money…
… and the overall legitimacy of the SAM members being challenged into the company (versus outsourced managed services for example).
SamBox.io has then been thought to be a tool that does not cover an area of softwares as wide of traditional tools, but that eases as much as possible the SAM cycle on very well delineated perimeters. Key characteristics of SamBox.io are then :
Built on verticals, each of them adressing one accurate and delineated scope of softwares (1 vertical for Windows Server/System Center, 1 vertical for SQL Server, 1 vertical for Oracle DB & middlewares, and other verticals to come in 2020),
Fast running of a full license position from data collection to optimized balance, in a couple of clicks (less than 10 clicks, 10 min computation time end to end),
Highest level of reliability and optimization on the vertical (including a unique easy-going data quality improvement feature),
No integration or consulting services needed, no hidden cost, fastest ROI in the market.
With such a differentiating approach, we know that we will never cover the same wideness of SW vendors than traditional SAM Tools, but our moto is to focus on the verticals where value for money are the highest:
Software scope that generally represents a large spend on IT budget,
Software scope that have complex licensing rules, tricky contracts that are hard to manage and control,
Software scope for which financial stakes are high (either to mitigate compliance risks, and/or to optimize and generate savings),
Software and services either on premise or delivered by Cloud providers.
Concretely, we believe that you should not need us to calculate your license position on Microsoft Visio or Projects, but for complex Microsoft metrics, Oracle licensing, IBM, SAP, Adobe…. it may be different. We will soon release early 2020 our roadmap for the begining of next year.
Who is SamBox.io for then ?
SamBox.io serves both large companies as well as small and medium business. But contexts may be different:
For large companies that have already implemented a SAM Tool (with success or not!), SamBox.io can run on top ! We have indeed developed interfacing capabilities which enables to extract the data out of a SAM Tool, process them into SamBox.io, and even re-inject the results into the SAM Tool. Why would companies do that ? Well, main reason is the reliability and optimization seeking, and when we talk about large companies, optimization on SQL or Oracle can definitely be huge amounts of money !!
For large companies that have not yet purchased a SAM Tool and do not have an extended budget, SamBox.io is a great opportunity to get started with SAM automation. Cost is much cheaper than other SAM Tool, and it does not imply to think of it as big project.
For Small & Medium businesses, we are truly convinced that SamBox.io is the best way to go.
First, because SAM may not be as strategic as for large companies (because SW spend is not large enough for them, fortunately),
Second, because a pragmatic tactical approach may lead IT managers – with transversal responsabilities from infrastructure to applications – to only consider SAM when risks are the highest, and not for all vendors
Third, small and medium businesses are not used to have recourse to consulting or integration services (because IT budget are maybe more constraint than for large companies!), and SamBox.io offers that seamless SAM journey without any additional fees (even questions on licensing rules are included into the support of SamBox.io).
This event is organized by the CRiP (“Comité des Responsables informatiques de Production”, meaning IT Production Management Committee). The CRiP is a renowned association in France aiming at helping CIO & Production IT Managers drive their business according to best practices, understanding market trends and innovations, and creating a strong and large network of IT professionals. More than 400 french companies are members (90% of them are large companies part of the CAC40 / SBF120 stock market index), and +10 000 IT professionals have already attended a CRiP event.
14 CTOs and CIO of french large organizations will be members of Jury (like Bank of France, Essilor, Thales, Peugeot Group, Crédit Agricole, Generali, Bouygues Telecom…). On the starting line, 50 startups and only 5 minutes to pitch and convince.
Let’s play with that rules !!!
and because it is all about pitching and explaining what we do, I can’t resist to post this excellent video recommended by a colleague of mine:
I am happy to share that we have just run over +3 000 licensing positions!
So many snapshots since the first use of our compliance engine. Let’s assume that SamBox.io computes in ~5 min what usually require dozens of hours at least if done manually… without even the same level of reliability & optimization in the results (sorry to say that, but we’ve been through this period…)
we talk of ~4 500 man.days that have been saved…
What about you? Do you prefer to spend time assigning licenses, computing licensing rules, verifying, revising, starting over, again and again… Or don’t you think it would be preferable that you immediately bring added value in the roll out of optimization action plan… and maybe explain to you DBA that he may have activated some options that cause licensing issues, or validate with your infrastructure manager that he should change the config or their cluster?
Well, beyond the fact that SamBox.io helps you determine reliable and optimized results, basics of SAM return of investment is not to save time to reduce the SAM Workforce, but save time to better use it for actual savings purposes. We will later write a post on ROI and how to establish an efficient SAM Strategy & roadmap.
When it comes to license position establishement, we can sometimes hear that licensing is a matter of “interpretation”, and there is not one single true “licensing position”. Well, I must say that I do not necessarily share such starting assumptions, even though I definitely end up with same outcomes.
Let me explain: Having multiple interpretations of licensing rules implies that definition of such rules are ambigous, inconsistent, or just too vague. It definitely happens sometimes, and some software vendors are indeed less accurate than others when it comes to defining licensing rules. But we should all keep in mind that licensing rules are the operational version of the “granted rights” clause that exist in any SW contract. And contractual schemes and architectures are sometimes complex, and require legal skills to determine which section(s) should prevail or not on some other(s), and whether side documents are “official” ones to be taken into account or not. In any case, the possible multiple interpretations of licensing rules should always be the result of a legal analysis. It is then interesting to consider real court decisions, and determine how vague licensing rules really are.
Concretely, difficult to argue that Microsoft licensing is not clear. Product terms document are released and updated multipe times per year, and history of all product terms are fully accessible to everyone, publically. Besides, have you ever heard of a court decision stating that some Microsoft licensing rules aren’t valid or applicable?
About Oracle, licensing rules are much more discussed and subject for debate within licensing professionals clubs, or simply on the internet; but reality is that Oracle has yet managed to make their rules be applicable & in effect because it is almost impossible to rely on a court decision that would be a precedent for everyone, and nulify their logics so far (“Oracle does not recognize soft partitioning” remains the magical statement!).
What about SAP and the so-called indirect access usage? Everyone who knows SAP licensing would tell that indirect access is not easy to determine… grey zone… yet, the Diageo court case and the £54.5m decision is unfortunately a real figure, real money… and a clear message that “interpretation” is not necesarily favorable to end customers.
We could continue listing large SW Vendors and determine how valid licensing rules are, but in any case, within Elee, we do believe that it is too risky to count on hypothetic multiple interpretations of licensing to try to escape from contractual obligations; therefore, we will always recommend to make a rigorous work on licensing calculation, and accept the counting work, even if it is hard and boring sometimes.
But making a rigorous licensing calculation does not mean that we should accept to pay through the nose! Let’s respect the rules, and play with them!
Elee has developed deep expertise on selecting the most optimized licensing rules, when we have the opportunity to choose among multiple rules. And that happens all the time when you are dealing with complex vendors. Let’s explain below the real stake of dynamic optimized licensing allocation versus classical static license allocation. Ready?
Let’s consider below a small SQL Server situation. On the left, your entitlement (stock of licenses you can use); on the right, the environment you have to license.
Well, static allocation of licenses implemented by common SAM tools as well as auditors would give the following:
What would now give dynamic optimized license assignment?
Both licensing schemes fully respect the Microsoft SQL licensing rules! But as far as I am concerned, I definitely prefer the second option!
Now let’s imagine that you do not only have 1 cluster and 1 standalone physical server…. but dozen, hundreds or sometimes thousands of them? Let’s also imagine that optimized dynamic license assignement work for every situation where you can pick up between different licensing rules for each single situation? Licensing each VM separately, or the full underlying physical layer; core-based licensing versus proc-based licensing versus server+Cal licensing; highest or lowest licensing eligible version? Bundle or not? MSDN or not? NUP or CPU? Professional or Employee?… Do you see what I mean? Stake of optimized dynamic licenses assignment is huge, and I am happy to conclude that yes, there is not only one single true licensing position, and let’s take advantage of it!
It is now time to let know about it. French customers who already know us have had the opportunity to attend our first webinar driven on the 17th of October 2019. We thank you for the large audience you have offered to us.
For those who want to know more about SamBox.io, here is the replay (french speaking webinar).
Webinar in english will be conducted before Eof 2019.
This is the starting point. SamBox.io is up and running We are excited and pround to launch our new platform dedicated to Software Asset Management. We have worked hard for the past months to implement it, and we are now looking forward to reinventing easySoftware Asset Management for customers.
Who we are
SamBox.io is a new product launched end of 2019. We are a tech team, fully employed & integrated inside the Elée company (www.elee.fr). Elée is a 9 year old independant company, created late 2010, dedicated to IT Asset management and more specifically Software Asset Management. We propose consulting services, integration services, managed services around SAM… and now the 100% web Tech platform Sambox.io. Elée is 100% on customer side : we help customer build their SAM, reducing their risk if existing, and generate savings on SW expenses. Elée is a pure player of SAM, now +60 employees, leader on the French market and Europe, with one of the largest workforce on SAM across the world. We have been quoted twice in 2018 and 2019 in the Gartner Market Guide for SAM Managed Services.
Why did we launch SamBox.io?
Within Elée, we have the culture of tooling and analytics; since the beginning of Elée, we have always created, developed , maintained many set of tools for our own purpose, to be more efficient and accurate in the advise we deliver to our customers.
The algorithms behind SamBox.io have first been used in 2015 by our consultants at Elée. The release of SamBox.io as a standalone self service platform accessible either for end customer or partners is then a logical move for us, but definitely a strong innovation for customers! We are even convinced that the combination of self-service platform & consulting services on top can be a the most adapted solution for some customers with specific needs.
Why is this innovating?
Elée has worked a lot in the past few years on various and well-known SAM Tools of the market. We have integrated them on different customer environments, achieved key software vendors onboardings into these platforms, and adapted the SAM processes accordingly. We know how powerful these tools could be, and we also know the level of effort we have to dedicate to make such tools deliver the expected promises. Elée is a partner of some of these key SAM SW Vendors, like Snow Software, and we are happy to work together and help customers to seek for advanced automation & industrialization.
SamBox.io is not just another SAM Tool. Rather than competing for the largest SW Vendors coverage, we have chosen to structure our offer of service Verticals, highly automated, for which you will be able to establish a license position with limited effort. It is not only a matter of better user experience, for each of these verticals, our objective is to deliver the most optimized license position on each of the vertical (least residual compliance risk if existing, largest value of licenses on shelf if possible).
Get started – Happy to welcome you
Potentiellay interested by the offer or just curious? Just sign up, take a tour and make use of our free demo environment! Looking forward to meeting you on the platform!