License Dashboard 2017 SAM Review

If a week is a long time in politics, then a year is an age in IT. In the last twelve months we have seen a huge increase in cybersecurity awareness following a series of well-publicized global attacks. As well as this there has been a shift towards an industry-wide focus on GDPR preparation as the May 2018 deadline suddenly becomes very real in the minds of those affected. Not forgetting a continued, if not accelerated, move towards cloud IT for many organizations and the continued rise of IoT innovation, 2017 has been a busy year.

As an industry that is tied to many different facets of IT, Software Asset Management has seen rapid progression of its own. Cloud, GDPR and Cybersecurity have driven their own SAM requirements in some organizations, whilst the constant threat of vendor audits – with the publication of some eye-watering fines for non-compliance – has propelled the vital importance of SAM into sharp focus.

To round off the year we spoke to License Dashboard Client Director Andrew Potterton and SAM General Manager Dave Chamberlain to get their view on the last twelve months in the industry.

–              How has the software asset management industry progressed in 2017 and has it developed in areas that you expected at the beginning of the year?

AP: The focus of the software asset management discipline is shifting from compliance to cost containment, as reduced customer bargaining power produces escalating prices at SaaS contract renewal. The assignment of licenses to named users without adequate justification has become more costly, as subscription models create a recurring expense for each license, whether used or unused. Overall, from 2015 to 2020, IT spending on enterprise application software will grow at an 8.6% rate. During this same period, SaaS growth will be 19.3%, and can be expected to reach $76 billion by 2020. Strong SaaS revenue growth and corresponding client expenditure mean that IT leaders can no longer ignore the need to manage SaaS costs carefully.

DC: The SAM function of many organizations has now matured to a degree where compliance is simply a by-product of what they do. The focus now is switching to the value good SAM and ITAM data offers such as insights into their Cyber Security and Cloud Readiness positions or feeding other systems such as ITSM and CMDB tools with normalized and enriched data.

–              Have you seen recurring pain points for SAM professionals through the year and what do providers like License Dashboard need to do to address these?

AP: Microsoft SPLA licensing is becoming more important to service providers who are leasing software. Customers need to accurately report usage to Microsoft on a monthly basis otherwise risk fines or audits. License Dashboard are actively working to enhance the reporting and SPLA functionality with Microsoft to enhance the SPLA solution and reporting within License Manager.

User based licensing and integrating with cloud portals to provide a single point of truth has also been an issue for customers. License Dashboard have integrated user based usage, taking data from cloud tool provider portals, allowing License Manager to cleanse user data from any data source and allow the tool to take away normalization of user data to show a single point of the truth.

Also with migrations to cloud service offerings E.g. Microsoft Azure, customers are seeing unexpected budgetary spend. License Dashboard have integrated the cloud consumption data from Azure and show this data within License Dashboard Portal acting as a central repository for all data sources for customers to review compliance and risk.

DC: SAM and ITAM related data is now consumed by a broader spectrum of user roles within organisations so it is crucial to control what data can be seen by whom – particularly commercially sensitive data such as contract terms or apparent shortfalls and any overspend that could pose a risk to brand or reputation. License Dashboard Portal helps ensure relevant and appropriate data is seen by approved users only.

–              Do you think SAM is becoming a more important consideration for organizations of all sizes, considering the publicized vendor fines that some businesses have received in recent times?

AP: License Dashboard has seen an upturn in enquiries from customers who are for the first time looking for a SAM solution. Due to the complexities of the licensing models and the higher risks of audits more organizations are starting to see the benefit in a SAM solution. If done well, Software Asset Management in an organization can save unnecessary spend, re-harvest unused licenses and reduce the maintenance renewals year on year.

DC: Whilst it is true that one or two vendors have taken a more pragmatic view towards audit and compliance there is still a growth trend in this area in terms of new vendors initiating reviews. Of course, remediating shortfalls, particularly when the software was deployed in error, always leaves a bitter taste for some but often the pain and time spent in dealing with the vendor- often through a third party- has sharpened the focus of many organizations to become more proactive and avoid a repeat. License Dashboard has seen a global upturn in tool interest with enquiries from customers who are for the first time looking for a SAM solution. It would be fair to say that the long-standing audit vendors would target any sized end user that fit a calculated profile the new audit cottage industry created by smaller software vendors has increased the likelihood of a call.

–              What are the main highlights of License Dashboard’s development of our product and services in 2017?

AP: Over 2017 License Dashboard have developed a number of enhancements to the solution. License Manager 11 was released this year, focusing around user based licensing, resolving multiple user identities to primary users as well as calculating primary users to assets. License Dashboard Portal has been further developed, pulling in Azure billing data and also adding the ‘Lite’ product for report only consumers.

Additional connectors have been developed to further the tool agnostic capabilities of our platform. These include BMC ADDM, JAMF Casper, VMware AirWatch, Azure and VMware Vcenter. Our Dashboard Discovery tool has been further developed, as has our Web API product.

As a platform we have shifted from purely a SAM and ITAM management towards a broader spectrum of capabilities. We have developed the key directive of managing both traditional and new license types within a single technology platform. No matter what stage our customers are at, the License Dashboard platform can be utilized to enable them on their IT journey.

Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

Leave a Reply