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Why Financial Organizations need to Digitally Transform IT to Cut Costs in 2021

Feb 22, 2021

The unprecedented events of 2020 have led to the financial sector, like many other industries, digitizing en masse. Moving their offerings further online in order to better serve their customers’ changing demands and in a post-COVID 2021, change is set to continue.

Financial advisory firm Deloitte recently published a survey that showed 94% of retail banking customers had used online banking services during 2020. Necessity driving even the traditionally techno-phobic customers to finally trust and embrace the convenience of on-line services.

Internally as well, an insatiable thirst for digital transformation has been a response of paramount importance, as business contracted globally and financial organizations look to cut costs and optimize efficiency in operations wherever possible; embracing automation over manual processes, enabling mobility in the workforce and seeking ever-deeper Business Intelligence to measure and identify opportunities for constant performance improvement.

The enabler: good data and refined, meaningful BI. For this business asset, the need has never been greater. Not just for customer experience or for the business to have the capability to grow and serve a greater number of customers, but for the businesses’ supporting columns like IT to be ready. CIO’s need to be able to understand their IT capability, to enable agility to accommodate rapid change – often combined with a shrinking budget.

BI for IT comes from the IT Asset Management (ITAM) solutions that are the eyes and ears to what’s out there – what assets, what capability and what control and options are at your disposal. But still, too many organizations have failed to modernize this fundamental capability – still bogged-down in a laborious tar-pit of having to work-around a plethora of disparate, legacy toolsets.

This problem is fundamental with each legacy tool only serving its own siloed discipline, like desktop only, or datacenter, mobile, SaaS, Cloud etc.…this invariably means that the critical data that could be refined into meaningful BI is instead trapped in individual silos and the only way to make sense of it holistically is to export it… often via a good old ‘caffeine and excel’ manual exercise, which of course is almost immediately out of date by the time its complete.

Therefore, modernizing and unifying ITAM and achieving meaningful BI and real-time truth is an opportunity still to be fulfilled.

Admittedly, vendors within the ITAM / SAM solution market haven’t really helped. There has been a failure to innovate and modernize amongst major vendors for many years – often content to ‘make hay whilst he sun shines’ and contently acquire competitors to grow capability and market share, rather than actually working to innovate and modernize by developing new solutions. The result has been a collection of legacy toolkits unhelpfully rebranded as one or with a portal slapped over the top of the same old tools underneath – a portfolio, rather than an actual technology platform.

However, there is one vendor that has bucked the trend and is now in a unique position to offer real change for those organizations who want to seize the opportunity to modernize and truly unify ITAM. As solution vendors all now start to at least talk and extol the benefits of unifying ITAM disciplines on to a ‘single unified platform’, only one vendor has actually created that ideal solution and already brought it to market back in 2016. That one vendor, is Certero.

Certero are the only solution vendor today offering a unified asset management platform that has been purposefully developed from scratch to unify the management of IT from desktop to datacenter, mobile to SaaS & Cloud, offering ITAM, SAM, automation and Self-Service all within a single solution – one UI, one data source – one ‘single pane of glass’ for control and meaningful BI within IT.

Adopters of this new technology, are reporting the highest satisfaction levels in the industry according to Gartner’s Peer Insights – proving that when it comes to adopting a ‘unified platform’ to transform how you view and access information, automate operations and derive valuable insights from your data – it’s the architecture of the platform in practice that makes it what it is – what it needs to be.

In 2020, Certero helped a financial organization implement the Certero unified platform solution for ITAM, SAM, SaaS & Cloud, to gain that long-overdue centralized visibility of their entire IT estate. With the assistance of Certero’s Software Asset Management services team, and Certero’s specialist datacenter solution Certero for Oracle, the organization was able to identify and mitigate a potential licensing ‘black hole’ that threatened to cost the business over $1million in software licenses that they didn’t actually need.

The Challenge of Control

Like many organizations, the financial company that Certero worked with had a lengthy contract history with integrated cloud applications and platform service provider: Oracle. The contract included many clauses specific to the business and was only understood by an individual that had looked after the license long-term.

This created a single-point-of-failure for the business requiring them to trust the individual’s knowledge of both the bespoke contract and the use of all Oracle software. When they left the business, the contract knowledge left too and so they had: 

  • Minimal visibility of what Oracle products were deployed and in use
  • No clear understanding of the contract and their license entitlement
  • No assurance that the individual previously in charge had adequate knowledge to maintain compliance correctly
  • No tools, expertise, resources or strategy to manage the vendor going forward
  • Previous audit experiences with other vendors highlighted a cultural lack of control over software licensing

The Solution

Engaging directly with Certero as a trusted SAM partner would mean that the business could proactively take control of their Oracle licensing and refine their strategy.

Deploying the Certero for Oracle solution provided total discovery and visibility of all known and potentially unknown Oracle instances in use, as well as maximum detail beyond even Oracle’s own LMS scripts.

As Certero is an Oracle LMS/GLAS verified solution, the output of Certero for Oracle would also be accepted by Oracle when they next evoke an audit, which provides two key benefits: 

  • No need to run additional time-consuming scripts
  • The customer will have full, sustained visibility of their full Oracle inventory – unlike when scripts are run and the output goes directly to Oracle to be interpreted

With Certero for Oracle providing the detail, the next issue was the lack of the knowledge of both the contract entitlement and Oracle’s licensing rules. This was provided directly and independently by Certero under an Oracle SAM Managed Service. Vastly experienced Certero SAM consultants worked with the customer to provide: 

  • A clear and communicated understanding of the Oracle Contract and Entitlement
  • Analysis of the solution output and entitlement to generate an ‘Effective License Position’ (ELP),highlighting any potential under and over licensing and financial exposures
  • Qualification that the individual who had managed the contract had misinterpreted it as suspected and a significant potential risk was present
  • Deep analysis of the risk and expert guidance on how to atone for the error in the most beneficial way for the business’ on-going strategy
  • Clarification on where the SAM process had failed and what processes and governance was needed to retain control following the ELP exercise
  • On-going help and expertise with managing and optimizing their Oracle licensing.

The Benefits for the Business

The process had identified a dangerous lack of control and a significant exposure of $1.3M (USD). With the help of Certero, options were identified to maximize interpretations of the bespoke clauses within the contract and draw upon Certero for Oracles’ detailed insights into usage, mitigating large portions of the potential exposure that would have never been visible with legacy SAM tools.

An opportunity was also identified to reduce this exposure through an agreement in place with a parent company, all of which combined to reduce the $1.3m financial exposure by 84%. As the customer did not have any Oracle licensing expertise, this represents a saving of over $1M USD that they would have almost certainly had to pay had they been audited and not invested in help from Certero.

As the business was looking for the most cost-efficient way to address the issue and move into a position of control, this was achieved quickly and painlessly in under 3 months. Having the required Oracle knowledge provided directly by a true, independent SAM Partner in Certero. This allowed the business to keep the Certero for Oracle solution in place for continued, real-time BI and reporting, whilst also having a documented understanding of Oracle contract and obligations.

 The fact that it was previously a ‘black hole’ at all was due to their legacy ITAM / SAM solutions simply not having the capability to correctly identify the infrastructure and precise software in use – a shining example of how with the capability to attain ‘good data’ – correct data and detail with a modern solution and with Certero’s SAM expertise – the business was able to entirely mitigate a $1million risk. Now, they not only have visibility of all their IT devices and licensing, but are able to also embrace and control new capabilities and opportunities easily, such as via SaaS & Cloud.

Certero’s Commitment to the Financial Sector

Certero CEO, John Lunt, spoke about his devotion to supporting financial organizations, “2021 offers a challenge I don’t think any financial business has ever encountered before. 2020 had massive economic ramifications and now any potential saving a company can make, whether it be monetary or time based, is of huge importance.”

He continued “We’re here to help businesses through, we’ll listen, we’ll learn and we’ll provide a leading IT Asset Management solution to ensure that they can prosper in this new world.”

Financial organizations need to seize the opportunities to modernize and within IT, this obviously effective unification of asset management and information is such an opportunity. By failing to implement a unified IT solution they not only risk continuing inefficiency and unnecessary cost but also ultimately, hinder the businesses ability to continue to evolve, serve and reach new customers. Certero are committed to providing support, as many financial businesses make this intimidating transition.

The datacenter is also a critical area where the power of new SAM technologies and Certero’s revolutionary ‘Technology-led Services’ approach can help to reduce major cost and risks within the financial sector and not just with Oracle, but significantly with IBM and SAP. Certero helps financial businesses save money, time and resources, all of which can be better spent on satisfying their customers’ growing digital needs.

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