Articles, Software

Why I love Software Asset Management

I could (and did) write a five thousand word document on why I love SAM, but trimmed it down to save your eyes. This is my personal opinion on why I love Software Asset Management – you will have your own reasons!

Someone recently asked me why I love SAM and why I am so passionate about the subject. Why DO I love SAM? Why should other people love SAM? Personally, I came to the following…

USER IMPACT

The positive impact SAM can have on an organisation and a user’s working life is huge. Let’s take the example an end-user within an organisation that has no SAM function whatsoever. No tool, no processes and no governance. How do they know what software they are entitled to? How do they understand how to really get the best out of the tools they have been provided?

Simple answer is – they don’t, nor do they know how to make a request for a new piece of software that can dramatically improve their working life. The whole software ‘game’ within the organisation ends up on a constant loop of never being in control, and never knowing the software landscape.

Fast forward to having a SAM function in place – a technology installed, processes followed and a universal understanding of why SAM is there. That same user that was frustrated with their working life because they didn’t have the right software or hardware for them to really excel in their job, now has all of the tools required for them to really push forward in their role.

You have no idea what is going on in your colleague’s personal life. What you do know is what experiences they go through at work – and the daily challenges they face and what tools are required to smash down those challenges. Whilst SAM cannot and will not make all of your troubles disappear, it can make things easier and it will improve your user’s experiences.

BUSINESS IMPACT

Next up is the awesome impact SAM can have on an organisation. Software Asset Management brings a whole host of opportunity, open doors and makes such a positive difference.

Financial Wins

Who doesn’t love saving money? We all do, and that is why cost savings/avoidance plays a massive part in the success of SAM. You can save money through license optimization, re-negotiation of contracts, finding cheaper alternatives or even through how you use the software. There is always a new way to save a bit of cash!

Optimization

I hate to use the car analogy as it seems to be used and then re-used, but I’m going to use it anyway! When you invest in a new car, you want to look after it, make use of its features and use it to drive here, there and everywhere. The same should be said of software. Your organisation has invested in the technology, so you should ensure that all users who have a copy of the software use it to their full potential. You wouldn’t purchase 100 cars, and only use 15. That is a huge waste of money and asset.

Risk Management

Understanding your biggest risks may seem like a basic principle – something all organisations should automatically do. We all know this isn’t the case. Through SAM and SAM technologies, you gain transparency on the potential license risks that your organisation has. How you identify a risk is another matter. Is it based on finances? Vendor audit activity? Number of licenses? No matter how you identify your risks, you can use SAM to manage or even rectify those risks.

Influence

Software Asset Management data does not stay within the SAM function – it can be used to add value to other areas of the business. We can provide the likes of security, finance, service management, HR and even legal valuable data that they can act upon to achieve their goals. Before you know it, SAM is a central hub for reliable data and also business improvement. To use my words – that is epic!

TECHNOLOGY

The technology within SAM nowadays has come so far from even when I first started in SAM in 2008. SAM solutions pay for themselves – I have witnessed that first hand. Speaking to a number of SAM professionals recently, they are still using SCCM and Microsoft Excel as their senior management have not yet coughed up the money for a SAM solution.

Sure, it looks like an expensive outlay at first, but look at it like this;

My organization has 5,000 seats. We are currently using SCCM and Excel to try to understand our entitlements and deployments. We are not having much luck as we have yet to configure the usage stats for our key applications, and we are finding that the SCCM reports contain a lot of ‘noise’ and are too detailed for our needs. License optimisation has not even been discussed yet. Enter the glorious world of technology! I purchase an inventory solution, license manager solution and a software recognition module to help cleanse my complex data. It is installed, within two days, and I’m starting to see SAM intelligent data. Epic! Over time, I add all of my software licenses and contracts, so I start to see my risks. In conjunction with the technology, I then start to look at my license position, my user’s usage, and my contracts. With the power of my SAM data from my technologies, I can start to reclaim unused licenses (cost avoidance), address my biggest compliance risks (again, more cost avoidance) and look at the state of my contracts.

With SAM data from a SAM solution, you are perfectly placed to make informed decisions. The SAM solution becomes another member of the team! The technology becomes the central hub of the SAM function, and also best friends with other business areas thanks to the vast amount of data it produced, and the customised dashboards. My point is that technology now plays such a pivotal role within SAM, and does actually become a member of the team. Once you start using SAM technologies, you start to forget how hard it was when you were burying your head in spreadsheets.

They pay for themselves.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Personally, I just want to make a difference to the SAM world and help it evolve and become a mainstay of any organisation. It is an exciting time to be a SAM professional, and it is a perfect time to help drive the industry forward so the function and its professionals get the credit and recognition they deserve. From my perspective, I look at it in this way: you never know what is around the corner. You will spend the majority of your life working, so why do something you do not enjoy? Life is far too short.

I know I am very fortunate (some say weird) to be so passionate about SAM and what I do. But I’m loving my working life – I love waking up in the morning knowing that there are so many organisations out there that we can help, so many new license metrics to learn. I love talking to people about SAM, hearing their challenges and success stories, understanding the techniques they have used to achieve success within their organization. After all, SAM techniques and methods for success can come down to a matter of opinion and experience.

I would love to know why you are passionate about Software Asset Management. What elements of SAM do you find interesting? Feel free to leave a comment and show our wonderful industry some love!

About the author:

David Foxen is a true Software Asset Management expert, having implemented a successful SAM structure in a number of organisations. He has also saved millions of pounds via internal audits and optimizing existing licenses. He has previously held a number of SAM roles including SAM Evangelist, ITAM Director, Global Software Asset Manager, Software Asset Manager and Software Asset Analyst.

Currently David is a Global Software Asset Manager for a world-wide, specialty chemicals and sustainable technologies company, responsible for implementing Software Asset Management from the ground up.

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