What is SAM to me? The IT Department

In our last post we looked at what SAM means to a SAM Manager. We looked at both the ideal perspective and what is arguably the reality for many SAM Managers. This time we are going to apply a similar logic to the IT Department – what value does/should SAM offer to an IT Manager and is there a simpler way of looking at it?

What is SAM to the IT Department?

The perception of SAM within the IT Department will differ depending on the size and relative SAM maturity of the organization. The larger an organization the more mature their SAM understanding is likely to be. With regards to how the IT department benefits from/perceives the value of SAM, there are perhaps three common scenarios (listed in order of SAM maturity):

1. SAM is not my responsibility because it is not something we’re aware of or are tasked to do

2. SAM is my responsibility because it sits within the IT department

3. SAM is not my responsibility because my organization has a separate SAM division that sits outside of the IT department

SAM can offer value to each of the above scenarios, however, the value it offers will alter as analyzed below:

1. SAM is not my responsibility because it is not something we’re aware of or are tasked to do

This is where SAM has the toughest journey. With little or no SAM experience, this organization needs to not only become aware of the benefits, get the right person(s) to own the initial project, but also learn the basics of SAM!

So who’s going to get the ball rolling?!

Whether it’s the CEO who decides to initiate a SAM programme or it’s a proactive IT analyst, most organizations don’t dive into the pool without testing the water first, a wise decision. So the proof of concept is likely to be the responsibility of the IT department – hence scenario two:

2. SAM is my responsibility because it sits within the IT department

At this stage SAM has become a higher priority within the organization, but it’ll still need to prove its value before more investment is made. The good news is that return on investment can be significant in these early stages by simply getting the license management foundation in place i.e. by taking control of the software install and usage data, as well as the license records the organization owns. After all, even a little order is better than a complete lack of visibility and control.

As this foundation settles the SAM and IT team can optimize the organization’s software usage, with the joint department able to ask questions like; does our employee really need this software? What impact will this install have on our architectural plans? Can we re-allocate the software licenses from this dis-used device? Once upon a time these questions may never have been asked, let alone been possible to answer – but with more information at its fingertips the IT department is now able to deliver more value to the business.

That’s not the end of the story though. Only once SAM is implemented at this basic level can an organization begin to invest more into SAM and move onto the next phase:

3. SAM is not my responsibility because my organization has a separate SAM division that sits outside of the IT department

In this most mature environment, SAM is transitioned outside of the IT department and into its own division. This is a mature IT department’s dream because at this point the organization will know how important SAM is. The IT department will enjoy the peace of mind that SAM is dealt with and any SAM questions that the management team may have is no longer a distraction for the IT department as they will be dealt by the SAM division directly. In this environment IT and SAM will still work together alongside Finance and Procurement on IT purchasing decisions, but both departments are freed up to focus on more strategic SAM tasks, such as the refinement of SAM processes and streamlining procurement.

Fundamentally, taking aside the individual benefits of audit management, SAM workflows, software procurement streamlining etc., SAM should be the same for the IT manager as anyone else – it should be about balancing software needs with software spend. Again, it is about balancing the equation of software spend with software needs as defined in the first blog post – Back to Basics: What is SAM?

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Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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