Eating the SAM Elephant

Software Asset Management. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? The reality is far from simple, however. To begin to understand the full spectrum of SAM requirements, you just need to turn to the now infamous definition of SAM from the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL):

“…all of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets…throughout all stages of their lifecycle.”

Not much to do then!

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that many organizations unwittingly bite off more than they can chew when tackling SAM for the first time. As the age old saying goes, “how do you eat an elephant?”, “one bite at a time!”.

For SAM success to be realized, you first need to define what SAM success looks like for your organization. You then need to break this down into smaller, specific chunks that can be reported against. Here are some suggestions for how to tackle SAM in the right order:

1.Don’t ignore the people and processes – a good SAM solution is worth its weight in gold, but there is no such thing as ‘turnkey’ SAM success. Organizations must identify, train or recruit the right stakeholders across the organization – to assist with asset inventory, entitlement collection, procurement records and more. Agree what input is required from each stakeholder and with what frequency before deploying any technology.

2.Prioritize your efforts – the average organization could have software from as many as 100 different vendors on their network. But the chances are that upwards of 80% of the annual software spend goes on software from just a handful of those vendors. Applying the 80/20 rule, you should prioritize on the vendors with a) the biggest annual spend and b) the ones most likely to audit!

3.Start simple – you know this already, but licensing is complex. Thankfully though, some licensing schemes are simpler to administer and manage than others. So rather than diving in at the deep end, sometimes it’s better to cut your teeth on the more simple desktop applications and work up to more complex server licensing challenges.

4.Don’t bury your head in the sand – the counter-side to point 3; you need to start simple but you must not avoid the more challenging issues around licensing. Server virtualization, for example, is a major focus for many software audits at the moment and it’s easy to either end up non-compliant or spending too much if you don’t have the right tools and expertise in place.

SAM success can come quickly. We’ve seen plenty of customers save up to 20% of their annual software spend in just a few months following the deployment of License Dashboard technologies. But that’s really just a small part of the ongoing cost savings and business benefits that a well-executed SAM campaign can deliver over the longer-term.

So the message (if not the task) is simple: put all your pieces in place, then prioritize on the quick wins first with the more complex challenges being tackled as you build your skills and experience.

You can read more about the journey to dynamic SAM in our white paper – Software Asset Management, much more than just inventory

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Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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