This is when the fun starts. In the final installment of this blog series, you actually get to see the fruits of your labor – having executed your plan in earnest, you’ll have already begun to prove the value of SAM within your organization. Right from outset in your new role you’ll know which software vendors you should target and over the following months you’ll have worked out the key focus areas and who is responsible for them.
To capitalize on those achievements, it’s important to focus on the next areas where SAM can shine. What is important in your individual organization might vary from others, but in all likelihood, the following two tasks should be high on your to-do list:
- Manage your software portfolio to define the software that is allowed and recommended for productivity in the organization
- Identify and remove any software installed that may potentially be dangerous to, and/or is not related to, the business
- Adopt a ‘user-centric’ approach to SAM
Essentially, the objective is to move from ‘audited’ software (i.e. you know what it is and where it is) towards ‘managed’ software (where you take proactive decisions about the lifecycle of software on the network).
Creating a definitive approved software catalog
If you don’t have an approved software list, you might consider building one in Snow License Manager using the whitelisting functionality. To take full advantage of the whitelisting capability you’ll need to first define all the software in your portfolio. On the surface this may seem to be an arduous task but the powerful capabilities of Snow License manager can help you to define it very quickly.
Snow License Manager supports configurable rule sets to automatically manage the approved software catalog. An example rule might be to state that “all software with more than X installations should be in the software portfolio”.
The reporting capabilities in the All Applications report give you the list of all applications within this whitelist. Based on the overview provided by the report, you can drill down into each application to get detailed information which will help inform your actions. As an example, Snow License Manager can show up unauthorized software installations and also give you the option to uninstall them automatically.
The application whitelisting functionality in Snow License Manager helps track non-approved software and enables discovery of applications in the approved software catalog, but also by extension those not in the list.
This is accomplished by powerful rule-based automation, such as ability to define the whitelist, not only on publishers and application criteria, but also on whether applications are already licensed.
Managing software that shouldn’t be there
There are basically two reasons you might not want software on the network: cost and risk.
If software (even approved applications) are installed on devices across the network, but not used, then the chances are they are creating an unnecessary cost to the organization. And if the software is not on the approved list (as described above), there’s a good chance it’s creating a risk you could do without.
We all know that it’s all too easy for unauthorized software to appear on the network. Users install software under their own initiative, unaware that it could be malware, or that what they understand to be ‘free’ may actually have a license cost associated with it or indeed it may have little connection with the business and actually be counter to their own productivity.The list goes on.
The flip side of the whitelisting functionality in Snow License Manager is that it also makes it easier to pinpoint the presence of software that hasn’t been installed through the proper channels. It can even go further and distinguish between software that is ‘not recommended’ and ‘potentially dangerous’. It also can identify software that should be there but isn’t.
Thanks to the detailed usage tracking provided by Snow Inventory and other third-party audit solutions, SAM managers can quickly identify deployed applications that are consuming licenses without delivering any value to the organization.
Unused applications can be removed and, where appropriate, licenses can either be re-assigned, held in reserve or even surrendered to reduce software costs. It’s important to remember that usage tracking is just as important on approved applications as it is on non-approved software. After all, having an expensive license assigned to shelfware is never a good thing.
Creating a user-centric approach to SAM
As organizations look to achieve productivity gains by empowering IT users to self-select the software they need to get the job done, creating the definitive software portfolio can play an important role in the move towards ‘user-centric SAM’. Within the Snow SAM platform, the approved software list created in Snow License Manager can be used to determine what software titles and versions are available to end users through the Software Store Option, an online app store available to all users across an organization.
Creating an app store driven by a definitive software catalog creates a true win/win situation for both IT consumers and the SAM team in the organization: the users get the feeling of self-empowerment and a fast and transparent way to request the software they need, while the SAM team retains overall control of the entire process, ensuring that only approved software is available and that all the necessary due diligence is applied before any applications actually hit the network.
Reviewing the year
With the first year under your belt, you’ll be able to review if your SAM initiatives went to plan and how to build on what you’ve already achieved.
If you would like more advice on building out your SAM plan and extending management reports to different stakeholders in your organization why not look at our Training and Service Offerings.