SAM in 2021: 10 Key Considerations for a Successful SAM Program

Uncover tips and tricks for creating successful and thorough policies for your software asset management program.

Most IT professionals agree that 2021 will be a year to do more with what we already have. A software asset management (SAM) program can help you do just that as it delivers comprehensive visibility over your software estate and cloud usage. This insight not only saves you money on licensing but it can also decrease the risk of a costly surprise come audit time.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts in the series, SAM programs deliver the highest ROI when they are staffed and supported appropriately and map to the full software lifecycle. But, when defining your SAM function, there are also some key components you should include to achieve the highest level of success.

Our list below includes areas for program focus and specific tasks you should consider building into your plan. 

1. Governance

Governance offers leadership a roadmap for reaching intended goals and objectives. It translates the “why” behind the “what” of SAM operations into language that is meaningful to business units outside of IT. A policy statement and communications plan which demonstrates senior management (C level) buy-in is crucial – it should also include the objectives of the SAM program and how these align to the overall business objectives of the organization. When creating policies you should: 

2. Scope 

It’s important to understand the boundaries of SAM frameworks and plan accordingly. Clearly define what is and what isn’t in scope, what are the priorities and how should those different priorities be managed. 

3. Data

Data management within a SAM framework is vital. Ensure you understand the required data feeds while enforcing quality controls on any data before it reaches your SAM system. It’s also important to create an agreed-upon process for validating the data – how will you know you have captured everything? How will you know that you can trust the data? 

4. Systems 

Yet another quality control often overlooked within a SAM framework is the requirements definition for any system used. A SAM manager should closely review the technical and geographic landscape of their SAM scope to ensure that the tools applied can capture, read and interpret the data presented to them. 

5. Policies and procedures 

Policies and procedures are the glue of software asset management – they form the link between the operational activity and the strategic ambitions of a company. Your policies should offer guidance on how to use any system within the SAM framework to generate a license compliance position. When establishing these policies and procedures, you should focus on:

6. Implementation 

Implementing a SAM framework is as much about communication and training as it is about the installation of any technical systems. Key stakeholders will need to be told what is expected of them, when and how. Consider developing processes to: 

7. Control 

Remaining objective and impartially reviewing the performance of your SAM framework as change occurs will provide a solid foundation to drive up SAM maturity within your company. 

8. Reporting 

Reports are the public face of your SAM framework so ensure they are produced in a timely and accurate fashion. This is essential to the credibility of your SAM team. You should consider:

9. Operational processes 

Processes that offer control around software requisition, procurement and deployment offer the most immediate gains for your SAM program, but many other scenarios exist. You should consider:

10. Best practices

As your SAM framework matures, you will want to look for potential loopholes in your IT operations that need plugging for advancement. 

If you want to create a SAM program that’s all-inclusive, these are just some of the steps you should take to gain maximum ROI. Watch our recent webinar to learn how your ITAM program can be a business enabler and discover practical steps you can take to advance your ITAM/SAM maturity. 

This post is the fourth in a series of articles on SAM. Read our previous posts for insights on SAM implementation, how-tos and more.