Noventiq Northern Europe stars in Protinus IT interview series

Dutch IT Channel, in cooperation with Protinus IT, has done a series of interviews with a selected number of Protinus' partners. These partners have their say, each highlighting their own specialism and knowledge of the market. What trends and developments do they see and what advice do they have for end customers? Such as Noventiq Northern Europe.

Noventiq: ‘IT Asset Management is the foundation’

This interview is part of a Protinus IT interview series (read the Dutch version here

Partners are indispensable for Protinus IT. The Managed Sourcing specialist connects the right parties and thus tackles IT challenges. Together with its carefully composed partner network, it ensures that end customers can keep up with developments in IT. In this series of interviews, which was created in cooperation with Protinus, seven partners speak, each highlighting their own specialism and knowledge of the market. What trends and developments do they see and what advice do they have for end customers? This time it is Noventiq's turn.

Noventiq, until recently known as Softline Group, has specialised in IT Asset Management for many years. Recently, the company has broadened its scope, but in doing so, it is certainly not forgetting its roots. Because the importance of IT Asset Management is underestimated, Dennis Montanje believes.

Over three years ago, Softline Group was acquired by Noventiq Holdings PLC. Since 1 March this year, the Northern European branch of the company - which includes the Netherlands - also carries the Noventiq brand name. At the same time, the scope of operations also changes a little, explains Dennis Montanje (Executive Vice President Northern Europe). ‘The market knows us as a specialist in IT Asset Management (ITAM, ed.). We have been helping companies with licensing issues, software release optimisation and compliance, among other things, for 13 years. As part of Noventiq, we will definitely continue to do that, but also help customers with other issues in their digital transformation.’

Drawing smart conclusions
He says this is a very logical combination. ‘It fits together seamlessly. ITAM provides the basic information of the IT household: knowing what assets there are in the organisation and how they relate to each other. On that basis, you can draw smart conclusions based on facts, including IT Lifecycle Management. For example, which components are ‘end-of-service life’? Many people can remember when the government had to pay Microsoft to continue using Windows XP. The same is happening now in many organisations with SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012, both of which are no longer supported but are still widely used. That poses risks.’

‘From there, we now also help customers define a strategy to modernise workloads,’ he continues. ‘These are the first steps towards digital transformation. Using the seven Rs in AWS's cloud migration strategy (rehost, replatform, repurchase, refactor, relocate, retire and retain, ed.), we help customers modernise their workloads, including by bringing them to the cloud and building a container infrastructure.’ He mentions AWS for a reason. ‘We entered into a strategic partnership at the end of last year. They are a very important partner.’

Noventiq operates in more than 60 countries. In the Netherlands alone, it has just under 50 employees. There is a lot of international cooperation. ‘As a Dutch branch, we are currently helping our colleagues in Cambodia with a major ITSM implementation,’ Montanje gives as an example. The company has customers in the central government, but also in the commercial sector, spread across various industries, mainly at the top end of the market.

Adapting methodologies
Montanje sees a number of developments. ‘Nobody can ignore the trend of cloud. Even the people who deal with ITAM at our clients now notice this, especially on the software side. They manage the software contracts of major manufacturers and are increasingly confronted with cloud and the way of billing that goes with it. They need to adjust their methodologies accordingly and are increasingly getting involved in the financial aspect of cloud, i.e. Cloud Cost Optimisation and FinOps. These were separate areas of work but the boundaries are disappearing, we notice in all countries.’

According to him, the importance of ITAM is only increasing. ‘Previously, a vendor would come and do an audit and it often ended up costing a lot of money. Now, it is not the vendors that are the driving force, but the regulators. Because of NIS2 and DORA, it is crucial to know what assets you have in house. You also want to be able to put an overarching intelligence over that. Only then will you know where you are at risk. In my opinion, NIS2 and DORA are still too often about security and too little about ITAM, while that is the basis. You can't secure something you don't know is there. That applies to every organisation.’

Dennis Montanje on Protinus: ‘We have been working with Protinus for a long time, especially in central government. Now that we are broadening our field of activity, the cooperation is only getting stronger. We will act together towards the central government when it comes to application modernisation. We complement each other nicely. Protinus is very good at this integrator role and I don't see this becoming blurred. As a knowledge partner, they give us the space and support we need.’

First in the world
ITAM has its own ISO standard: 19770-1. ‘Soon there will be a new version, which will include FinOps,’ Montanje knows. ‘We would like companies to embrace that standard and also get certified as an organisation. The latter has only recently become possible. We have been working towards that because we want to make the ITAM industry more mature. That is why we are members of the international ITAM Forum, the owner of the certification scheme. There is now a Dutch auditor who can perform audits in this field worldwide.’

Noventiq Northern Europe itself was the first in the world to achieve ISO 19770-1 certification in February 2023. In late 2023, it helped a key customer, the Dutch police, prepare to achieve the same status. ‘The cooperation with them goes back to 2012. We work closely with their ITAM specialists and helped implement the technology. In December, the Dutch police received their ISO quality stamp. That was really the crowning glory of our joint work.’

Montanje advises companies to follow suit, and he also advocates that certification should eventually be included as a condition in tenders, among other things, as is currently done with ISO 27001 and ISO 27002. ‘Making those certifications compulsory ensures that you can cover chain liability in areas such as security. If, with the help of ISO 19770-1, you can also do that in terms of ITAM, it gives more control and confidence.’

Softline Group NE is now Noventiq NE

Since 1st of March 2024, Softline Group Northern Europe is renamed to Noventiq Northern Europe