Getting beyond compliance and into effective SAM – Part 1 of 4

There are many challenges in Software Asset and License Management today – from choosing the relevant supporting technology, to building and managing the right team; not to mention the more granular obstacles like piecing together an organization’s license entitlement.

But in our experience, the majority of organizations running an in-house SAM program can typically boil their challenges down into a single obstacle; the struggle of getting past compliance and into the sweet spot of SAM. What we mean by that is getting to the point that you can actually start saving your organization money on its software spend – so that includes things like working on license optimization, policy and process implementation, as well as working towards industry standards.

What’s stopping organizations getting to the effective part of SAM?

Depending on your vantage point there are many specific reasons, however we find that they can normally be summarized as follows:

1. Slow implementation of technology, teams and processes

2. Being bogged down with transactional License Management tasks

3. The complexity of software licensing

Over the coming weeks we’ll discuss each one in more detail as well as outline what a SAM team should be spending their time on. So let’s start with implementation.

Part 1: Implementation

The implementation phase of an in-house SAM program often takes months, and in many cases years. If you’re in the earlier stages of your SAM journey, it’s hard to understand why it can take so long. So to help, we thought we’d share our experiences.

To keep things simple, we’ll break implementation down as follows:

1. Technology installation

2. Staff training

3. Technology and process roll-out

Let’s consider each reason in turn.

1. Technology Installation

Software Asset and License Management tools are a key part of an organization’s SAM program, with most organizations installing at least one inventory tool, a License Management tool and possibly a life-cycle management solution.

Installation can take a while because it’s often met with a variety of technical issues, system integration problems and configuration challenges. It may not sound like much, but in medium to large organizations (even 2500 devices +) this really slows things down – especially when you consider the fact that the IT team have other pressing responsibilities which can make the process disjointed.

2. Staff Training

Secondly there is staff training to consider and that can be broken down into two key parts:

  • Technology training
  • Software licensing training

From a technology point of view, Software Asset and License Management tools have come a long way recently, but the nature of the subject matter makes them complex when doing the number crunching in-house. It’s therefore important to choose the individuals with the right background and get the training scheduled with the vendor. Depending on the size of your team, location and vendor trainer availability, it is often weeks before a team has received their first round of user training. That doesn’t sound too taxing, however due to the complexity of on premise tools, continuous user support and training is required, especially in the first 6 to 12 months.

The software licensing side shouldn’t be overlooked either and requires a significant training investment – this training can be done externally or in-house, but either way this training takes time and must be on-going, which can be difficult when you consider the staff changes that can occur.

3. Technology and process roll-out

Finally, there is the initial technology and process roll out – often the larger the organization the more complex this phase is. Even if an organization starts with distributing the technology to the main users, this can be a really tricky phase to get right – employees need to understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and what’s expected of them. A lack of planning/experience, clear communication, poor training and team changes all contribute to a disjointed on-boarding process – so this is a phase which should be taken very seriously.

The crux of what we’re saying

In our experience the implementation of a fully in-house SAM program takes at least 6 months, that’s around 24 weeks of time away from day-to-day business activities, as well as time without any ROI against the SAM program because you’re not able to get to the value quick enough.

If you’d like to learn more about running a more effective SAM program/becoming a more effective SAM Manager, speak to us today.

Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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