Software asset management, especially when you are just starting out in your SAM journey, can easily prove an overwhelming, exhausting, and discouraging experience. It can be a laborious headache if you take the wrong approach to it, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way – there are things you can do to make software asset management a little easier. At MetrixData 360, our job is to make your job easier regarding your software licensing environment, so today we’ll be discussing ways to work smarter and not harder on your SAM program.
Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations
One of the greatest pitfalls for someone just starting out with software asset management is getting too overwhelmed too quickly. Peeking into your software environment is enough to reveal an endless number of tasks and potential problems you now have to fix. For many companies, they feel it’s better not to look and hope the problem will sort itself out eventually.
While sticking your head in the sand is not an effective way to tackle software asset management, neither is trying to do everything at once. There are varying levels to SAM maturity, each with their own goals and objectives.
Chaos: You have no control and no visibility into your software environment. Your only goal is to merely gain visibility.
Reactive: You know what is in your software environment. A software audit at this stage means mainly performing damage control. Your goal here is to reach compliance.
Compliance Plus: Now that you’ve reached compliance you now have the information you need to defend yourself in an audit and perform the risk management needed to prevent one from reoccurring.
Optimization: Now that you have your software environment officially under control, you can start working towards finding cost-saving opportunities.
Amplified Value: Your software environment is under control. You know what your software environment contains; your compliance issues, if they occur, are handled before they appear in an audit, and you have started to find ways to cut costs. Now your goal is to make sure your hard work is maintained, and this level of organization becomes standard practice.
It may not be necessary for you to achieve the highest level of SAM based on what your company is hoping to get out of it, and it’s important to remember that 100% visibility and 100% accuracy will be next to impossible with enterprise-level software environments. 70%-80% would be a more realistic and attainable goal.
Communicate with Staff
Companies are made up of a lot of different people and very few of them will probably take deep enjoyment out of hearing about software asset management, but it’s important that staff are all on the same page with software, especially when it comes to the following pain points.
Comers, Movers, and Leavers
Companies are full of many moving parts; new hires coming in, employees moving from one department to another, and retiring employees all pose the question of what happens to their software licenses? Not having a strong process in place could mean accidentally having to pay for duplicated licenses or active ‘shelfware’ that your company is still paying for even though no one has used it in ages. Where do new hires go to get their new desktops? Where do retirees take their desktops when they’re done? Do people take their licenses with them to new departments? If not, what do you do with them afterward? Making sure that people understand these processes is critical to the success of your software asset management.
Not knowing what people are downloading can become a serious issue for companies. Especially when seemingly free versions of things become less free when introduced to a corporate setting. An example of this can be seen in our article, The Invisible Risk of Oracle VirtualBox, where Oracle has ended up auditing clients based on their use of the seemingly free application VirtualBox. While it may be impossible and impractical to monitor everyone’s access to every website, especially given that forcing employees to seek permission every time they download free software might bog down productivity, it is nevertheless important to make staff aware of the risk of downloading certain products off of the Internet.
A Single Tool Won’t Save You
The last thing you want to do is put too much faith in your inventory tool. While inventory tools are essential to modern software asset management (unless you’d care to be driven to insanity counting your licenses manually), your job with software asset management is not finished when the tool is done installing. A single tool has the potential to increase your visibility by only 20%. It’s only after the installation of additional SAM tools, and their proper management and upkeep, that companies reach that 70%-80% visibility range.
Be Careful When Buying Bundled Packages
Buying a bunch of software in bundles may seem like it would be more convenient but when trying to organize these bundles, you’ll find that things can become quite a challenge. For one thing, SAM tools are often confused by bundled packages and it could fail to accurately document the bundled software, leaving you with a blind spot in your software asset management that you’ll eventually have to fix, either now or later when you’re in the middle of an audit. It also creates issues because bundles do not always come with sufficient proof of purchase receipts, which are imperative for success in any copyright infringement claims.
Moving to the Cloud also can pose challenges if done incorrectly. We have seen that there is often a spike in software cost when businesses transition to the Cloud due to staff given free rein to spin up Cloud instances, leave projects running, or simply buying more than they need.
It is important to be aware of these issues and the expensive headaches they can cause if your company heads to the Cloud thoughtlessly.
Have a Software Audit Process in Place
The sad reality is that software audits do happen and so it is important to have a standard procedure in place in case one occurs. Instead of panicking, have a series of response emails ready to pick from, have a strategy prepared and in place, and know exactly what to expect out from a software audit. This will keep you from scrambling to get your data and responses together. At MetrixData 360, we’ve designed a Software Audit Defense Process, which can provide you and your company with the insights they need to create a strong, effective software audit procedure.
SAM Makes Everything IT Related Easier
From IT Staff and Security to Procurement, having a strong software asset management process implemented throughout your company will make the lives of your staff easier. IT Security will have a cleaned up, streamlined, and complete picture of the software environment that they monitor. Procurement will have full confidence in knowing what they need to purchase and whether there are licenses that already exist in their software licensing environment that can be recycled. With SAM, the CFO will not have to crunch the numbers to come up with the cash for a massive audit penalty, instead they can harvest saving opportunities for the betterment of the IT department. The IT department will have the data they need to effectively advocate for needed software. While this isn’t necessarily a point in how to make your Software Asset Management challenge a little easier, it does demonstrate how much easier everything else can become when SAM is properly implemented.
Want Easy Software Asset Management? Call MetrixData 360
Software Asset Management is far from an easy task, and it can quickly become complicated and overwhelm you if you try to jump headfirst without looking. However, there are ways to limit this confusion and make your life (and the lives of your IT Staff) that much easier.
At MetrixData 360, we pride ourselves in making your software asset management easier by taking care of the heavy lifting for you. We have had clients with year-long audits who barely put in a few hours of work, and we’ve provided clients with reports on their software environment that would have taken weeks to collect, with barely an hour’s work on their part. The rest of the work was left to us, the SAM experts. If you would like help on your software asset management, you can contact us today and get connected with our Director of Client Success for more information.