In today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape, managing software assets has become a critical challenge for organizations. The proliferation of SaaS subscriptions with a legacy environment of perpetual licenses has left organizations struggling with selecting a single software asset management (SAM) tool or a collection of specialized point solutions. SAM tools aim to decipher the complex world of license and SaaS subscription management. This has led to a diverse set of software asset management (SAM) requirements.
This blog explores our understanding of the key findings, recommendations and other sections from the Gartner® Market Guide for Software Asset Management Tools1, to help organizations select the right SAM tools to support their businesses.
- Addressing outcome-based metrics: As customer use of software changes, SAM tools must adapt to new outcome-based metrics in addition to traditional metrics. This includes supporting complex vendor metrics and staying updated with licensing models that evolve with modern technology.
- Data accuracy vs. resource management: Organizations struggle to gain accurate data from SAM tools due to an intense focus on 100% data accuracy rather than a combined effort of tooling supported by sufficient resourcing to manage data quality.
- Cloud services impact: The acceleration of cloud services and the establishment of cloud centers of excellence have increased IT spend, risking insufficiency of SAM tools.
To overcome the challenges associated with SAM tools and optimize their usage, sourcing, procurement, and vendor management leaders must consider the following recommendations:
- Define clear use cases and outcomes: Before investing in SAM tools, collaborate with stakeholders to establish a clear set of use cases and measurable outcomes for software asset management.
- Verify SAM tool capabilities: During the request for proposal (RFP) process, ensure that SAM tool vendors have the capability to handle changing vendor metrics.
- Invest in skilled resources or SAM MSPs: Organizations should invest in skilled resources or consider leveraging expertise of SAM MSPs (managed service providers) to ensure your SAM tools investment is capable of processing and interpreting complex datasets.
- Form strategic relationships with FinOps: Establish strategic relationships with Financial Operations (FinOps) teams to gain a comprehensive and trustworthy view of software consumption in cloud infrastructure and platform services. Leverage a combination of data generated by cloud management tools and SAM tools.
Market definition and description
The report identifies SAM tools are products that automate support tasks required to produce and maintain compliance with independent software vendor (ISV) license use rights and improve organizations’ ability to optimize software risk and spend. SAM tools provide in-depth software asset analysis by decoding license entitlements, automate software consumption data collection, establish ISV effective license position (ELP), govern software assets, optimize value delivery, and share information with other tools and stakeholders.
10 key activities of a SAM tool
The report outlines ten key activities that a SAM tool should possess, including:
- Platform discovery
- Entitlement discovery
- Platform consumption identification
- Entitlement identification
- Normalization of consumption data
- Normalization of entitlement data
- Sharing software asset information
Modern and complex technical use cases have seen the SAM tool market diversify into four distinct categories: traditional SAM tools, SAM tools for SAP, SAM tools for engineering and specialty software and SAM tools for SaaS. Despite how this market provides organizations with more choice than previously available, it has also created confusion for organizations in selecting the right tools.
The complexity of software licenses and evolving infrastructure pose challenges for SAM tools. SAM tool vendors focus their resources and products on their ability in supporting larger software publishers, common license types and commonly utilized infrastructure. As the software portfolio broadens, it leads to gaps in addressing custom license types and specialized vendors, products, and infrastructure. The diversified SAM tools market has seen traditional SAM tool vendors take a platform approach, moving into adjacent offerings such as IaaS management, unified endpoint management, SaaS management, workflow/request management, IT service management, vulnerability management and hardware asset management.
Traditional SAM tool vendors aim to strengthen their single platform offerings, broaden their scope and enter adjacent markets. SAM tools focusing on the niche areas and specialized software such as SAP, specialty and engineering applications and SaaS solutions are being embedded into this market. Despite how this market provides organizations with more choice than previously available, it has also heightened the confusion. The result is organizations not knowing which choice is best while struggling to find and deliver the ROI SAM tool vendors promise.
Alignment of SAM and FinOps
As organizations focus on cost optimization, SAM and FinOps functions must converge to bridge data gaps and optimize software spending. Without convergence, SAM teams run the risk of having incomplete visibility into cloud environments, consequently having an incomplete view of the license estate and risk discrediting the function while increasing software risk and cost.
Snow Software is proud to be recognized as one of the Representative Vendors in traditional SAM tools by Gartner.
You can find other vendor profiles in the full Gartner report.
By following the recommendations and understanding the market dynamics, sourcing, procurement, and vendor management leaders can make informed decisions to ensure SAM tools align with their strategic goals, enhance data quality, and optimize software risk and spend. Embracing the convergence of SAM and FinOps functions will further aid in achieving cost optimization and driving value from software investments.
Dive Deeper Download the full Gartner® report
Get the full Gartner report to learn more about selecting the right SAM tool for your organization and learn more about the vendors in this landscape.DOWNLOAD NOW
1Gartner, “Market Guide for Software Asset Management Tools” by analysts Jaswant Kalay, Ciaran Hudson, 31 August 2022.
The graphics were published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Snow Software.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Gartner is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.