I regularly get asked the question ‘What is SAM all about?’ Before I answer I always sit back and first consider who’s asking the question? What is their function? What industry are they in? What keeps them awake at night? What are their expectations likely to be? And then respond to their question with an answer that is tailored to the individual, but that ultimately talks about a balanced blend of compliance, audit defence, cost reduction and optimization.
But I’m left thinking, isn’t the answer in the title? SAM or to give it its full name Software Asset Management. The management of software assets! All of the above are by-products of SAM. Perhaps the guys at ITIL got it right when they said that Software Asset Management is defined as “…all of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets…throughout all stages of their lifecycle.” First, you have to accept that software is an asset.
A piece of software, whether it is multi million pound ERP software or a ‘free’ download development tool, should be an asset to your business. They can improve your bottom line and company efficiency or, if they don’t work or aren’t managed effectively, they can just as easily could harm your bottom line and efficiency.
So Software Asset Management is about knowing what software you have within your business, it is about understanding what the functionality of the product is, what product family does it belong too, what version it is, when does it go end of life, who manufactured it.
- It is about knowing any and all associated information such as, where is the software installed?
- Does it run on Wndows, Unix, Linux, Mac?
- Is it on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, server?
- Are they physical, virtual or in the cloud?
It is about capturing financial and entitlement information.
- What are the terms and conditions of the contract, when does it expire?
- What are the agreed metrics by which you are measured for compliance?
- What is the cost of the product license?
- What is the cost to maintain it?
It is about understanding how the software is used
- by whom, how, when and where?
It is about what influence business requirements have on how the software is used, whether they are regulatory or internal policies and procedures. Does that mean you can just capture all of the above and stick them into a database and run your own algorithms on the data?
Sure you can, but using solutions such as Snow License Manager, where a lot of the hard work has already been done and processes been automated, you will get to your compliance and optimization answers a lot quicker. A platform like Snow License Manager delivers the intelligence which tells you whether software has not been used, why you need it (or don’t!) on your network, what metrics you need to apply to meet licensing obligations and whether you are entitled to upgrades or downgrades based on contracts. So going back to my first question, what is SAM all about? The answer depends partly on who you are and what your role is. You might be more interested in compliance. You might be more interested in effective procurement practices.
You might be looking to minimize costs across a vast IT estate. But ultimately it’s about having access to all the information – actionable intelligence as we like to call it at Snow – that you need to manage your software assets effectively.
That means having access to a common SAM platform that you and all the other stakeholders across the organization can access and use to make informed decisions. Just as defining SAM isn’t a one-size-fits-all exercise, neither is it a one-person job.
The trick is to find a SAM solution that meets everyone’s needs.
To learn more about Snow’s multi-user interface and custom ‘Snowboard’ management dashboards, why not speak to a SAM expert today?