OK, so the first month is over; what are your next steps? In this second installment of our three-part blog serial, we’ll take a look at the SAM process you need to consider for the next couple of months. Having gained some insight in the first 30 days, now is the time to start using this information to shape your SAM plan moving forward.
But what should your SAM strategy look like, what are your priorities and what unknowns do you still need to address?
On one level, the SAM plan needs to communicate to the rest of the business what the SAM team’s overarching objectives are and how they will go about achieving those aims.
The plan will typically include activities such as monitoring application usage, entering licenses for publishers X, Y and Z into the SAM solution and performing product portfolio consolidations.
The SAM plan can be an important tool in gaining the buy-in you need from the organization’s management team, aligning the team’s objectives with those of the organization at large (think efficiency goals, cost savings, governance requirements etc.). The ‘follow the money’ strategy employed in the first 30 days can be used to good effect to help shape the SAM plan moving forward.
You should have by now identified which software vendors you are most heavily invested in, where there is scope for software re-harvesting (i.e. where deployed software is not being actively used) and where large costs (such as renewals) are expected in the coming 12 months.
Priorities should be set on a cost/benefit basis, which should again help achieve full management buy-in. While it is tempting to try to write a SAM proposal designed to impress, it is important to ensure that any objectives outlined are realistic. Quick wins are definitely a good thing, but so too is strategic planning that demonstrates a long-term commitment to continuous SAM improvements. Based on my experience with customers, there are three components that should form the backbone of any successful SAM plan:
Defined roles and responsibilities
There are four key types of role the need to be considered as part of a SAM plan:
- Management Sponsor: For the SAM initiative to be a success, management sponsorship is crucial and to give it visibility higher in the organization.
- Software Asset Manager: Taking overall responsibility for software and related assets
- SAM process owner/manager: The manager operates the SAM process, and the owner sets overall objectives
- Asset Admins: Ensuring up-to-date and correct records, including historical ones.
When considering each of these roles, it is important to define and document things like responsibilities and levels of access to the SAM solution (Snow License Manager supports several user access levels). It is possible that one person may cover several roles.
Identify ongoing synergies with other business units to embed SAM practices throughout the organization.
One area often missed by SAM teams, but that can drive significant benefits to both SAM adoption and the wider business operations, is identifying synergies between the SAM team and other business units. We discussed this in an earlier blog post. I won’t re-cover those points, but from a SAM plan perspective it is important to explore these possibilities and include them in your plan. You may have other quick wins on a local level. For example, my colleague Jelle Wijndelts recently published a blog post looking at why UK companies aren’t using SAM data to secure R&D tax credits.
Define a minimum of key activities/processes
It may sound obvious, but something critical to the success of the SAM program is to actually make use of the SAM solution! The last thing you want in an area where the goal is to eliminate software wastage is to waste the SAM solution itself! A successful SAM plan will document the level of expected activity in the solution and who is responsible for what actions. Ideally, a SAM ‘workflow’ should be documented to show how the process is managed across multiple team-members (who may even reside in different departments across the organization). At the same time, defining a SAM workflow can be a good way to illustrate the importance of SAM to other stakeholders.
One of the processes that may well also help you gain favor among the wider organization and management team is to decide what information the SAM team can/will make available to other stakeholders and on what sort of frequency.
Thanks to its various user levels and ability to deliver management dashboards to multiple stakeholders, Snow License Manager makes it easy to get people across the organization involved in the SAM process and to provide instant access to information and SAM metrics that will both help program adoption and buy-in. As an example, the “License Purchases per Month” widget available in Snow License Manager gives you an indication of what is going on per publisher per month. It can highlight procurement gaps within each publisher that you could set to regularly monitor.
Ultimately, the SAM plan can be as detailed as you want to make it. But sometimes too much detail detracts from the overall objective and it is better to keeps things clear, simple and agile. By including the above three key areas in your SAM plan, you will be able to measure the ongoing effectiveness of the program while also having room to maneuver should priorities change mid-program. In the next blog post, we’ll look beyond the SAM plan and what to focus on for the rest of the first year.
In the meantime, if you’re an existing Snow License Manager user and would like some advice on how to build a SAM plan or extend management reports to stakeholders across the organization, why not take a look at our Training and Service offerings.
And if you’ve not yet used Snow License Manager, why not arrange a demo today!