Perth-based independent advisory firm, Software Optimisation Services (SOS), has gained approval to provide services through the Microsoft Software Asset Management (SAM) managed service provider program across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).
SOS has become the first company to achieve this accreditation in the Asia Pacific market with the program aiming to help customers effectively manage software assets.
“It’s a validation in the way that we’ve been delivering our managed service," said Filipa Preston, CEO of SOS.
"We’ve been doing managed services since 2013, and Microsoft put an accreditation process in place to assess how these niche partners are delivering the managed service to clients, and it aims to give clients greater confidence around the partners that are delivering managed services.”
Preston founded the business in 2011, after working at places such as Microsoft, CSC and Insight, spotting an opportunity to help clients fully grasp IT environments.
"How does a company determine if they should side with AWS or Azure, when they actually don’t know what their core data points are?" Preston asked. "How many servers, CPUs and workloads they have?
"From our point of view, we take a look at client’s environment and what they’ve actually got in place, before they make that decision on using Amazon Web Services or Azure."
In order to gain the accreditation, Preston said the procedure involved a "rigorous process" performed by an independent third-party evaluator such as EY, looking into SOS’ entire managed service process and client outcomes; along with certified Microsoft MSP staff.
It also verifies that the Microsoft Software Optimisation Model (SOM) and ISO 19770 industry standards are met, and that the partner is able to provide SAM consultation services such as cyber security or cloud productivity reviews.
"They look at everything from the process to documentation and how we gather the data, so we can help give clients a recommendation or some key next steps,” Preston added.
"They looked at every deliverable in that process, to assess if we had the credibility to actually make recommendations that clients trust, to move forward with."
Partners are also subjected to an annual re-assessment to ensure they remain accredited and qualified based on the program requirements.
Preston gave an example of a council client who was on the verge of spending $200,000 on office software, because they thought they weren’t ready to deploy Office 365.
"They may not be ready today, but we questioned them about the next 12 months," Preston added. "That $200,000 would be a wasted investment.
"We’re just helping them to realise the bigger picture, before they sign up and make that capital expense."
In another instance, Preston highlighted how a client that had grown through acquisition, accumulated servers sitting in different clouds, with different licensing programs, and how they wanted to gain control over when and how they turn certain items on and off.
"They didn't want to necessarily have to go to three or four different parties, just to get this done," she added. "But they also want to know the facts, because they’re so overwhelmed with information.
"Customers sometimes sign an agreement based on numbers and product lists, that they really have no need for, and when you start to drill into those products numbers and the usage, it’s a very different story."