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A growing list of reasons to invest in SAM?

By Axel Kling | September 08, 2014

In a recent poll of Snow customers in the UK, we asked them to identify the key business drivers for the adoption of Software Asset Management (SAM) in their organization.

To evidence how attitudes towards SAM have changed in recent years, the top answer was not compliance-related (to be prepared in advance of an audit” was the second most popular answer, cited as a top-three reason by 29% of respondents). Instead the number one answer, cited by 36% of respondents was to “Identify/drive software procurement cost savings”.

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In other words; a lot of organizations believe they are spending too much on software.

Being able to prove this belief with cold hard facts about current licenses and software usage can pay for itself in just months, as organizations use the intelligence provided by sophisticated SAM solutions to either clamp down on unnecessary expenditure or even renegotiate with software publishers for volume licenses and even Support & Maintenance agreements.

With the current trend pointing strongly towards a move from on-premise applications and storage to cloud-based services, one thing we’re seeing in the SAM community is an increasing drive to discount cloud licensing in the hopes of moving customers onto the latest platforms and software versions. The discounts on offer can appear to be quite attractive.

But there has to be an argument for buyer beware here. The only real way to know whether what’s on offer represents good value is to be able to access four questions simultaneously:

  • What are you paying for licenses today?
  • What does that actually entitle you to?
  • How are you using the software today?
  • What’s the status of the hardware it’s installed on? (is it leased, new or written down for tax purposes)

And, if you want to add a fifth question,

  • What are your intentions for future use of the software in question? (at a simple level, do you expect it to increase or decrease)

Only when you can easily answer the questions above can you decide whether any discounted licensing is actually worth the investment.

And, of course, you won’t be surprised to hear that providing those answers is exactly what a capable SAM solution can do.

You can track licenses, software installs, software usage and costs (both for hardware and software) from a single SAM console, easily creating management reports to help decide whether what’s on offer from a software publisher eager to move you into the cloud is a good deal for your organization.

Of course, there are other options to moving to the cloud. One option is to look at reselling any unused licenses. Re-harvesting software (read our guide here) is a familiar concept in SAM circles, but recently we’ve seen the emergence of the ‘second hand’ software market (now legitimized following a court ruling in Germany).

Organizations could potentially recoup significant amounts by reselling their unused (and eligible) licenses. And there’s nothing to stop organizations potentially doing both! Moving to the cloud could give some organizations the option to resell their old licenses.

A note of caution. Moving to the cloud doesn’t remove the need for good SAM practices.

Although arguable ‘compliance’ is less of an issue in cloud environments (where it is the service provider’s responsibility to avoid over-use), there is still a strong case for SAM in terms of optimizing software cost and availability.

Just as it was (and still is) easy to over-spend on on-premise licenses, it’s just as easy to over-spend in the cloud if you don’t have a good handle on what applications are being used by which employees.

It’s something we’re very aware of at Snow and we were one of the first SAM solutions vendors to introduce cloud usage monitoring.

So maybe the move to the cloud is unstoppable, but it doesn’t remove the need for SAM. In fact, it could strengthen it more than ever, as organizations become increasingly cost-conscious in a world that actively encourages over-consumption!

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