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5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Software Asset Management Tool

Things You Should Consider Before You Buy A Software Asset Management Tool

Software Asset Management (SAM) tools offer tremendous value. According to BCS the Chartered Institute of IT, 20 to 30% of an overall IT budget goes to software licenses and maintenance fees that can be minimized with the use of an effective SAM tool. Before you buy a SAM tool, however, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

The first question you need to ask is do you even need a SAM tool? While at MetrixData360, we advise companies to have some sort of SAM tool in their environment, we understand that it might not be the best financial move for everyone.

Here are five key factors to consider before you purchase your Software Asset Management tool.

1. The Size Of Your Company

According to OMTCO’s Six Questions that Managers Should Ask About Software Asset Management, if you are a small company with only a few servers to keep in check, then you’re already at fairly low risk of receiving a software audit. Vendors use software audits as a means of inflating their revenue, so they only have eyes for the big fish from whom they can squeeze a profit from.

If you have a small software estate, your licensing will also be small and easily manageable, and you can keep things organized with just a couple of spreadsheets in case that you do receive a software audit. If that is the case, then a SAM tool probably won’t provide that much assistance.

2. How Complex Is Your Infrastructure?

Complexity is a breeding ground for human error. If your company has any of the following attributes then it might be time to consider whether or not you buy a software asset management tool:

  • If your company has undergone a merger or acquisition
  • If it has multiple locations that reaches an international scale
  • If parts of your infrastructure has been outsourced
  • If other parts have undergone virtualization or migration to the Cloud

3. What Will the Function of Your Software Asset Management Tool Be? Inventory or Software License Management?

SAMsource Library’s article Do You Need SAM Tools talks about how in the SAM tools market, you’ll probably come across SAM tools with a primary focus in one of the two following areas:

  • Inventory
  • License Management

With inventory tools, your SAM tool will track what you have installed on your system. It might sound unnecessary, but there are many software estates out there that have old accounts from past employees or old servers locked away in storage that are still licensed and considered active in the eyes of your software vendor. Inventory tools can also be an excellent way to monitor your security, which can prevent viruses or malware to name a few benefits.

While there are many tools that offer inventory data, it is not the only important data point as license management is equally important, so you need SAM tool that can do both. If you buy a software asset management tool that lacks the ability to manage licenses, it will be harder to configure the tool to meet your needs.

Inventory tools will usually come with an add-on feature that offers license management, but their effectiveness might be lacking since license management is more of an afterthought behind inventory collection. What is worse, some of the older SAM tool models were not equipped to the ability to track multiple forms of licensing metrics effectively and struggle with Cloud-based systems, which is something you should be aware of while purchasing your tool.

4. Will the SAM Tool Easily Fit Into Your Existing System?

Before you contact any SAM tool vendors to talk about a purchase, BCS points out in their Guide to Selecting a SAM Tool that it is important to consider if the process is worth the effort or if the only thing you’ll get out of the deal is a migraine. It’s important to establish if the SAM tool in question can even be integrated into your system easily.

Consider your IT asset inventory tools, your procurement systems, your HR, and all the other systems that interconnect with one another throughout your business and ask if the SAM tool in question can be effectively incorporated. Take time to consider if the SAM tool that is being installed is also compatible with any other SAM tools in your system.

You also need to establish that the tools that you are thinking of purchasing meet the demands presented by your software’s unique environment. This requires that they communicate with IT landscapes and offer information on features and pricing as well.

5. Will You Also Need to Put Someone in Charge of Your SAM?

Merely purchasing the tool might not be enough if you want to obtain full control over your software estate. Making sure that everything is organized in the case of a software audit might mean hiring someone who can own your SAM tools. Software asset managers will ensure the tools are running properly and gathering the data you need to create an accurate Estimated License Position.

Software Asset Managers, or third-party software consultants like MetrixData360, have quite the versatile role, according to the Vector Network’s article Back to the Basics: Roles of The Software Asset Manager. The job entails managing the SAM tool, handling software requests, purchasing and deploying new software, ensuring that the company is ready for an audit, and utilizing reporting and documentation tactics. If you feel like your company can offer enough of these types of tasks to fill a workday, consider if a SAM manager would be a useful addition to your workforce.

Along with a Software Asset Manager or Software Consultants, you will also need to consider what sort of systems and procedures will be set in place that will determine how data will be collected, analyzed, and verified.

If your company is large enough, hiring a whole team might be in order to help you remain within compliance and to maximize efficiency with your software licensing, as EY says in their article Software Asset Management: 3 basics all companies should get right.

How to Verify if the SAM Data is Accurate

If you do end up purchasing SAM tools, they will do you little good if you cannot prove that they are accurate. According to the ITAM review’s Verifying Asset Accuracy, the best way to validate the data your SAM tools collect is by doing the following:

  1. Perform a physical spot-check of a small sample of your larger system
  2. Perform a lifecycle check by asking members of the IT team to incorporate data verification into their daily schedule
  3. Perform a comparison of data sets on a large scale to verify which data is represented in which databank (Active Directory, Inventory etc.) to detect blind spots in your system

For More Information

SAM tools are so important to making sure you are within compliance with your software vendor and to make sure that any software audits are conducted as painlessly as possible. For that reason, you’ll need to make an informed decision about your purchase. All that matters is that you have a strategy in place before the next auditor darkens your doorway. At MetrixData360, our goal is to save you money and to make sure you make the smartest spending decision for your company.

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