How many of us have traveled to another part of the country or continent in search of new sights and adventures? How many of us have had friends and relatives come from afar to visit with a list of places they wanted to see? When we travel to visit a new country or continent, we often consult with a travel agent to get ideas of where to go. A travel agent will direct you to Africa if you are in search of a safari.
Having traveled extensively across five continents for over 50 years, I have come to appreciate the value of the travel agent who can direct you to the proper region of the world or country for each adventure. However, as knowledgeable as the travel agent may be about optimal times to climb Mt. Everest or Machu Picchu, or best seasons for visiting the Great Wall, or countries to visit if you want to find rhinos, they will never be as knowledgeable as the experienced guide who makes a living guiding tourists at those locations.
The value of an experienced tour guide was evident on a recent safari in Tanzania thru Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Serengeti National Park. For years I had listened to personal stories from family and friends who had lived and traveled there. My researching of those parks made me feel confident of what I was looking for and where to look. It wasn’t until we were in the park that I came to appreciate the value of an experienced tour guide. There was every type of big and small animal in the 3201 square mile Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but only the tour guide knew where to find the rhino, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, etc. Only the experienced tour guide could direct us to the water hole in Ndutu to see the lion cubs after a fresh kill. Where some animals congregated last month, isn’t where you would find them this month.
The same holds true for Software Asset Management providers. There are many large consulting companies, IT research companies, software resellers, etc. who are excellent travel agents. But do they have the experience of living and working inside a data center for 20 years in order to be an experienced tour guide? Many SAM consultants use their qualifications as a former software manager as credentials for an experienced tour guide. Managing a team of safari guides isn’t the same as being the safari guide. It’s easy to direct someone going thru an audit to review their ELP, but what about the millions of data that make up the ELP? It’s easy to direct someone to review their contract terms, but what about the specific nuances of where to look and the migratory trends? Reading a SAM note about software licensing isn’t the same as the experienced guide who has personally managed thousands of licenses.
Many who seek a safari may be satisfied by driving themselves thru the safari park in search of large animals. But those who want to see the herds of animals not visible on the tourist path will only experience it by hiring an experienced tour guide. The person who can show you where to look, when to look, and how to look is the person who will maximize the value of your trip. That is the person who has years of personal experience. It is the same with your SAM provider. Don’t settle for using a travel agent; maximize your value by using a trained and experienced tour guide.