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Insight USLC SLAM 2016 Conference Report

In September, the University Software Licensing Collaboration (USLC) hosted the 4th Annual Software Licensing and Asset Management Conference for university professional staff. The theme was Strategic, Collaborative Procurement.

With CAUDIT support, the USLC coordinated this hands-on conference and 38 key decision makers from software procurement and sourcing areas representing 24 universities from across Australia and New Zealand attended. The main focus was to investigate asset and contract management systems with presentations from key vendors and professional staff currently implementing solutions.

The workshop attracted sponsorship from Insight, Hearne Software, Software One, Flexera, Dell, Dimension Data, Snow Software, Staples, Sassafras, Adobe and VMware. Highlights included keynotes from Brian Gagnon (CEB Global) and Richard Bright (Insight), vendor presentations from Paul Hutchings and Andrea MacDonald (Microsoft), Kelly Altair (Software One), VMware and Apple and university presentations from Jeff Stafford (Griffith), four QUT IT students and Steve Johnston (CAUDIT) with the overall feedback being so overwhelmingly positive that the organisers have begun planning the 2017 event.

The conference included seven workshop sessions covering collaborative procurement (facilitated by Tim van Leuven from Qld State Government), contract management, Microsoft licensing, SAM tools and the now famous Great Debate which this year asked, “Is the future of SAM, Resourcing or Outsourcing?”

SLAM 2016 included the launch of a new online presence for the USLC due to the development work completed by four QUT 3rd year IT students. Using Microsoft’s Office 365 technology, the students have delivered a community environment that includes email (Outlook), storage (SharePoint), communication (Yammer and Skype) and collaboration (OneNote) which will provide the group with the ability to grow as a community of practice. The students presented the solution on Day 2 as part of a Microsoft focussed session which also included Microsoft highlighting the new features of Office 365 and discussions regarding enterprise licensing options.

Other highlights included presentations on Apple licensing programs, the VMware enterprise agreement, SPSS and Adobe licensing, cloud services and contracts, and SAM tool evaluation, procurement and deployment.

This year, Day 3 was restricted just to USLC delegates and included Steve Johnston’s regular CAUDIT Procurement update, the USLC’s 2017 planning session and an open forum on licensing. Also new in 2017 was a sponsor trade show on the first evening which was held on the 7th floor balcony of the Webb Centre overlooking the city. Combining the trade show with the conference welcome event received extremely positive feedback with all delegates and sponsors remarking on its success.

Survey responses collated from 35 attendees highlighted the overall quality (4.36 of 5), structure (4.12), content (4.22) and relevance (4.5) with all workshop sessions scoring over 3.5. The venue (4.67), room (4.44), audio/visual (4.22), food quality (4.5) all highlighted the attendees’ satisfaction with holding the event at the Ship Inn and over 90% would definitely attend next year. The on-line registration system scored 4.53 and the organisers, Anagram 4.71%. Importantly 100% agreed the focus of the workshop was appropriately targeted, the format worked and the conference sessions were valuable and generated good levels of engagement and discussion. The presentations all received good ratings for being interesting and thought provoking with comments like “relates very much to what my current focus is”, “well covered and informative”, “good content, well researched, knowledgeable”, “exceeded expectations which is why I keep coming” and “emphasised people”.

Some of the positive comments were:

  • Every year it gets better, a well-structured and targeted conference for a specialised discipline and spot on the money, very topical.
  • The very noticeable collegialness and camaraderie among USLC is often not seen enough around Universities, so keep up the great work.

Finally, with another successful event completed and the sponsors, hosts and delegates agreeing to schedule a 2017 event, this comment recognises why the conference worked, “Enjoyed spending time with knowledgeable USLC members. The conference venue was great and close to everything. Very relevant content. Job well done.”