Software asset management doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and software asset managers (especially if they are a part of a larger company) will spend a large chunk of their time appealing to stakeholders. In fact, some IT departments even hire stakeholder managers just for that specific task.

With so much riding on convincing this group of people that your SAM solution is a good one, what is the best way to foster a strong stakeholder relationship?

Over the years, the MetrixData 360 team has helped many companies work through their own SAM solutions and have helped manage dozens of stakeholders in the process of each engagement. so today we thought we’d share what we know about working with stakeholders, especially when they don’t know anything about SAM.

Who Are the Stakeholders?

Your group of stakeholders is composed of anyone affected in any way by your SAM project. The bigger your organization, the more stakeholders you’ll have whose job will be to either support or hinder it, depending on how they perceive your project will impact them (either negatively or positively). Some stakeholders that you might have to deal with in your attempts to implement an effective software asset management strategy in your company includes but are not limited to:

  • Senior executives that would oversee the SAM program
  • CIOs and their IT VPs
  • CFOs and their Finance and Procurement VPs
  • The Business Unit Manager
  • The Chief Compliance Officer

Having these stakeholders in your corner means that you’ll have someone who is willing to back your SAM project, defend it, and (most importantly) fund it and give you the go-ahead to begin.

Principles of Stakeholder Management for Software Asset Management

Build Your Business Case

The first thing that you’ll need to do is create a case which appeals to all the various stakeholders. Consider what’s in it for each of them, then highlight the benefits and key performance drivers.

For instance, if you’re speaking to the IT Operations VP, focus on how SAM will create labor saving potential and operational efficiency. If you’re speaking to the CFO on the other hand, focus instead on cost reductions and budgeting potential.

Clarify what you want from each of your stakeholders. Your case should accurately lay out the anticipated size and complexity of your SAM project, the amount of help and resources you’ll require and how long your project is estimated to take.

Try to put in as much detail as possible but make sure to account for the fact that SAM projects are subject to roadblocks in the form of missing data or discovered compliance issues.

Educate Your Stakeholders

It’s important to ask yourself how much each stakeholder might know about software asset management. Someone with a background in finances might not have a history working with or understanding the complexity of SAM.

If you feel like you might be greeted by a boardroom of blank faces with your business case, it might be worth it to include a quick overview of what SAM is and the general value it can provide to a company.

Related: Get your Team on Board with Software Asset Management with our article, Implementing Software Asset Management for Beginners.

Reporting Your Progress

After you’ve gotten your initial shot to try out your plan, you’ll have to prove that it was worth their trust by providing progress reports frequently. These reports should detail if you’ve hit any milestones in the project plan, if you’re seeing any return on investment etc.

It’s especially important that you communicate your progress during the early stages of the project, where confidence in your SAM vision will be the shakiest and the project is most prone to change. At this point it may be beneficial to aim for easy wins and low-hanging fruit to display results quickly.

Once momentum is gained and the value of your project is proven, then the cost of pulling the plug will be higher and you can breathe a bit easier. These reports should also include any difficulties you are facing that present the potential of slowing down the results of your project.

You’ll need to provide separate reports for each of the stakeholders, tailored to their specific interests (don’t make the VP of Procurement slosh through data on how many hours of labor you’ve removed from the IT staff) and their certain level of supervision; will they be closely managing your project? Or will they simply need to be kept informed? These reports will be vital in securing permission to advance your project into its next phase.

For this reason, stakeholder management needs to be treated as a critical aspect of your project and not given the half-hearted attention of a side task. The last thing you want to do is have your stakeholders feel like you are treating them like a low priority.

For reporting your progress, your SAM tool can easily prove an excellent resource, since they will be able to provide excellent reports and insights that each of your stakeholders will find useful.

Develop a Strong Relationship with Your Stakeholders

Without appealing to the right stakeholders, your vision for properly implementing a strong SAM solution will never get off the ground. It’s not because it isn’t a good idea, SAM is an excellent way to curb expenses, manage risk and empower companies to manage their own software licenses. And it’s important to remember that is what you’ll be able to bring to the table.

At MetrixData 360, we have helped many companies realize their goals when it comes to software asset management, we’ve removed a lot of stress and headache from our clients by taking care of the majority of the difficult work, so you can deliver great results with minimal effort on your part.

If you’d like to learn more about our SAM-as-a-Service offering you can check out our service page!

About Mike Austin

Mike AustinMike Austin is the CEO and team lead here at MetrixData 360. Mike brings more than 15 years of Microsoft licensing experience to his clients’ projects. He assists companies with negotiations of Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA), Premier Support Contracts, and Select Agreements, from Fortune 500 to organizations with as few as 500 employees. Mike's vast experience across multiple industries including financial services, high tech, manufacturing, media, health care, government, and retail give him an edge in any business environment. In addition to helping negotiate contracts, he assists clients with creating and implementing software asset management processes to prevent over-purchasing of licenses and ensures terms and conditions reflect actual usage.