Software asset management touches multiple processes, people, technologies, and provides many beneficial outcomes. These benefits can include reduced spend, risk identification, and reduction of manual effort.
Over the summer, many of us at Snow Software attended in-person and online events. In comparing notes, we were surprised to find that many software asset practitioners have yet to incorporate managing cloud applications and infrastructure into their software asset management practice.
Technology change is certain, especially in IT. The reason why your organization invested in software asset management in the first place was to help reduce risk, minimize spend or achieve strategic initiatives with greater speed. If you’re not managing cloud assets, is your team able to make the impact desired by the business? How does managing cloud assets help achieve your software asset management program outcomes?
Reduce cloud costs
Over the last several years, cloud spend has grown and is predicted to grow even more, outpacing traditional, on-premises software spend. Gartner® predicts that almost two-thirds of application spend in 2025 will be directed toward cloud software1. Gartner also reported that cloud infrastructure is predicted to grow by ~30% this year. These trends may not be obvious to many organizations because cloud spend falls outside traditional IT with the line of business procuring their own applications and DevOps managing cloud infrastructure.
With distributed purchasing for cloud apps, there is application sprawl. Your organization might have several contracts in place for the same application, or even more likely, different divisions and departments may be purchasing products with redundant functionalities.
To add to this, business units may not be managing spend like a software asset management professional. They may not be able to identify unused licenses or right-size license bundles according to actual usage and need. With cloud infrastructure spend, the story is similar. Developers provision workloads as needed. With multiple cloud providers in use, spending can quickly escalate without a tool in place that can monitor and make recommendations for cost savings.
Takeaway: Talk to marketing operations, sales operations, HR and engineering to uncover how they are managing their most expensive SaaS applications and cloud infrastructure spend. Uncover if your organization has a FinOps practice. You likely can help them save the business up to 30% on these costs.
With SaaS applications, nothing is installed on the device (with the exception of some hybrid applications like Microsoft 365®), so traditional methods of scanning installations to detect unsanctioned applications is not going to catch risks for SaaS applications. In addition to paid applications, organizations need to be wary of free application usage as these applications could be storing customer data and putting your organization at risk if they’re not handled properly. Because these applications are not going through your secure single sign-on platform, passwords for these applications could be weak and easily hacked.
Takeaway: Collaborate with your security team to determine if a process is in place to identify all SaaS applications in use by your employees. If one does not exist, consider expanding your software asset management tooling to incorporate shadow SaaS discovery (often done with a browser extension).
Automate time-intensive processes
If you’ve automated data collection and cleaning for your on-premises environment, you’ve likely enjoyed several weeks of time savings when preparing for negotiations and audits. With cloud environments, it’s even more important to automate the collection and analysis of where to save because these environments change so fast. IaaS instances and containers can be spun up/down in the blink of an eye. It’s impossible for any human to keep track of those changes on a spreadsheet.
Takeaway: If you haven’t invested in automated tooling to collect, normalize and analyze your IT asset data, now is the time to make a change to keep up with your modern IT stack. With visibility into cloud assets, you could help your organization make an even bigger impact by reducing risk and reallocating wasted spend to projects that could help the organization innovate at greater speed.
You can learn more about prioritizing software asset management processes in our best practice guide, “Building a Successful ITAM Program.”
The guide provides a deeper look into the elements of a successful ITAM program implementation, including:
- ITAM benefits for IT operations management processes
- Additional guidance on establishing solid processes and policies
- Advice on applying Technology Intelligence from your ITAM program to other areas