4 Key Metrics Every Software Asset Manager Should Measure

Discover the four metrics Snow customer and ITAM/SAM industry veteran, Beth Kaminski, uses to quantify her team's SAM program.

Technology is the backbone of every organization. Without it, there is no scalability for any product or service. Failing to proactively manage your technology – and specifically, your dependence upon software — means rising costs and risk. Software asset managers (SAMs) know SAM will never be a profit center, but the work they do saves organizations money and reduces risk. Just how much? You discover and demonstrate that value by measuring every little thing, says ITAM/SAM industry veteran and Snow customer, Beth Kaminski.

The value of SAM can be derived from cost savings, time and productivity gains, enhanced customer experiences, reduced security and compliance risks and more. Here’s how Kaminski and her team quantify their SAM program.

1. Cost reduction

KAMINSKI: As the ITAM Manager at Dart Container, we launched an all-new SAM program. The company didn’t have a dedicated program previously. I set up a team of 3 people, and to justify the program and show value, we began by recording everything. We tracked a wide variety of activities, like software terminations, for example. The logic was that, without a thoughtful SAM program, the terminations never would have happened — those dollars would have been spent. In the first year, we were able to save the company something like a combined $1.9 million. Whenever you save money from being spent, in any amount, record it. The everyday numbers add up to big savings by end of year.

When it comes to ROI, everyone looks to the big wins, the six-figure wins. They want to look at large entitlements and point to data points like, “we saved $13 million over a font issue.” The big wins are great, of course, but more often than that in SAM it’s also about the little wins you are scoring day in and day out. It can be about the $1,000 saved here and another $1,000 saved there and that adds up to valuable ROI.

2. Cost avoidance

KAMINSKI: Another example is consistent software ticket triage. When a request for new software comes in, the SAM team looks at it and will usually triage the request. Every time you don’t add new software, we would look up the cost and then record that amount as a savings, too. Again, it was money saved.

3. Risk aversion

KAMINSKI: Looking at the bigger picture, you can also address financial risk beyond purchase price. Take the worst-case scenario and look at what that would have cost the company had it not been for a proactive SAM program. It’s often a compilation of costs and vendor non-compliance fines. In a Microsoft review I worked on once, the highest version we could install was 2016. We had 10 installs of 2019 (which we discovered because we were using Snow License Manager). Without catching that, we could have had real problems with Microsoft. To understand ROI in this example, we looked up the list price and a year’s maintenance/service agreement fees for that version. That total is what it could have cost us had we not been proactively looking. That dollar amount was recorded as ROI.

4. Time savings

KAMINSKI: We also addressed another important metric — time savings. Regularly tracking your efforts means you no longer scramble and spend weeks buried in spreadsheets come audit time. It also enables your IT team to spend more time working on strategic initiatives like a sustainability project or furthering the organization’s digital transformation efforts. Regular tracking not only saves time for the SAM team members, it provides time back to your technical or infrastructure teams so they can do what they do best, too. With a SAM program in place and a SAM solution that tracks everything, your technical teams aren’t wasting time looking for software information.

The daily work SAMs do brings significant value to their organization. While the department may not be a profit center, the program does keep more money in the bank, enhances productivity and reduces risk exposure every day.

To learn more about our featured guest, Beth Kaminski, check out her bio on LinkedIn.

This post is part of a series of blogs that highlight IT practitioners and their on-the-job experiences, diverse backgrounds and what it means to work in IT today. Look for more posts coming in the new year. 

If you’d like to share your story with Snow readers or nominate an ITAM/SAM star to tell theirs, please send an email to kathleen.shepherd@snowsoftware.com.