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There was a massive scandal when the financial services indusry mis-sold payment rotection insurance (PPI). And yet, there’s a case to be made that many users have had a similar problem understanding the costs of their software licenses. Both industries (banking and IT) specialise in long bamboozling contracts, a confused general public and legalised trojan horses that spirit money out of the victim’s bank accounts.
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Software audit specialist Crayon wants to right this wrong. it’s recruting a channel to sell its services that will help people get thier money back - or at least stop wasting it. We asked Roger Perton, channel sales director at Crayon, what the line is.
Is it fair to say the IT industry could be accused of its own ‘mis-selling scandal’? What’s the difference between the banks’ dodgy PPI schemes, and the software industry’s equivalent?
It would be hard to say there is any form of accusation applied because if customers are asking for licenses then many will supply without question. So mis-selling isn’t the appropriate term, otherwise this could also be the case with hardware being under-utilised. The criteria were originally dictated by the customer in the first place. The issue is more around the longer time it would take a customer to look into whether they actually need those licenses, or whether there is a more cost effective way for them to get to the same outcome.
Do customers feel embarrassed that they were taken in? Is it difficult for them to address previous mistakes without losing face?
Again I don’t think this is a case of being 'taken in', as licensing is a very complex matter. Unless there is a proper software optimisation plan in place, along with compliance, then how do you administer this? If the world was equal, then they may feel that moving to cloud is another way of rectifiying a previous mistake when buying hardware and software. It should be seen as a way to streamline and enable them to do what they want to in the future, far quicker and in a way that doesn’t leave them with additional costs by way of making an environment any more complex than it is already.
How can Crayon (and other good people in the sales channel) help their clients?
We believe at Crayon that software optimisation is the starting platform for all moves to the cloud. This means a customer can begin by making sure that they are minimising their current spend and simplifying their licensing, so that when they make that move to cloud they do it with total confidence that they are still being charged for what they use and nothing more than that.
How do you gain trust?
Showing our customers what can and can’t be achieved. In addition, putting them in a position in today’s complex environments without fear of audits. That gains trust each and every time. It also means that when we do this through our partners they also get that confidence dividend. They can then advise the client how to move to cloud from the best starting position possible.
How do you convince the end user (whoever they may be) of the potential savings to be made?
It’s easy to see cost savings straight away against how they currently use their licenses, what they expect from them and what they think they have bought. These savings come in many forms but mainly from over-spending in some areas and underspending in others that can leave them exposed. It also stops them from doing what they need to do as a business.