In the world of enterprise software licensing, complexity can run rampant, with confusing terms & conditions, and details buried in the fine print. That’s exactly when Rimini Street IT Hero and license expert Ryan Bendana and his team can help. Here’s how.
“Wait, what did we sign, exactly?” This is the question that IT hero Ryan Bendana helps answer every day for clients around the world. Bendana is the senior director of global license and advisory services at Rimini Street, and his expertise is helping clients understand the complex licensing agreements they may have entered into with large, enterprise software vendors like Oracle and SAP.
As leader of Rimini Street’s Global License and Advisory Services (GLAS) team, based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Bendana gives potential clients the information they need to make informed decisions pertaining to their software license assets. Licensing is crucial and at the crux of decision-making for Rimini Street clients, which further elevates the importance of his unwavering focus to save them money and solve their problems.
Making complex software licenses easier to understand
Most prospective clients have a lot of questions about their enterprise software license situation, which means Bendana and his team consult with hundreds of prospects and clients each quarter.
Typically, there are a number of key stakeholders involved in a client’s licensing of enterprise software, including IT, procurement, legal, and software asset management. And while Bendana and team have extensive experience working with such stakeholders at organizations large and small, across all industries worldwide, Rimini Street also has collaborative business relationships with license consulting firms and attorneys who can provide additional consultative help when necessary.
Oracle’s licensing can be quite complex, often leading to the need for more detailed legal and license advisory services. One example of such complexity is the Unlimited License Agreement certification process, whereby Oracle licensees “certify” out of their Oracle Unlimited License Agreement. Oracle licensees may feel like the Oracle Unlimited License Agreement certification process is similar to an Oracle audit and, as such, need to ensure they don’t confuse the two.
Oracle’s January 2023 announcement of “a simple, low-cost monthly subscription” model for licensing its Java SE software may have made things even more complicated for Oracle licensees. This model may have significant pricing implications and involves complexity that many companies need assistance understanding. As a result, Bendana’s team has seen a 450% increase in consultations related to Java licensing in comparison to last year.
“Java is huge right now,” Bendana says. “Many people in procurement, IT, and software asset management may recognize the potential risk but have a difficult time conveying this to their leadership because licensing of Java is confusing on so many levels. Rimini Street is known for providing comprehensive solutions to Oracle licensee’s biggest challenges and Java is no exception. Every day I’m having conversations around Rimini Consult TM , Rimini Connect TM for Java, and Rimini Protect TM to help customers better understand their options and ways to potentially avoid expensive license subscriptions.”
A lifelong career solving problems
Ryan has 20 years in the enterprise software industry, including 13 years in licensing and 8 years in sales, some of which was selling Software-as-a-Service ERP solutions. Prior to joining Rimini Street, he worked as a senior license consultant (auditor) at Oracle for almost five years, followed by almost two years as manager of the Global Oracle Licensing Program at Anglepoint.
Ryan loves his job, however, he finds it particularly challenging to give a current or prospective customer bad news. One example is an issue related to the contract or the software publisher’s technical support policies that prevents moving all technical support needs to Rimini Street at once. This impedes a customer’s ability to quickly make a shift to Rimini Street, save money, and focus on what matters most to them.
In such cases, Bendana tries to do what he can with a “triage” approach, helping prospective clients solve some problems immediately while simultaneously strategizing with them about what they should do to set themselves up for the future. “Developing a clear roadmap is key to helping prospective clients understand their options so they can decide which route is best for them,” he says.
Contract is king & get it in writing
Asked to share just one piece of practical advice, Bendana says, “It’s a tie between ‘contract is king’ and ‘get it in writing.’” He says that software licensees should know that the contract with a software publisher is vitally important. Companies should have a comprehensive understanding of their contracts before deciding to make any changes. For this, it’s best to work with their attorneys and an independent license consulting firms.
Bendana reports that at least a couple of times a week, he gets asked to confirm whether something a sales representative at a software publisher said is true. In many cases, the individuals making the request don’t have the statement in writing, which is essential if they are to rely on its validity.
“I believe it is exceptionally important that if someone is providing you information, you should feel comfortable to ask them to put it in writing so you can validate it with your attorney,” he says. “If they won’t put it in writing, ask why!”
FinOps, AI, and the future
Bendana has thoughts on the future of enterprise software licensing, starting with the increasing prominence of FinOps. FinOps is financial management for cloud solutions, and the concerns around it center on controlling spend.
“There is no question FinOps is starting to move towards center stage given the adoption of cloud by so many organizations,” he says. “However, while adoption of cloud solutions is becoming wildly more popular, customers may not have modified their buying processes to match.”
He sees a future in which the software industry is far more commoditized. AI and ML may offer organizations the capability to write bespoke code for industry-specific solutions without the need for a team of full-time developers. In this scenario, developers work to fine tune many different projects simultaneously to give end users exactly what they need when they need it. Think “just-in-time” for software across an enterprise.
Additionally, Bendana sees the possibility for AI to provide specific software solutions for various divisions, teams, or functional areas within an organization that share the same data store or data lake. Doing so, he says, will ensure that “the same data sets are being used by everyone but delivered in radically new ways.”
The joy of being helpful
Bendana says he enjoys helping clients save money, as well as talking about how they can achieve their immediate goals without sacrificing their long-term objectives. Overall, he strives to help those he serves in tangible ways.
“One of the best feelings is when we’re ending a call and the prospective client or current client says, ‘Thanks, that was very helpful,’” he says. “I know we’re on the right track.”
Learn more: Want to put your Oracle licenses to work for 15 additional years? Request your free license advisory session before April 1, 2024 for expert guidance and insights to help you navigate the complexity of enterprise software licenses.