Your Optimization Era: Reducing License Waste in the Enterprise

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This is a podcast episode titled, Your Optimization Era: Reducing License Waste in the Enterprise. The summary for this episode is: <p>Don't let license waste create bad blood with your budget. Discover proven strategies to reduce waste and maximize software investment. You'll learn how to analyze software usage, pinpoint inefficiencies, and eliminate waste. Rewrite the license management story — this is your blank space for a more cost-effective future.</p><p><strong>Speaker: </strong>Trenton Cycholl, Vice President, Digital Business at Modernizing Medicine</p>
Why ModMed Embraced License Management Optimization
01:10 MIN
Optimizing License Management for Operational Efficiency
02:23 MIN
Navigating the Journey of License Management Optimization at ModMed — Value and Optimization
01:51 MIN
Lowest license usage and building three tiers of consideration
01:04 MIN
Cross-functional team alignment across business divisions
00:35 MIN
Focusing on workflow opportunities with Zylo
00:21 MIN
A standard cadence around reviewing application licenses
00:56 MIN
Turning license renewals into cost savings opportunities
00:44 MIN
A cycle of optimization and investment fuels continuous innovation and growth
01:14 MIN
"Our efforts have yielded just amazing results..."
01:56 MIN
Key takeaways with app inventory
01:37 MIN
SaaS requires regular maintenance
00:58 MIN
Benefits ModMed has experienced using the Zylo platform for SaaS solutions
01:22 MIN

Trenton Cycholl: Hello everyone. Hope you're having a great event so far. I'm excited to be here today and share experiences that we have had here at ModMed using Zylo to optimize our technology and solution stack for the company.

Trenton Cycholl: So by way of introduction, just my name is Trenton Cycholl, I'm the Vice President of IT and Digital Business here at ModMed. I've been working with technology platforms and SaaS solutions for over 20 years.

Trenton Cycholl: Today, I'll share our strategic journey through SaaS management, driving optimization across technology platform solutions. And a key point we drive here is that reducing licensing waste is not just about saving costs. It's about improving our operational efficiencies, simplifying our licensing or our technology landscape. And ultimately this delivers an amazing employee experience.

Trenton Cycholl: So our story today will focus on why we set out to operationalize license management, some key steps in the journey like identifying opportunities, taking actions, and turning actions into optimization wins. We'll also share some key metrics and results to date.

Trenton Cycholl: Before we explore this journey and what we've gone through, I just wanted to share a quick couple snippets on ModMed and who we are. So ModMed is a technology company dedicated to transforming healthcare through our intelligence specialty specific cloud platform. Our mission is focused on enhancing medical practice success and improving patient outcomes by putting doctors and patients at the heart of healthcare. Our vision is a world where software significantly boosts both the operational efficiency of medical practice and the health results of patients.

Trenton Cycholl: So let's start with why we got started on license management optimization and managing our tech platforms here at ModMed. So getting started for us was essential for several reasons.

Trenton Cycholl: First, it simplifies technology we use and how we use it, making our operations leaner and more agile. Our technology sprawl and license misuse, which probably happens quite commonly, it was off the charts resulting in really poor experiences for our employees. And this directly relates to customer experiences, employee experience drives that.

Trenton Cycholl: The second area that we sought out was it's a direct path to controlling and reducing costs. So this is the basic nuts and bolts of license management. And in today's economic climate, I'm pretty sure all of you share the same challenges. And optimizing budgets is a key driving force.

Trenton Cycholl: And lastly, we could see our IT processes that we're less efficient. There's so much administration overhead, inefficiencies in managing multiple platforms and systems. We're really hampering the ability for our IT organization to be agile and drive a more operational focus on efficiency. So we sat out to drive good financial management, operational focus to drive reinvestment opportunities, business efficiencies, and ultimately that better employee experience.

Trenton Cycholl: So how did we get started and how would we suggest getting started for anyone out there? So by way of very painful learnings, this isn't my first journey with license management across multiple technology and solution platforms. I tried and failed before using spreadsheets and multiple data sources to try to manage this challenge.

Trenton Cycholl: And centralizing key data is an absolute step zero. And Zylo was a quick and simple way to accomplish this. Prior to Zylo, I'd asked my team of questions like, how many applications do we have of such and such type? Or how many licenses will we purchase for this app? And how many inactive users are there actually on this platform? And the team would take hours and sometimes days and they'd come back with data in a big Excel spreadsheet. And it always had that little asterisk that said, " I spoke to five people and this is the best we could come up with." So it was directionally correct, but never gave me that confidence level that we have today using Zylo as a centralized platform. So we can easily find things like inactive users related to a specific app, who's expensify what applications, how many certain types of tools like survey tools, how many survey tools do we have? I can get to that very quickly.

Trenton Cycholl: So visibility to all our SaaS needs in one tool has been absolutely awesome. Once the data is centralized and maintained, our optimization journey really involved identifying where can we make some impactful changes. So leveraging Zylo insights and various data sources such as Usage Connect and SSO data, we were able to pinpoint underutilized licenses and upcoming renewals. And this allowed us to really prioritize our actions effectively and focus on the opportunities that would drive the most value and potential for value in optimization.

Trenton Cycholl: So our equation centered on the lowest license usage, timing of contractor rules and tiering of our applications and technology stacks. So like many of you IT professionals that might be on this discussion or this presentation, there's a mountain of technology can be very significant. So prioritizing platforms was very valuable for us.

Trenton Cycholl: So we set it up in ultimately three tiers. Tier 1 being kind of the core business systems that integrated end- to- end. And were used pretty much company- wide enterprise platforms like Salesforce, NetSuite, Workday, were all the focus around Tier 1.

Trenton Cycholl: Tier 2 is a group of applications for us that integrate with core one, but might be used by one department or for several teams or within a department and are more specific to standalone business processes.

Trenton Cycholl: And then finally, Tier 3 were those apps that really don't integrate with anything. They're used by maybe a team or an individual that are solving a particular task. And this allowed us to really help focus on which applications and areas would get us the greatest value.

Trenton Cycholl: Another key step in this looking at the opportunities was really building a great working relationship across IT, procurement, all the application owners, because we live in a very decentralized world sometimes when it comes to tech stacks and building those fundamental relationships are important. So it is a multi-org process and or requires a cross-functional team to be successful. So building those relationships early really helps drive speed and meeting goals and objectives.

Trenton Cycholl: So next, we focused on opportunities we could take with workflows and setting up workflows and ongoing management and maintenance. And with this really, this involved engaging those application owners, bringing them in and understanding optimization processes, using Zylo workflows to scale the reclamation efforts of licenses.

Trenton Cycholl: So the key here is really setting a standard cadence and process around reviewing application licenses. We used 120 days before renewal, so we actually had time to meet with our vendors and really set up that negotiation or cancellation if it came to that. And so this really required a cultural shift in our organization where we were more used to a few weeks before the renewal just to say, " Hey, are we renewing this?" And there was really no time for us to plan out a strategy around what we were going to do with licenses. So a little bit of a cultural change here and definitely one that yields high values and being more proactive with your license management. If you're like us, when we look at the cost avoidance is definitely interesting, but we looked at it as the cost savings is really the ultimate achievement.

Trenton Cycholl: So our third step was really taking all those license renewals and opportunities that could exist and turning them into true cost savings. So the goal was converting the cost savings across the board. So through lots of tracking and dashboarding and reporting, especially using savings center and dashboards in Zylo, we were able to hold teams accountable for realizing these savings and reinvesting them back into our business. This ultimately is really how we drive a lot of our innovation budget here of how do we go reinvest in IT and or technologies is by saving on all the redundancy we might have or the underutilized tools.

Trenton Cycholl: So this cycle of optimization or investment definitely fuels our continuous innovation and growth. And I mentioned holding all teams accountable across the board and there's no better team to hold accountable than really our senior leadership across the company. So we leveraged all of Zylo data and Zylo reporting to create this very simplistic nine box of nine key metrics that we track on a quarterly basis with senior executives at ModMed. And this transparency helps open up the door to all kinds of discussions and, or decision- making that we can make at all levels within the entire org.

Trenton Cycholl: And this regular reporting, like I mentioned on for instance inaudible SaaS apps, as we keep track of this number, it creates an interesting discussion around how many apps should there exist in a company of our size and how many project management tools do we need of that type and category? And then we look at things that are more immediate, like brand new apps that have been expensed in the last 30 days. And again, this reporting keeps everyone aligned and driving towards the common goals.

Trenton Cycholl: And I can tell you that when you're able to have that integration running with expense management systems like we do, that business user that expenses an app and gets a quick Slack message from me asking what they're doing with this technology, how are they planning to use it after they've expensed it just a day before, they're pretty surprised. But also it drives a really good discussion around what other tools and technologies we have that we can allow them to use and or benefit from.

Trenton Cycholl: For us, is the journey worth it? And I can say without question, absolutely, our efforts have yielded just amazing results from all the applications we've been able to cancel. You see there 65 applications canceled and over 3, 300 licenses reclaimed. And actually that number has grown quite a bit since I created this slide deck in the last 30 days.

Trenton Cycholl: But I think what's really great to see about this is not only the significant cost savings and such, but those 65 applications are key because that's experience that our employees no longer have to actually log in and use potentially or duplicative use cases where they might be using one tool for another. For instance, I'll share several of those applications or project management tools and we found out that we had several users that were working on projects across organizations and just because we had multiple tools across the teams, they would actually be re- entering tasks and managing multiple project plans just to keep other parts of the organization up to date on what's going on. So huge improvements to our employee experience, which has been great to see.

Trenton Cycholl: And I think one of the other things is, I'll mention here in the key takeaways, but ongoing maintenance of this process is key. And you can see that we just identified inaudible, this next quarter at significant cost savings, but also further tool removal from our licensing and experience layers.

Trenton Cycholl: So for us, the key takeaways that I can share with you, that app inventory is critical, find a starting point and just go. It's vital to maintain this comprehensive inventory, but also to help prioritize and tackle the most significant opportunities first, because I recognize and acknowledge that this is a huge, huge lift when you start to look at the number of tools and we expected to see maybe there's a couple hundred applications, and when you all of a sudden hook up Zylo to a lot of different sources of information, you come back with 500, 600 applications and it's like, whoa, sticker shock. But this is why it's key just to get it all in one place so that you can actually sort through and create some prioritization. Additionally, don't do everything at once. I've said prioritization probably 20 times already in this presentation, but for us it was identifying high dollar applications first. For you, it might be something different, but definitely come up with a prioritization method. Because it is an ongoing effort and it's not just going to be something you do once.

Trenton Cycholl: And leads me to my next point here of it's not a once and done. Maintenance has been a significant benefit for us. So ongoing monitoring and management's important to continue to manage, but that's not just a one- time cleanup, but an ongoing effort. So license management's one of those things that's a continuous process, more technologies are added, and it's ever evolving. As new innovations come out and technologies expand, new products come out, you get the various business owners asking, " Hey, can we install these five applications? We want to do something with these." So it's an ongoing continuous effort, but I can tell you that Zylo helps keep up with the dynamic IT landscape and leveraging the platform as a central place to keep it updated is just absolutely amazing. Focus on one tool type category.

Trenton Cycholl: So this is one that also helps prioritize that we found. So we had a few areas where we had a different solutions. I mentioned Project management. Survey tools is another area we found to be wonderfully expansive on the number of tools we use. And so being able to just sort through a particular area and get a strategic buy- in from all the business owners, application owners on what direction we go as a unified tool set is helpful.

Trenton Cycholl: Content management platforms is another area where we have... It's like whack- a- mole where you have platforms appearing everywhere. And so being able to sort of focus on tool type categories is very beneficial as well. And then contract data and owners, I mentioned the partnership a couple times, but really assigning ownership for each contract, maintaining accurate up- to- date contract data is crucial for effective license management.

Trenton Cycholl: So those designated owners ensure that not only a responsibility for usage questions or if we identify there's inactive usage of a particular tool, it comes into play for renewals and negotiations when we really need to have those individuals engaged to make business decisions around the particular tool set. And also helps with timely renewals on each of the platforms.

Trenton Cycholl: So that's our journey here at ModMed. Thank you very much for allowing me to share that in a very brief sort of update, but hopefully you're able to leverage some of our learnings as you enter the optimization era with a strategic mindset. And I do want to leave you with remember, don't just look at it as a cost- cutting effort. You really set a foundation for more awesome employee experiences, efficient operations, and definitely driving a lot more investment into innovation and innovative use of technology. So thanks very much for the time and I think we can open up for questions possibly.

Trenton Cycholl: Okay. Looks like I have one here. If I had to prioritize just one of these to get things moving, what would you recommend? So I would say the first focus that I would have is getting to a starting inventory. And do not look at it as waiting for perfection. Get with it with what you are aware of and get the inventory to 80% accurate and start taking action on that. You'll continue to learn more about the inventory you have as you go as well.

Trenton Cycholl: Other questions? I don't see any coming in here. Oh, how do you work with the business when removing licenses without direct de- provisioning available? Yeah, so this actually offers up a great opportunity for us as a technology team here because it's not just about removing the tech. There's usually a process associated with what they're using. So we drive efficiencies because when we go sit down with that app owner, the business owner and say, " Hey, we need to centralize these tools into one tool or use one tool for a particular function, it helps us drive efficiencies." So I actually like it better without having sort of direct just remove the licenses. This drives an engaging relationship with our business owners, furthers that relationship. And if there's several tools we'll have a stakeholder discussion across.

Trenton Cycholl: So I mentioned project management. We had about eight different owners of project management tools. We brought them together, reviewed all the requirements, and then identified which one meets the largest set of those requirements. And as a team then agreed upon what the go forward was going to be for the company. And generally the business sees that value and they see the value in simplifying the environment, we have found. I don't see another question. It looks like I'm down to about 20 seconds left.

Trenton Cycholl: So I guess with that I'll just say again, thank you. Appreciate you guys listening to our story. Please do take these as opportunities to learn. I mentioned how many times I've failed at it. Don't throw all this stuff in a spreadsheet. It will be outdated as soon as you hit the save button. So thanks and good luck on your optimization journeys.


Don't let license waste create bad blood with your budget. Discover proven strategies to reduce waste and maximize software investment. You'll learn how to analyze software usage, pinpoint inefficiencies, and eliminate waste. Rewrite the license management story — this is your blank space for a more cost-effective future.

Speaker: Trenton Cycholl, Vice President, Digital Business at Modernizing Medicine