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Understanding this simple yet paramount need, Connor Consulting, a modern company with years of industry experience and expertise, has established itself as a valuable ally to its clients implementing or looking to enhance their SAM and/or IT cost optimization programs. In this interview, Rich Reyes, EVP of Software Advisory Services and Viresh Chana, Founder and CEO of the company, talk about the factors that led to the company’s inception, the firm’s Software Advisory practice, their successful endeavors, differentiating factors, and plans for the future.
Please give us a brief overview of the company:
We started the company nearly a decade ago. At the time, we noticed that advisory services were handled by consultants with little experience and limited industry expertise, while more experienced senior executives were rarely consulted on client engagements. Connor was founded to change that very equation by providing technical expertise, seasoned thought leadership, and advisory services that enterprises can trust to provide actionable insights and data. Our main goal was to give clients access to daily interactions with highly experienced professionals at competitive prices. Today, we span the globe – with experienced professionals in seven countries, being where our clients need us.
We strive to provide high-valued services and expert guidance that is tailored to the needs of our customers. Our obsession with customer success is what fuels our team of license compliance and software advisory experts to deliver inspired outcomes that have a direct and measurable impact on the bottom line.
In your interactions with CIOs of leading companies, what sense do you get of the challenges they face now in the SAM space and how is Connor effectively addressing these issues?
From a software advisory perspective, we aim to define and eliminate some essential risks that CIOs and their teams commonly face—compliance and audit, financial risk, and information security to name a few. On one hand, compliance and financial risks increase during an M&A event or software audit. On the other, technology trends such as IoT, digital transformation, and cloud migrations increase the complexities of license management and vendor risk exposure for IT leadership. Since IT organizations often lack either the time, skills, and resources to manage the lifecycle of software assets effectively, we offer our SAM and Software Advisory services to help companies overcome those gaps. By enhancing their SAM processes, tools, and programs, we help them optimize IT supplier spend and proactively manage vendor compliance risks by providing actionable insights and data derived from our expertise and Connor (or partner) technologies.
On a typical engagement with clients, where do you typically begin? Could you walk through the first steps you adopt in gathering or understanding a client’s requirements? What is the methodology in play?
We start by determining high-level SAM program objectives and understanding the current lay of the land.
Our obsession with customer success is what fuels our team of license compliance and software advisory experts to deliver inspired outcomes that have a direct and measurable impact on the bottom line
Could you please cite a case study on how you have enabled a client to overcome hurdles and attain desired outcomes with your innovative array of solutions?
A large manufacturing business was facing a few hurdles while planning for their upcoming IT budgeting cycle. When asked by the CIO whether they had sufficient licensing for their SAP ERP environment, the IT team was unable to verify current deployment counts and provide a reliable forecast. The CIO wanted to validate whether they had sufficient licensing or if they needed to procure additional software to ensure vendor compliance. Additionally, IT leadership was considering non-OEM or non-SAP support for targeted cost savings.
Our technology-driven approach helped the client create a baseline for their existing SAP R3 environment. By running our SAP specific solution and performing a series of interviews with SAP product owners and architects, we accurately counted the SAP software deployed (both direct and indirect access) to support various applications and business services across the company. These figures were reconciled to purchase entitlements, measuring any software deltas. We then provided recommendations for license optimization, and devised a vendor playbook to strategically address software issues and protect commercial leverage with SAP. Through our efforts, the company was able to confidently forecast future SAP licensing needs and develop a SAM framework that will be utilized for other IT supplier initiatives going forward. Also, the IT leadership team was able to make more informed decisions regarding their future SAP spend and timeline for switching to non-OEM support.
At the conclusion of the engagement, the CIO confirmed that we proactively helped him reduce IT vendor risks, identify and manage potential non-compliance, and avoid unplanned license and maintenance fees. As a result of the project’s outcome, the client has engaged us to examine its Microsoft environment in preparation for an upcoming Enterprise Agreement (EA) renewal.
What does the future hold for your organization? Any footprint expansion plans or platform enhancement strategies that you can shed light upon?
Our goal is to change the course of current conversations in the industry around SAM, IT cost optimization and compliance. We plan to continue delivering services with unparalleled expertise, while building integrated and robust solutions around license management and customer engagement. We will continue expanding globally by hiring the best license compliance and SAM professionals, combined with a mix of industry experts to provide our clients with a broader perspective.
At the same time, we are actively investing in technology – our own proprietary solutions and a more comprehensive partner ecosystem. We are engineering our own tools to provide organizations with easier ways to collect data, provide more real-time insights into their information and deployments, and analyze their software usage in ways that enable better decision making and cost savings.
We are also establishing strategic alliances with technology partners like Movere, Xensam, and Zylo who provide best-in-class and innovative solutions, allowing us to offer a more holistic approach to IT asset and license management both on-premise and in the cloud. And specific to IT cost optimization, we are partnering with organizations like Rimini Street to offer clients options for more comprehensive and less expensive support solutions.
Through our people, technology, and partnerships, we are positioned to help drive greater ROI for CIOs, while ensuring that IT operational risks are effectively managed. We are excited about the future.