Key Capabilities to Look For in a Software Asset Management Tool
The market guide outlines an analysis of the market, some of the key vendors serving the market and the critical capabilities organizations should consider in a solution. The magic quadrant provided additional analysis to rank each vendor’s capabilities which helps organizations de-risk the purchase process and identify a short list for their vendor selection process.
We hypothesize that Gartner decided to change to the market guide from the magic quadrant because the software asset management market is changing rapidly with the increase in spend on SaaS applications, cloud infrastructure, and new practices of controlling cost and performance with FinOps. This change is evident with the dozens of cloud cost and SaaS management platform providers that have emerged in the last few years.
How the software asset management market has evolved
Undoubtedly, the software asset management market is in a state of change. In 2019, we predicted the software asset management market would evolve and Technology Intelligence would be the future enabler to help IT organizations understand and manage all technology assets to maximize business potential and resilience.
Snow Software is a leader in software asset management, because we’ve helped organizations to:
- Bring in data from silos
- Clean data
- Append data
- Analyze data to provide recommendations and insights
- Leverage data to anticipate and react quickly to evolving market trends and business requirements
Today’s organizations have even more data silos with the explosion of SaaS, multi-cloud infrastructure environments and containerized workloads. Speaking to SAM professionals, many are blind to the spend and usage of these technologies in their organizations. Technology Intelligence is needed now more than ever and can help organizations have the right intelligence to rapidly make decisions across their hybrid IT environment. By removing data silos, organizations can answer questions such as:
- How is technology being used across the organization (IaaS, SaaS and on-premises), and where should we prioritize improvements or remove redundancies and waste?
- How do I optimize license costs between pay-as-you-go and BYOL?
- Where should I prioritize my security efforts across the application environment to address risk for vulnerabilities and unsanctioned applications?
Snow Software Technology Intelligence capabilities
For those using the Gartner SAM Market Guide to come up with your short list of preferred SAM vendors, we thought it would be helpful to provide additional details on how Snow helps organizations obtain Technology Intelligence. We’ve organized key capabilities under three main functions:
- Automated discovery and inventory
- Data normalization and augmentation
- Analysis, insights and recommendations
Automated discovery and inventory
Snow Software leverages agentless and agent-based methods to discover devices and applications across your hybrid IT environment. This includes end-user devices and installed applications, data center devices and applications, and SaaS applications. Our discovery capabilities include:
- Ingesting data from your existing management consoles with pre-built integrations to over 130 applications including System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft 365 and more.
- Our device network discovery leverages a combination of seven network discovery technologies that can discover 100% of IP addressable devices on the network.
- Using a browser extension, Snow’s solution automatically recognizes over 8,300 SaaS applications and captures usage. By understanding the full scope of SaaS applications used in the environment (licensed and free), organizations can do a more thorough job of assessing risk, optimizing costs and removing application redundancies.
- The Snow Inventory agent captures hardware profiles of all virtual and physical devices, the software residing on the device, the users of the device and the application metering (usage) data.
Learn more about automated discovery and inventory methods.
Data normalization and augmentation
Snow has a unique approach to software recognition and normalization. The Data Intelligence Service receives daily updates from a community of over 4,000 customers that details any new applications or manufacturers that have been discovered, anywhere in the world. The service provides complete normalization of the software applications, clearly identifying important information such as:
- Application and license details including license requirements, manufacturer, application name, bundled applications, SKU, version, edition, family, license metric, license requirements, cloud applications, subscriptions, upgrade/downgrade options, OS, URL, and UNSPC
- Lifecycle details including release date, end-of-support date, end-of-life date, end-of-life extended support date
- Security-related information such as PII, open source, malware and vulnerabilities
Snow’s software catalog grows significantly on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis. In addition, the service provides continued updates to the license intelligence to ensure compliance with new vendor licensing rules.
Learn more about Snow’s Data Intelligence Service.
Analysis, insights and recommendations
IT professionals can leverage Snow’s solutions to perform analysis and provide recommendations with accurate, normalized and enriched data. Additionally, organizations can export data via API to perform their own analysis or feed this data to other tools, such as providing clean and automated data to CMDBs. Here are a few examples:
Effective license position reporting: One of the main reasons organizations purchase a Technology Intelligence solution is to mitigate risk of vendor audit, overspend and over-buying. This objective can be accomplished by reconciling entitlements to usage, often referred to as calculating your effective license position (ELP). The solution uses a complex compliance engine to determine the licensable rights that have been applied and optimizes the compliance position, based on the current inventory data.
Optimizing entitlements and consumption: The solution enables organizations to right-size their technology investments by aligning spend with business needs across software, cloud services, data center and mobile. Detailed technology use is mined to identify unused accounts, duplicate users and unnecessary, expensive subscriptions. Automatic categorization of hundreds of thousands of applications drives application rationalization by identifying overlapping technologies.
Optimizing cloud spend: IaaS bills are not human friendly and it makes the job of understanding what you’re spending on cloud infrastructure nearly impossible. Snow helps organizations understand their multi-cloud spending trends to better control costs.
Vulnerability management: Snow brings in vulnerability data from the National Vulnerability Database and reports on what vulnerabilities exist in your organization, their severity and where those vulnerabilities reside. Most recently, we added recommendations on how to remediate application vulnerabilities to make the biggest impact in reducing risk. For instance, vulnerabilities with applications hosting PII data could be considered more critical to patch than other applications. Armed with this data, security professionals can help their organizations prioritize where to focus patch management efforts they may be blind to.
Manage the asset lifecycle: With visibility to end-of-support and end-of-life dates, your organization can prioritize assets that should be retired or replaced.
Inspecting what you expect: If your organization has deny-listed certain applications, Snow can report actual usage against deny-listed applications, so that teams can point additional security education at specific individuals or departments. Because Snow can detect over 8,000 free and licensed SaaS applications, you can also identify applications that may require investigation by your team.
Automate workflows to improve compliance and reduce costs: Snow Software helps organizations save costs by automating manual processes, including software request and approval, and user provisioning.
If you’re interested to learn about additional capabilities, get a personalized demo to understand how we can help your organization make faster and optimized technology decisions.
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