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Snow’s SAM Predictions for 2016

In this first blog of 2016, Snow’s SAM experts share some of their predictions for the year ahead in Software Asset Management (SAM) and general software licensing. A second blog looking at specific vendors will follow.

Software Asset Management in 2016

Regular Snow blogger and Product Manager, Patrik Burvall, sees a greater connection between SAM and security in the coming 12 months. Patrik predicts that with more and more software used in the Cloud and on mobile devices, some apps may expose not only user information but also corporate information. This is obviously a scenario no organization wants.

Patrik continues his prediction theme around mobile devices, as organizations start to see potential exposure on their mobile platforms. One example is a user on a company-owned mobile device where they have downloaded an application that they use privately (…but if it is on a corporate owned device, is it really private then?). It all sounds reasonably innocent; unless of course the ‘private’ app creates a door onto sensitive company data, which more and more ‘consumer’ apps are doing. Reviewing and enforcing tighter policies on the use of company-owned devices, or the provision of company-licensed apps on personal devices will be a priority for many CIOs in 2016.

Moving away from mobile SAM, he also says that there will be a continuation of the trend in that customers are moving to high levels of virtualization in the datacenter, but more recently also in the Cloud. Patrik suggests that both options have pros and cons in terms of hardware savings. Moving the datacenter to the Cloud could also have implications on software licensing. The strategy in this area should be aligned with software licensing, and implications thereof, for the software that should go on these servers.

Matt Williams predicts there will be a gradual reduction in true-up costs from certain vendors licence compliance audits, as customers move their technologies to Cloud-based solutions, which count users rather than devices as their licensing metric and where the onus on compliance rests more with the supplier than consumer. However, Cloud customers will begin to realize that rather than worry about compliance fines, they are often over-spending and subsequently will recognize the importance of accurate usage reporting to gain visibility and control over IT budgets.

Furthermore, Matt claims that the IT community will begin to ratify their IT environments with cloud and on-premise solutions co-existing. This will result in customers needing to measure multiple metrics around software deployment, software usage, device and user data along with further complexities as they battle with a multitude of licensing rules and regulations. In Matt’s view, 2016 will be the year of hybrid cloud and thus hybrid SAM.

SAM Evangelist, David Foxen, agrees with Patrik and foresees that organizations will focus more on user management and security. Thanks to recent data leaks and ‘hacks’, SAM will have to work closely with security and legal to ensure that any Cloud-based licensing data is protected as much as they can be. SAM will also help continue to provide data to security to verify that the latest security software and versions of business apps are deployed throughout the environment.

David also predicts that it will be an even bigger year for mobile device management (MDM). With the ever-growing development of mobile devices and the increase in mobile device usage, organizations will start to incorporate MDM/EMM into their ITAM or SAM function. This will primarily focus on the data side of things (from a data usage and a data security perspective) rather than the management of the physical device.

Finally, David hopes that there will be more unity between SAM and the business. He firmly believes that now SAM is maturing, organizations will be looking to understand how they can link SAM with other business areas such as ITSM, Vendor Management, Procurement, HR etc.    

Software Licensing

Patrik Burvall suggests that the recent Cloud-based subscription licensing trend will see changes to audit rules, which are currently something of a grey area. He also suggests that recent announcements (by the likes of Microsoft, for example) on licensing changes in the datacenter highlight the importance for customers to thoroughly review their virtualization strategy on a regular basis, taking into account software licensing.

Matt Williams’s key prediction for software licensing is that organizations will have to pay more licenses than they might realize. In fact, some CFOs might not realize just how many photographers and designers they have on the payroll! The problem with Adobe Creative Cloud is that it is so simple to download and use one (or many) of the products within the bundle. So it really is a matter of ‘buyer beware’ and be sure to limit how much software is made available to users.

Matt continues to suggest that, as cloud becomes more prevalent within the IT community, we will see a significant shift in the measurement of licensing metrics, specifically from the archaic perpetual licence model based upon hardware (devices, processors, cores, virtual instances, etc.) to an actual software usage model based on activity by specific users (whether named or not). Customers will need accurate data that reflects how many people are actually using software, when, how often and how many devices to help them avoid renewal negotiations based upon arbitrary employee counts.

Finally for software licensing predictions, David Foxen continues a prediction trend for 2016 by suggesting vendors will be even more active with audits. He also predicts that vendors’ financial results in 2016 will show more revenue generated from audits than from new business. While Matt’s point above suggests the average value of an audit might decrease due to increased investment in Cloud licensing, David believes the volume of audits is set to increase as more vendors use license reviews as both a way to ‘recover lost revenue’ as well as drive customers towards new and more profitable licensing schemes.

David continues to predict a slight shift in data management, with a focus on user-subscription licensing for the desktop and mobile devices that will increase further as organizations look to increase productivity and mobility. This will mean that organizations need to focus on a user management approach to ensure these software assets are managed correctly.

Finally, a bit of a ‘long-shot’ prediction of David’s is that the first landmark second-hand software success story will happen in 2016, which will start to set the second-hand software market into motion.

General IT Asset Management

David Foxen continues his looking into the crystal ball of 2016 and predicts that mobile devices and wearable technology (IoT) will start to fall under a SAM remit due to the applications associated with such devices. Furthermore, the relationship between SAM and Hardware Asset Management (HAM) will become more important due to the increased importance in managing hardware assets when identifying what types of licenses are required (particularly within the data center environment).

In addition David says that SAM will continue to grow within the IT and Business environment.More organizations will suffer bad audit experiences, which will result in them looking for external help (SAM as a Service concept) as they continue to understand the complexities around ITAM, SAM and software licensing.  

Whatever you do in 2016 make sure you have a robust SAM solution in place to keep one step (or indeed many) ahead of the vendors. You will be able to ensure continuous compliance, pay only for the software your organization consumes, and save significant time and money.

Contact one of our SAM experts today and find out how Snow’s solutions can make a visible difference to your organization.