What Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools Tells us About Industry Trends

We’re excited to share that Snow has been recognized as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools.


We’re excited to share that Snow has been recognized as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools1. This is the third year in a row that Snow has been named a Leader, and in this year’s report, we are positioned highest for ability to execute and furthest for completeness of vision. 

As I reflected on this news, it made me think about how the market is evolving and how exciting the coming years will be. We continue to wrestle with a new level of complexity, born out of our drive to make technology consumption simple – a complexity paradox. 

Since the launch of the first SaaS services like Concur and Salesforce, to the creation and transformation of technology’s godzillas like Amazon and Microsoft, the shift to cloud has impacted all IT markets. This is true not just of the technology itself, but in how we, as employees and users, think about technology and its consumption. Today, we treat technology as a consumable good, and sometimes a disposable one at that. We try and buy technology like shoe lovers try on shoes – always looking for the latest solutions that will satiate our desires. Although there is some practicality to this, let’s face it, there’s always a little fear of missing out (FOMO) when it comes to the newest tech and how your competitors are putting it to use. COVID-19 has added a new twist to this by further accelerating the transition to this consumable world. In a study we conducted on how recent events had impacted IT leaders’ cloud usage, investment and strategy, we found that more than 80% of those surveyed have increased their overall cloud use in recent months, with 60% noting that they believed this increase would continue. 

So while technology fashionistas (aka every employee) continues to look for that next solution that will make their teams look great, I’m left wondering, what does all of this mean for Software Asset Management?  

2020 trends and the Complexity Paradox  

In our research, we’ve identified 3 trends that organizations are gravitating towards. We believe that to be a successful Software Asset Manager in 2020, it is critical to understand how these trends can play a role in your organization.  

Cloud technologies are an interesting thing, mainly because they’re not just cloud anymore.  Today, services like Microsoft 365 offer web-based and on-premises components, and progressive web apps (like Twitter Lite, Forbes and Financial Times) blur the line between on-premises and the cloud. Add to this blend of cloud offerings from private clouds, public clouds and software licenses that allow you to get benefits from running on-premises or in the cloud (think Azure Hybrid Use Benefits) and it’s clear that Cloud consumption is growing. But ‘the Cloud’ is starting to feel a bit like its namesake. If you try to put your finger on it, it somehow just doesn’t feel as defined as it looks. Technology can help, but it requires a shift in thinking, from simply looking at software to looking at all of the technology your organization uses.  

The ability for everyone (and I mean everyone) to use the technology they need to get their jobs done comes with what can only be described as a security team’s nightmare scenario. What data is stored in what service? Who’s using the latest SaaS service for managing to-dos that could potentially expose sensitive information? What apps in use might have personally identifiable information (PII)? It’s Patch Tuesday, what vulnerabilities are being addressed that we’re exposed on? Only with clear visibility, and the right metadata overlaid, can you properly assess risk.  

Before this shift, IT was a lot simpler. The IT function of a business was the gatekeeper, the maker of IT and business workflows, and responsible for putting together Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) to provide a single view across the landscape. But in today’s world, where IT is the enabler and one of the teams responsible for good governance, there’s an opportunity to create better business partnerships between technology consumers, governance teams and decision makers. SAM is at the nexus of all this, and it is morphing to include all technology. We see the emergence of a new platform, not born out of a strategy of controlling technology use, but one that is focused on delivering the right perspective to consumers, decision makers and governance teams. Because with the right perspective, anything is possible.

The road ahead

So how will these trends and the complexity paradox play into the future of SAM?  We see the world ahead as full of opportunity for SAM, IT Ops, FinOps and DevOps. Snow has brought together software asset management, SaaS management and cloud management into a single platform offering built around best of breed products. As a leader in the industry, we want to work with our customers to shepherd in the next evolution of SAM.

We believe that what’s next for the market is what we’ve labeled as technology intelligence. This enables IT and business leaders with the actionable insights they need to manage their ecosystem and make data-driven decisions that offer business value. Beyond countering software audits and maintaining compliance/governance, technology intelligence allows organizations to adapt to rapid change, like the environment we find ourselves in now. We’ll continue to see how the market and discipline evolves, but at Snow, we’re excited about what’s next. Welcome to the future. 

1 Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Tools” by Ryan Stefani. July 20, 2020.

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.