Implementing Software Asset Management for Beginners
Implementing a strong software asset management strategy into your company can have massive long-term benefits in savings and overall software visibility.
When you are just beginning your software asset management journey however, all the individual data points can be overwhelming and often discouraging for companies with a large and complicated software profile.
At MetrixData 360, we teach our clients how to implement a strong software asset management program. So at glance, what does it take to get your company on track to an optimized and cost-effective software profile?
Why Implement Software Asset Management?
The first thing you need to do on your journey to a fully realized software profile is convincing your department and possibly your senior management that SAM is a good idea. There are many benefits that can be recognized in a strong software asset management solution, such as:
- Having a strong software profile in place will mean that you will be better equipped to defend your company from any unwarranted software penalties.
- Software audits have proven immensely profitable for the software vendors, so there’s nothing stopping them from coming back over and over again for another audit. It’s not a matter of if you’ll be audited, it’s a matter of when and how often.
- You will be in a position where you can verify the accuracy of your data and you will have better visibility into your spending and your usage, which means you will be able to eliminate waste and deal with potential compliance issues before they are brought up in an audit. Software Asset Management puts you back in the driver’s seat when it comes to your software.
- With SAM, you can check in on your software health and security. Hackers will often use old and unmonitored software as a means of breaching your security system.
Having an organized software estate and eliminating any redundancies will give your IT security less to manage and more visibility into what has been patched and what hasn’t. If you’d like to know more about the security benefits of SAM, check out our article How SAM can Improve your Cyber Security.
Software Asset Management empowers your IT department, as it gives them the ability to track the value of deployed software. SAM gives them the hard data that they need to advocate for the implementation of much needed software and to retire software that is no longer of value.
Where Do You Start To Implement Software Asset Management?
After you’ve been given the go-ahead to implement SAM, you will find that your software environment is a vast and overwhelming landscape, especially if no form of software asset management has been attempted in the past. How do you even begin to get organized?
- Determine Your SAM Maturity Levels
Software asset management isn’t a switch you can flick on and off. Although many SAM tools market themselves as offering complete SAM maturity immediately upon installation of their product, this is hardly ever the case.
You gain visibility slowly over an extended period of time. Depending on the size and state of your software profile, reaching full SAM maturity could take anywhere from a few months to a little over a year.
The first step in developing a strong Software Asset Management profile is simply determining where you are in the process. This means that you will be able to map out a plan to get you to where you want to go. There are several stages to SAM maturity (it’s most often presented in five stages but Certero only counts four):
- Chaotic, which is exactly what it sounds like. There is no semblance of software visibility present. Your only goal at this stage is to figure out what you have.
- Reactive is where you have a sense of what is in your profile and your goal from here is to determine what licenses you have and compare that against what is in your system.
- Compliance Plus means that you have reached full compliance; your data is visible, and you can properly defend yourself against any audit should one arise. From here you can work towards automating the process, so that this level of compliance is assured to continue.
- Optimization means that once you have your licenses in order, and you’ve reached full visibility, you can begin to find ways your company can save money and increase the value of what you have in your network.
- Amplified Value, now that you’ve been able to save money, you can reinvest that money back into your software environment to help it grow.
- Determine What Processes You Should Implement
It is important to figure out which of the many processes software asset management implements is right for your business. There are a few core processes that gathers vital information into your SAM visibility. According to ITAM Reviews’ An Introduction to Software Asset Management, these processes include:
- Determining Software Use – Establish what users are permitted to do with the software they have installed on their machines.
- Software Procurement – How do you properly purchase a new software instance?
- Software Authorization and Deployment – How is new software requested and what is the process for approval and deployment?
- Recycling with Starters, Movers, and Leavers – How is software given to new employees? What happens when an employee moves departments or offices? What happens to an employee’s software when they leave the company? How is it redistributed back into your company’s infrastructure?
- Disaster Recovery – Should an unexpected incident occur, how will critical IT services be maintained until the incident has passed?
- License Compliance – How does your company determine that license compliance is met and how do you guarantee that non-compliance issues are addressed?
- Find the Right Tools and People for the Project
The next thing you need is the right equipment to get the job done. When choosing a SAM tool for your company, according to ITAM Reviews’ article: An Introduction to Software Asset Management; as well as conclusions drawn from our own experience, there are many things to consider, such as:
- A tool won’t give you complete visibility immediately, software asset management is a process
- Tools can easily apply duplicates, especially if your network has unique naming conventions
- Tools struggle to account for Cloud Mobility, different License Metrics, or bundled purchases
- Tools can accidentally mark your test environments as full production deployments
- Tools are great for inventory data, but they will often fail to account for circumstantial data such as Edition types
- Check the compatibility of the SAM tool with your environment or any other SAM tools you already have implemented
- How will the tool impact the user experience, if at all?
- Is your infrastructure strong enough to support the tool?
- How does the tool vendor issue updates or patches? How will those changes affect the tool and its performance in your system?
- How does the tool gather data? Is there any downtime that is experienced as a result of the tool gathering data?
- Does the tool vendor offer any support?
Ensure that you keep this in mind when purchasing your tool, as often companies with an insufficient SAM tool will resort to either buying another SAM tool or supplementing any missing information manually and both solutions are far from ideal.
Next, you’ll need to find someone who can own the project. SAM is not something that can be simply thrown at procurement,for example. Software Asset Management is a full-time job. You have a few options at your disposal when it comes to hiring the right people:
Hire a Software Asset Management Team
While hiring a team of full-time software asset managers offers you a team that shares your company values, adding to your company’s headcount is expensive in the long run and offers less expertise and diversity of experience than a software licensing consultant.
Third-Party Software License Consultants
Perhaps their expense can seem more costly upfront, but software license consultants bring instant expertise and the ability to scale their team according to your demands. The savings that they can bring to your company can be huge.
This popular option offers the best of both worlds. Companies who opt into this hybrid solution will have their own tools installed onto their network but will outsource the management of it to a software license consultant. This setup is ideal for companies with highly sensitive data or companies who have their day-to-day management under control but would like assistance with a large project such as an audit or a contract renewal.
For more information on the options available to you, check out our article Hire a Software Asset Management Expert or Do it Yourself? The Pros and Cons of Each.
Want to Get Started?
Software Asset Management is quickly becoming an essential element of any strong business strategy.
There are audits to defend against, software licenses to optimize, money to save, and asset management can give you all of that.
Getting a handle on your software estate means less time scrambling for data, less money being wasted by untracked resources, and less of being at the mercy of your software vendors.
At MetrixData 360, we empower our clients with the tools they need to make smart spending decisions when it comes to their software. We have helped hundreds of clients save millions of dollars in their software estate
If you’d like to learn more about how we can get you started on the path to a fully mature Software Asset Management Strategy, check out our SAM as a Service Page. As you begin this journey please remember, you don’t have to do it alone!