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Deployment monitoring and tracking

Authors: MattWilde
Build basis: None

Software deployment is the process of realizing value from purchased software. It is the process of putting software and software solutions into place to ultimately drive business success. These and other perspectives have a common theme: that software is an investment; one that can be measured only in terms of cost until it is successfully deployed and used.

IBM assists customers to monitor, track, and plan deployment for two reasons: to ensure that customers have a good experience deploying and adopting IBM software, and to streamline the touch points in the deployment process (One IBM).

Deployment engagement with customers provides these benefits:

  • Identify opportunities for the alignment of software in their overall technology solution
  • Facilitate the successful deployment of software by coordinating the extended IBM team
  • Identify and help realize the intended business value of the solution

A typical deployment challenge: Realizing value

Experiences in deploying software reveal that many companies are not taking the necessary steps to achieve business value; for example:

  • A deployment strategy was not mapped out.
    • Early projects were not identified, and the scope and schedule of software implementation were not considered.
  • The transition plan from the purchasing team to the implementation team did not clearly articulate expectations, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Identified deployment projects did not occur on schedule.
    • Software deployment is inherently complex. It involves multiple components and organizations.
    • Reactive project management resulted in delayed implementation due to challenges that arose late in the deployment process.

The lack of focus in these areas results in less than optimal deployment performance. It also spawns situations where multiple projects are run in parallel with inadequate infrastructure or mechanics to leverage common components, tasks, resources, lessons, and so forth.

Addressing challenges for successful software deployment

These experiences suggest that successful software deployment, both in the actual deployment and the identification of opportunities, does not just happen. It requires proactive focus and attention in these areas:

  • Qualifying the initial demand (projects)
  • Identifying the core team, both IBM and customer, that will coordinate the overall software deployment process
  • Developing a deployment strategy
  • Defining additional projects that can help the company overcome new challenges using purchased software
  • Proactive monitoring and tracking of deployment against schedule and goals

In general, software deployment is influenced by a combination of these factors:

  • The companies business and IT requirements
  • The contracted offerings (what is or is not included)
  • Commitment from all parties (planning, trust, openness, product awareness, skills, and so forth)
  • Managing expectations, including time lines, skills available, contract value, and commitments
  • Using the structure and discipline of the methods within the software deployment process
  • Education and skills building

The purpose and value of effective monitoring and tracking

Effective monitoring and tracking of software deployment is important for multiple company stakeholders.

Procurement and supply chain teams derive value from monitoring and tracking because it provides these benefits:

  • Consistency for overall software procurement and burn down
  • Ease of ensuring the distribution of the software procured, which could be through a download, a simple e-mail template, or an electronic ordering system
  • Consistency of a face-to-face relationship with vendors; consistency of product queries; and easier access to the many teams across vendor companies
  • Access to the broad range of software
  • Targeted access to necessary vendor skills and subject matter experts

The procurement perspective is a simple view: the software contract is an instrument for the ease of acquiring software and managing costs. Therefore, the more software they deploy, the higher the value they derive from the contract.

Software deployment is critical to CTOs and CIOs to maximize the availability of IT solutions to the organization. Successful deployment of software procured provides “value and functionality” to the organization, and therefore success for the CTO or CIO.

The value of license tracking

If the software licenses are not used, it becomes difficult to show “value” and the deployment might not be seem to be successful. The CTO or CIO can use deployment knowledge for these purposes:

  • To build IT strategies around preferred vendor offerings
  • To provide consistency of pricing for budget and ongoing planning purposes
  • To understand and contain overall costs of software
  • To deliver on their service level agreements (SLAs) to their line of business (LOB) user community
  • To be reassured that the vendor will “make it right”

A company must think about the concept of license tracking and management for both limited and unlimited licenses. Most of customers do not know, or do not want to report, which products are deployed and in use in their environments. This makes calculating return on investment (ROI) difficult and compliance management nearly impossible.

Tracking for license management involves identifying this information:

  • The licenses that are installed
  • The licenses that are active
  • The number of licenses that are forecasted to be deployed

A license-tracking solution

Because there is no automated process today, spreadsheets are often used to identify deployed software on every endpoint and to establish a baseline. In November 2002, IBM Tivoli software released a tool called Tivoli License Manager.

IBM Enterprise Software Management Tool (ESMT) is an innovative web solution that is designed to manage large, complex software license deployments more efficiently and more effectively. ESMT is a secure, online self-service tool that is readily adaptable to a variety of internal business processes. As it is fully scalable, it is also flexible enough to keep up with rapid changes in business.

How partnering with IBM can address challenges in planning, monitoring, and tracking deployment

Related topics: Implementation, planning, and deployment roadmap

External links:

  • None

Additional contributors: DavidGrimm

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