Ensure You Get The SAM ‘Basics’ Right – 64% of SAM Managers find their Desktop environment a major concern

Many organizations around the world have adopted mature IT Asset Management processes to control spend and minimize compliance risk. As a result, there is an increasing perception that managing desktop software has become routine, often categorized as a ‘basic’ element of Software Asset Management.

Software licensing models for desktop environments tend to be easier to understand than Cloud or Data Center agreements and discovering software installs in most cases can be a more straightforward task. However, as 64% of respondents in License Dashboard’s 2020 ITAM Community Survey highlighted, desktop remains a major area of concern for both budgetary overspend and licensing compliance risk.

Managing each piece of software installed on your organization’s devices reduces risk and is the start of mastering your Software Asset Management (SAM) program, before moving onto more complicated environments.

Where to start?

Traditionally, managing your desktop environment includes installing, tracking and uninstalling end user software. As organizations mature in their processes, SAM Managers also need to implement governance and enforce user permissions in order to protect the organization from potential security risk and overspend. A common risk License Dashboard encounters in end user organizations is the discovery of unsupported software that has reached vendor end of life, meaning the environment may not be patched correctly (if at all), which jeopardizes the entire IT environment. This can become extremely complicated when it comes to large organizations with hundreds or thousands of desktops to manage.

Simple activities such as keeping track of who has what installed, including software that may have been blacklisted, can become a real headache. This extends to understanding if each user has a license attached to their installed software, what software they are licensed for, and how they are using the software. It also enables support staff to remotely diagnose and fix faults when they arise.

Inventory solutions will discover your installed data, either via an agent or agentless discovery. Distribution of these agents can be complex but once they are configured correctly, the information brought back ensures you can track each piece of software when the device is switched on.

Please note, security needs to be taken into consideration here, as encryption to protect the traffic sent between the desktop and the inventory solution needs to be set up. The desktop also needs to have strong anti-virus software installed otherwise the whole setup can be compromised.

As desktops tend to have software directly installed, identifying risks is a lot more straightforward than identifying them within Data Center or Cloud environments.

What to do with your inventory data?

Once you have received the data from your inventory solution, it will need to be cleansed to remove any white noise and unneeded install information. License Dashboard offers a Data Cleanse Service to do this for you, so you are presented with clear, readable data that you can use.

Your install data needs to be aligned to your license entitlements to ensure you are compliant and utilizing the software correctly. This provides you with a licensing position and helps you identify any areas that need attention. Keeping a record of your purchased licenses and understanding how your employees can utilize each piece of software reduces license and compliance risk within your desktop environment.

For small organizations, manually managing your entitlements against installed software can be relatively straightforward, but this rapidly becomes a trickier issue as employee and device count increases. A sophisticated SAM tool allows organizations to correctly manage their desktop environment and with many having built in technologies, you are assisted in understanding how each piece of software is being utilized to help you make the correct decisions and reduce spend in your organization. SAM tools reconcile the data from your environment and will report whether a piece of software is being used.

Correctly managing your desktop environment produces achievable savings for your organization and gives you an understanding of what software is being utilized throughout your network. This paves the way for moving technologies forward and understanding where you can shift workloads to the Cloud and switch to SaaS applications if it is financially beneficial for your company.

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Ben Murden

Ben Murden

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