LearningCenter Post114

SAM Expert Guide to Star Trek and Software Asset Management

I’ve worked in software asset management with hundreds of SAM teams and helped organizations set up successful SAM practices for almost 25 years. One thing seems to hold true. Almost all software asset managers are either Star Trek or Star Wars fans. I can appreciate Star Wars but, I’m a Trek geek at heart. Having said that, I am not here to fight the holy war of Star Trek vs Star Wars. I’ll leave that up to you. I like my Star Trek old school so I’m focused on the original series. Yeah all you kids with your new-fangled Star Trek reboots best stay off of my lawn! That being said, I can’t help but draw parallels between the world of software asset management and Gene Roddenberry’s iconic universe and the voyages of the Star ship Enterprise. So, lets boldly go where no man has gone before and look at my vision of software Asset management through the Star Trek lens.

Tools and Equipment

The USS Enterprise

USS Enterprise. No copyright infringement is intended

Beautiful to look at and the home of her crew as they travel the universe in search of adventure on a voyage of exploration. This iconic vessel is your company and you need to defend it against audit and bad software contracts. It may not do Warp 9 but its home and it’s what we all are serving and protecting with our Software Asset Management Practices/ITAM/ITIL.

The Faithful Tricorder

The Tricorder. No copyright infringement intended.

I love the tricorder. It’s the ultimate Swiss army knife of a tool and still futuristic even today. It never fails, the away team beams down and likely the first tool they whip out is the trusty tricorder. Why you ask? It gives them the important data they need in order to make informed decisions. Is it a Class M planet? Is there an indigenous population? Are there specific minerals? To me, it’s like your SAM tools. You need to quickly scan your environment (and you only have limited time to install tools) and get to the data that’s important to you so you can make SAM/ITIL decisions. We really like Certero Asset Studio for Enterprise SAM. It can be installed in a matter of hours and it even helps SAM integrate with IT Service Management (ITSM).

Star Fleet Academy

Starfleet Academy. No copyright infringement intended.

When a young person joins Star Fleet they usually start their career spending some time at Starfleet Academy. Here they learn what it takes to become an effective Star Fleet officer and gain the knowledge they need to survive in dangerous situations. As a SAM practitioner knowledge is power. An understanding of a variety of software licensing models is necessary in order to keep the auditors at bay and your organization safe from the threat of non-compliance. MetrixData 360 has created a series of e-Learning modules that help you to better understand Microsoft licensing. If you are looking to get a handle on Microsoft Licensing, unleash the power and optimization potential locked up in Active Directory today.

People and Aliens



Spock- SAM service
Spock. No copyright infringement is intended

Cool, supremely intelligent and eminently logical. A green blooded scientist and a diplomat who calmly brings the, dare I say it, LOGICAL, data driven solution to the SAM/ITIL team. If you’re a SAM Manager this is likely to be the character that you kind of resemble on the team. You enjoy looking at the puzzle that is Software Asset Management and are able to tease out the patterns using deployment tools and licensing statements to find creative solutions. Live long and prosper!

The Red Shirt

The Redshirts. No copyright infringement intended.

Ah, the infamous disposable red shirt. Always eager to join the away team with Kirk and friends and unlikely to return to the ship without a blast mark (or worse) on their chest. We all know this person. When dealing with SAM, sometimes things just don’t go your way. Despite all your best efforts, you need a sacrificial lamb. While I would never advocate this, sometimes you just need to blame someone and a savvy SAM Manager knows who that person is.


Montgomery Scott the Chief Engineer and the only person who may love the USS Enterprise more than Captain Kirk. He complains about the urgent requests that come from the bridge crew as they ask for the seemingly impossible. At the last moment, Scotty always finds a technical solution that gives the team what they need to be successful. Stuck down in engineering away from the rest of the core crew Scotty reminds me of your server team or perhaps the DBA team. Tell me if this sounds familiar…. “You need root access in order to get your Certero AssetStudio to run properly.” You need to speak with the stressed out DBA/Server Administrators who are terrified that running a full agent based scan will slow or bring down their priceless environment. You persist, they are able to give you what you need and just like Scotty, you are able to save the day with a full and meaningful picture of the software assets deployed on your entire network.

Captain Kirk

Your Software Asset Captain. No copyright infringement intended.

The brave Captain of the Starship Enterprise. He’s considered a brilliant tactician (although a lot of the credit should really to go to Spock) who cares deeply about his ship and his crew. Quick witted and able to acknowledge his mistakes, Kirk leads from the front. He balances military action with diplomatic solutions and scientific research. He’s probably not unlike your CIO. Your CIO juggles reports from the SAM/ITIL team with the fiscal realities of the business unit. The CIO always tries to do what is best for your Star Ship Enterprise and cares about their staff. They realize that having a robust SAM practice is of the utmost importance. They protect and nurture the SAM/ITIL team from both internal and external elements who don’t understand or appreciate their work. In the case of an audit or a Software Contract renewal, the SAM/ITIL team may be the final and best line of defense.


Software Tribbles

I’m sure you all remember the cute and cuddly tribbles! Ohura brought one on board and they bred like crazy and soon the ship was overflowing with them. They remind me of Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Project, and Adobe Acrobat. Small ticket items that get inside your networks and then sneakily breed on the network. Often you only find out when you’ve been hit with an audit. Luckily with our SAM Compass managed service we can provide you with regular ELP’s to ensure there are no surprises!

Pavel Chekov

The weapons officer who has mastered the defensive and offensive capabilities of the USS Enterprise. He waits for the command to unleash the power of his phasers and photon torpedoes at whatever threatens the safety of his ship when diplomacy has failed. Sometimes in a negotiation with a software publisher, it can be advantageous to play a bit of good cop, bad cop. This tactic can add some value in a Software Contract Negotiation or audit and we have seen it utilized in a number of circumstances. You do however, need to know when diplomacy has failed and to push back and say enough is enough. Charge up your weapons systems and hit them when their shields are down! Here at MetrixData 360 we help you understand when you need to go on the offensive and where/when you can push back.

Hikaru Sulu

The USS Enterprise’s navigator and pilot. His steady hand keeps her safe from harm as he punches it to Warp 8! In the SAM World the navigator is often the person who has the institutional memory around SAM/ITAM and software contracts. This person has seen it all and knows where are the bodies are buried and can tap into resources from other teams. You might say they can navigate their way around your organization. Yeah it’s a bit of a groaner, I know but, these people are indispensable once you find them. They often know the history of why an old Microsoft contract was set up the way it was or how a prior negotiation resulted in a company specific amendment to your contract. Keep these people close as you never know when you need to pick their brains.

Leonard “Bones” McCoy

The Chief Medical Officer on the Enterprise. He’s good friends with Kirk and Spock but, compared to the calm, logical Spock, he is more likely to be the voice of emotion to Kirk and crew. A brilliant doctor, he nonetheless wants to follow his gut reaction in a crisis. Kirk usually takes council from both Spock and McCoy before finding a middle ground. Sometimes, as passionately as we try to convey SAM/ITIL concerns and strategy, it lacks a certain level of emotion. Embrace SAM team members and their passion for Software Asset Management. Harness that passion for the common good!

Nyota Uhura

The communications officer of the USS Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura is well versed in many languages and maintains communication between the Enterprise, other vessels, Starfleet and pretty much handles all things relating to external communication. She reminds us of of how important it is to maintain communication during an audit and not to go radio silent. Software Auditors are trained to see a client who doesn’t respond to emails, phone calls or requests as a red flag that the audit is going off the rails and that perhaps you have something to hide regarding software license compliance. SAM Teams should also use their communications systems to celebrate their victories. Make sure people in your organization know that your team is making a difference!

The Villains

Star Trek offers us such classic villains as the Klingons and the Romulans. These alien races have very distinct societies and motivations behind their actions. They usually are not aggressive in a way that is out of character with their species. Usually on some level, you can understand where they are coming from. Obviously in the SAM world the villains are any software publisher that is or potentially could be auditing your organization. You may not agree with their motivations but you can usually see what they are trying to do from a tactical perspective. When these villainous auditors rear their heads, your organization will be glad they have you and have invested in SAM. This is where you will need to use your SAM Tools, software education and all the members of your team to gain a win. You may even need to call in some extra help to make sure you emerge victorious. MetrixData 360 is here to help your team with Audit Defense and with SAM Managed Services. Just drop us a line for a free consultation.

I hope you enjoyed this lighthearted look at SAM Teams through a Star Trek Lens. Live Long and Prosper!

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