Thursday, October 27, 2011
The missing relationship between Enterprise Architecture and Procurement
Many software license agreements are not a fit for their intended purpose. Many contracts fail to explain clearly what the buyer has to measure to stay compliant, place unreasonable restrictions on usage and/or deployment and of course can be an impediment to the enterprise taking advantage of cloud computing.
When these two groups aren't communicating, it is guaranteed that this will result in unexpected software costs and audit costs. The communication however doesn't end here as it is important for the vendor to also participate in the conversations. Generally speaking, many enterprise architects ask thoughtful questions of vendors but fail to get how specific scenarios should be handled in writing. Lawyers that work with procurement teams are very good at getting in writing what was agreed if you can explain it clearly with relevant examples. Oral descriptions of policy and promises that "we never enforce that" are insufficient.
Another missed opportunity is for the enterprise architecture team to periodically recheck existing license agreements to see where they may need to be amended. Generally speaking, much of the license renewal ceremony revolves around keeping down costs, but this isn't an excuse to also ask for several new considerations. After all, you are much smarter now than you were when the agreement was negotiated. If the enterprise architecture team isn't providing input, then this is criminal...
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