I don’t know where you get your news, but I have it on good authority that within mere weeks, swarms of giant spacecraft from the planet Xluton II will amass in near-earth orbit. And if you are up on your Xlutonese culture, you know that they have an insatiable fondness for Deep Fried Earth Dwellers.
Needless to say, this event is likely to have a pronounced effect on the human population on Earth. But you might be thinking that as a SAM professional, this is of little concern to your day-to-day responsibilities.

Well, I am here to urge you to reconsider! You see, seemingly unrelated world events often have profound impacts on the IT world. And demands on the IT world, quite naturally, lead to demands on the SAM team who must prepare for and manage the related effects on software licensing.

Let’s take a look at how the Hungry Xlutonese Invasion of 2018 might affect the SAM operation.

Increased Demand

As with any large-scale carnivorous space alien invasion, there’s a good chance that many people will be devoured. When a large segment of a consumer economy’s population is eaten, we all know this has a destabilizing effect on consumer purchasing patterns. This means many organizations – retailers, shipping companies, restaurants, manufacturers – must scramble to realign their inventories, cancel orders, and sell off supplies at a breakneck pace. Stock markets will roil as investors struggle to contemplate how the economy will adjust. Financial institutions will need to move money around to cover the loans of their gobbled customers.

As a result, the load on hardware spikes. Additional capacity will need to be added to handle the demand. And software consumption, along with the hardware, will also be on the upswing.

Of course, given the gluttony of the Xlutonese visitors, this demand may well be permanent – or certainly long-lasting. So you need to understand which it will be: a temporary event, which may incur charges defined by a “temporary” pricing model; or a permanent purchase of software and maintenance into the distant future. Whatever the case, as a SAM professional, you’ll need to be on watch to ensure the cost of additional software licenses is well understood, and that terms and conditions of existing agreements are scoured for all the relevant impacts. What does the firm’s enterprise agreement stipulate in the way of extra costs associated with adding large amounts of capacity and/or usage? Will there be a need to spend green dollars to meet the demand?

Complex Licensing Models Get More Complex

The licensing pressures brought about by humans eaten on a large scale don’t just extend to the data center and to the internal effects on business operations. Consider the impacts on licensing, for instance, as many external people (e.g., customers) seek ways to make themselves less appetizing.

Say your firm plans a rollout of a phone app that enables people to determine how they would rate on the Xlutonese palate. With the introduction of the “Am I Delicious?” app – which has…

  • a connection to a database back end by one publisher
  • a graphic reporting environment by another publisher
  • both driven by a virtual server farm
  • hosted by a cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service provider
  • running open source IDEs

…there are endless licensing implications. For instance, license consumption of the critical database application may be measured not just in terms of the actual humans connecting to the database via their phone apps. The database publisher may interpret a connection (behind the scenes) to a separate 3rd-party database of anti-Xlutonese recipes as a “user” in its own right, and is thus a licensable connection (the infamous “indirect access” model).

In Conclusion

The scenarios above are just a small sample of the dilemmas that major world events, and their effects on IT demand, have on the SAM function at even the most seemingly insulated organization. While everyone around you breaks out in pandemonium, rioting and looting and seeking safety from the Xlutonese harvesting vacuums, they may well wonder why you just stand there with your head in your hands. But we know why. It’s the licensing mess you’re going to have to unravel at the office tomorrow!

(And if you think this was an absurd story, you should hear about what went on during the Brexit vote, or the U.S. elections, or the recent stock market turmoil – you’d never believe it if you weren’t a SAM professional!)