Robert Liebowitz is the President of LNS Associates. Working with Oracle, SAP, Adobe and others, he has 19 years experience leading software sales teams to support governments at the local, state and federal levels. Since beginning LNS, he has worked with governments to lower their software costs, helped a major consulting firm advise a software company on their approach to the public sector, and assisted an investment firm evaluating the purchase of a technology company’s debt. He is a recognized expert on how the public sector purchases and implements technology.

Presenting at a recent industry conference, Bob shared the following to a group of CIO’s interested in improving their position with their software vendors:

  1. Incorporate your Enterprise Architecture into your demand planning.  Once that EA Visio is on your intranet – see how aligning your buying to that plan will impact your budget.
  2. Enterprise software can be a lot like a family vacation – everyone has an opinion.  In government, the technologists can be spread across agencies using different products, the line management might have a vendor favorite that’s outside your EA plan and your “partners” have lobbyists working your executive and legislative branches.  Make sure you’ve brought all internal parties along before you go to the negotiating tables.
  3. If you’re a new CIO, perhaps your predecessors didn’t take care to match deployments to licensing.  For your largest software deployments, hold an internal audit of your usage to see if maintenance can be cut or if your vendor’s “quarter end” incentive might be worth looking into.
  4. Speaking of the quarter end incentive, if this isn’t the first time you’ve seen, spend a little time seeing how the per seat or per license or per TB pricing compares to other offers.  Is the vendor’s pricing stuck, sliding or escalating?  If so, by how much?  Those hints might inform your counter offer (if you want to make one).
  5. Talk with your peers.  The vendor team supporting your jurisdiction likely also looks after your neighbors.  Find out from them what types of offers they make, when they change and how apt are they negotiate.

All members of the LNS Advisors team are hand-picked by Robert for their expertise in the field of Government software procurement and management as well as for their integrity.