Recent research from Gartner (“Software Asset Management is now a C-level imperative”, March 2016) confirms that “SAM has evolved into a discipline that supports strategic business development, requiring IT leaders to engage C-level commitment to SAM investment.”
According to the paper “Seventy-nine percent of individuals responsible for SAM report to a C-level role, and 27% of those responsible for SAM are themselves in C-level roles.”
We feel it’s a strong illustration of just how far Software Asset Management has come since the days of being the Cinderella of the IT operations world, stuck in the broom cupboard with the unglamorous job of counting IT assets and clearing up the mess after an audit.
While many organizations still have plenty of room to mature their SAM practices further, today’s SAM professionals are more embedded and relied-upon by the organization than ever. And that means not only dealing with software assets, licenses and contracts ‘as they are’ today, but how they should and will be in the future. Ask any Chief Financial Officer what his or her most-dreaded type of expenditure is and a typical response is “an unplanned one”. This is especially true when it comes to managing – and paying for – an organization’s software spend. There is a general acknowledgement among C-Level executives that software is vital to operations and is thus a priority for spend. What they don’t like is when additional unexpected spend is required, whether through audit, unforeseen requirements or wastage.
With software now accounting for 30-35% of overall IT spend, it’s hardly surprising that C-Levels want to be able to better plan their organizations’ future software requirements and costs.
It’s not all about licenses
Software spend comprises three main elements: licenses, contracts and support agreements. To effectively plan for today and tomorrow’s expenditure, organizations need to have a central view of all areas of spend, both generally and by individual vendor. In some circumstances, this can be complex, with overlapping agreements and entitlements with no common end date or cost base. Even volume licensing agreements can be tricky to manage, as it can be difficult to see the individual cost of purchases within larger agreements.
Take control today, plan for tomorrow
As organizations increasingly make us of Business Intelligence and Analytics tools to help plan their growth and expenditure, there is a wealth of data on software costs and use that can be used to help both prepare the organization for future spend as well as optimize the existing assets. Real-life installation and usage metrics can help show whether applications are being actively used or indeed if they should be replaced or retired from the network.
Gain the upper hand in negotiations
The benefits of accurate Software Asset Management data in effective vendor management are well-known. But point-in-time data can only go so far in helping organizations negotiate the best deal for their needs for the life of the upcoming agreement. Again, being able to extrapolate real-life data into a future model can help both reduce the cost of future contracts as well as avoid the unpleasant experience of having to go back and ask the CFO for more money mid-contract.
For most organizations, annual software contract True-Ups are a painful experience. Having the right financial records automatically combined with usage trends makes it substantially easier to prepare for vendor negotiations as well as giving confidence that the organization will get a good deal.
Where risks exist, these again can be pinpointed and addressed before the True-Up needs to be submitted to the vendor.
Future-proof your SAM with Snow License Manager 8
May 2016 sees the launch of Snow License Manager 8, complete with new financial management and trending features designed specifically to help SAM professionals and their C-Level sponsors make better decisions about the organizations’ future software needs and spend.
In the three-minute video below, David Foxen and I explore the new benefits this will bring to Snow platform users and other stakeholders across the business:
To arrange a demo of the exciting new financial management and trending features in Snow License Manager 8, why not speak to a Snow SAM expert today?