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Lego or Playmobil – choose your SAM approach

When I was a young child, I remember visiting friends’ houses and invariably they would fall into one of two categories: either you were a Lego house or a Playmobil house. Rarely did I have a friend with a mix of both. 

Why on earth am I starting a Software Asset Management blog with a reference to Lego and Playmobil? Because I think it’s an interesting and relevant parallel to the world of Software Asset Management technologies.

In my view, like most Software Asset Management technologies, Lego and Playmobil have the same goals. In their case, to provide hours of fun enabling children to play in make-believe versions of the real world. In our case, it’s to empower organizations to take control of software consumption and licensing, to reduce risks and optimize spend (and who said kids have all the fun…?).  

But here’s where I think it gets interesting…like many SAM solutions, Lego and Playmobil have very different approaches to how they deliver the ultimate experience.

Lego, as you no doubt know, is traditionally made up of a large number of smaller pieces that come with detailed instructions on how to fix them together to form the final article. Purely in the interests of research, I checked my son’s library of old Lego manuals. Some sets contain well over 300 pieces and more than 60 pages of instructions. My son became skilled at piecing Lego sets together (a subject matter expert, if you will), but typically these sets would take a fair few hours to construct.

In contrast, Playmobil has a very different approach. Typically sets contain far fewer parts and many of these are already constructed (at least partially) prior to opening the box. With a Playmobil set, you can be creating ‘cops and robbers’ scenarios in minutes. 

When building it isn’t half the fun

I know what you’re thinking. And as a child I thought the same; building the Lego is half the fun (who am I kidding, I still think it’s half the fun). Trying to follow the instructions and search through the bags of bricks for the exact piece required was a key part of developing your skills as a Lego builder.

But this is where children’s’ toys and Software Asset Management diverge.

While a Lego set that took merely a few minutes to construct might leave me feeling cheated and frustrated, the same might be true of a Software Asset Management technology where I have to piece everything together by hand, slowly and painfully. 

What do we want? ROI. When do we want it? Now.

The thing with Software Asset Management is that no organization invests in it for fun. And most are on a strict timeline. Usually there is either a compelling event such as a renewal or audit, or there has been a lightbulb moment that the organization simply can’t continue spending blindly on software and licenses.

In either case, the organization and the senior execs sponsoring the SAM program want to see a return. And they want it fast. Or at least they want to see signs that the program is delivering a tangible benefit to the organization (for more on that, read our “Metrics to Measure SAM Success” guide).

A report from the SAM team that “we’ve configured the client agent” or “we’ve uploaded the IBM entitlements” is arguably a lot less valuable than news that “we’ve reduced our Microsoft renewal by $500,000”.

In a world of instant-on Cloud apps and services, the business mindset is shifting from one of long-term goals to quick wins. 

Why the Playmobil approach wins in the SAM world

The reality with Software Asset Management is that, in order to deliver its full potential, it must be seen as a long-term strategic initiative. But that’s not to say that there are no short-term goals to be had.  In fact, some of the quickest wins can also be the most lucrative. That’s why analysts like Gartner say that, with the right technology and approach to SAM, the first year savings can be the highest – up to 30% of the organization’s annual software spend.

But only with the right technology approach.  

Some Snow customers have saved hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, within less than three months of roll-out. An amazing ROI by anyone’s standards. But this is only achievable because Snow believes firmly in the Playmobil approach to Software Asset Management. What do I mean by that?

Well, our customers spend less time building the SAM platform and more time using it. They spend less time piecing together the many pieces that comprise an effective SAM solution and more time collecting, analysing and taking action based on real insight into what’s happening across the software estate.

I know. We’re no fun.

We apologize to SAM managers and consultants who enjoy piecing things together and spending up to two years before they have a workable solution. That’s just not Snow. Our vision is to deliver as much out of the box as possible, leaving our customers more time to focus on using the platform to drive value. 

There is something hugely satisfying about taking a long time to build something and revelling in the finished product. But in the world of Software Asset Management, it’s even more satisfying (not to mention great for one’s career prospects) to deliver sustained clear and tangible benefits from day one. 

If you need a SAM program that is quick to deliver ROI and can support the business as it grows, speak to one of our Software Asset Management experts today.