In light of Covid-19, organisations should focus on reducing their software costs and improving business outcomes. It is possible to cut spending on software by as much as 30% by implementing a Software Asset Management approach.

Software Asset Management (SAM) involves the infrastructure and processes necessary for effective management, control, protection and optimisation of software and its use within an organisation.

Unfortunately (and perhaps unsurprisingly) many businesses don’t have a clear understanding of the software which they are entitled to use and are currently using.

By optimising your Software Asset Management, you can get the most out of your software and see the real benefits from a business perspective.

 

What are the benefits?

Budgeting

Using SAM allows you to easily predict your software costs. It will allow you to better understand how your business goals align with your licensing needs. By using a SAM solution, you will be able to budget your software assets meaning that you have more productive time to focus on your core business values and projects.

Cost savings

Using SAM, you can determine your user needs while receiving the cheapest software licensing agreement. A SAM programme when fully implemented can help you cut software spending costs by reducing software, operational and support budgets over an extended period of time. Using a SAM programme also allows for faster application deployment which will ultimately improve user satisfaction. Initial savings can be often as high as 30%.

Mitigate risk

You should look to reduce software licensing risk by adopting a SAM process into your key business processes. If you are using SAM effectively, you can gain a clear view of your software’s configuration. This in turn will help you respond proactively to vulnerabilities and patching needs but also compliance requirements with regards to licence usage. An effective SAM process can help reduce risk within an organisation, reduce cost and improve business value.

Empowerment

Using SAM will result in you being in a better position to use your technology to its best ability and enhance overall productivity within the organisation. By partnering with software vendors, your collaboration can contribute to the efficient development of products and services.

Education

Using a SAM solution can educate you about the different licenses and the benefits that you should be receiving, as well as allowing you to understand exactly what you are paying for. It is important that you acquire insight from professional tools so that you will obtain an optimised return on investment with reduced costs.

Best fit licensing

Using the best fit licensing certifies that you are only buying what you need, and you will gain a clearer understanding of your software requirements. Ensuring that your business is properly licensed, will mean that your goals will be properly aligned with compliance and roadmap needs.

Integration

There is a wide range of leading companies that offer SAM services with 24/7 support. They can handle all of your application issues from any location meaning that you do not have to worry about software problems arising from incorrect integration.

Monitoring project success

Using a SAM solution can provide you with highly valuable data and allow you to track budget costs and the adoption of new applications. The SAM solution can also track deployment and adoption rates that you can superimpose against a project plan for better decision making.

Re-purpose rather than buying new

SAM offers a framework that is cost-effective, by which licenses can be re-harvested to put less pressure on your organisation’s IT budget.

Competitive edge

By choosing to adopt a manual approach to tracking software licensing, you are ultimately choosing to pay more, use up more of your time and be subject to errors. By automating this process, you will not only cut down on admin tasks, but will also free up time and resources so that you can focus on business goals and projects.

 

What are the challenges of implementing Software Asset Management processes?

No single tool / solution

There isn’t a single tool or solution that can discover all software and the information that is needed to measure all licensing models. There are tools that are better for certain vendors or platforms than others and some vendors partner with other technologies to expand their coverage.

On the discovery front, some software requires usage information and specific configuration settings. While on the licensing front, the product use rights can be elaborate. On both fronts, there is a requirement of specialised knowledge to create and maintain this level throughout.


Content and data drives automation

Content and data are demanding success factors in SAM as without it, the responsibility is on the end user to create and maintain it which is not practical unless the scope is limited. SAM content and data includes, but is not limited to, discovery, licensing models, product use rights, license owners, usage, and maintenance.


Complex and ambiguous

A common challenge with licensing models is that they can be complex and ambiguous and will keep on developing. Datacentre software is in general the most complex. Not all vendor terms are clear and quantifiable and new licensing models continue to surface. Before deciding to purchase any new software, organisations should confirm the compliance terms to bypass any ambiguity. If you do not know what to measure, you cannot be certain about your compliance position.


Standards slow to adopt

Some SAM standards can be slow and difficult to adopt. The fundamental standards are ISO/IEC 19770-1, 19770-2 and 19770-3. These standards have been slow to adopt to enhance automation and reduce the dependency of content services. These standards, particularly ISO 19770-2 and ISO 19770-3, will minimise the dependency on your SAM content which is critical to drive automation and reduce your SAM efforts.


Cloud complexity

Cloud licensing can be complex as this is normally less of an issue with licensing and compliance and more about optimisation and usage. Some cloud vendors are showing signs of improving the usage to avoid non-compliance, which moves the primary focus on the customer to ensure they do not over-spend. The tools and technology to capture and manage cloud-based programming are developing and will become more prevalent in the next few years to improve optimisation.


Lack of visibility

The lack of visibility can affect compliance, security, and over-spending. In terms of compliance, heavy fines can be administered after a software audit if the organisation is not operating within the framework that each software publisher dictates. In terms of security, the lack of visibility into software assets often means security patches and software updates that reduce vulnerabilities are administered late, if at all and may result in a network breach. In terms of over-spending, purchasing software licenses or the wrong license for applications that you do not utilise results in over-spending which is money that can better serve the organisation elsewhere.

 

Implementing a robust Software Asset Management plan

Step 1 – Plan

In the planning stage, organisations should identify their key stakeholders in the program and determine what resources are already allocated towards SAM whether that be formally or informally.

You should also determine the current level of compliance. This will allow multiple departments to understand the overall software use and will ultimately help you to choose which is the right SAM tools to deploy to meet your business goals. In this stage, an often-ignored stage is the planning for policy and new process adoption.

During SAM tool selection, ensure that you clearly define its scope and coverage. As noted above, no one tool can identify all software so it's important to identify any limitations or scope constraints which you may have and proactively look to plug these gaps.

Step 2 – Build and Validate

This stage is where the chosen SAM tool(s) comes in. Your chosen SAM tool(s) should be able to discover, identify and normalise an inventory of your software both in the cloud and on-premises. The tool(s) should combine licenses so that the team can compare each license that is being used against how many licenses they have purchased.

Some of the ways that the team can combine and understand this information includes reviewing contracts from publishers or receiving quotes and invoices from the procurement team. It is also in the build stage that the teams will have to gain an understanding of their entitlements and license complexities.

Validate current license and software usage with your business requirements and current contractual commitments. This step provides a great opportunity to identify cost savings across your estate.

Step 3 – Run

Many organisations think that compliance will easily fall into place with an accurate software inventory and a full understanding of their software entitlements and complexities. However, this information needs to be continuously assessed and updated to ensure compliance, cost optimisation and security on a long-term basis.

Build operational processes to continually monitor software consumption and usage across your business.

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