3 Steps to Software Asset Management Success

Whether you are new to Software Asset Management (SAM), or you have years of experience, you will be aware of the challenges which need to be overcome in order for SAM to be successful. I have worked with various organisations over a number of years, and in my experience there are three key areas which make SAM successful.

First: Gain Organisational Support
For Software Asset Management to be successful, it is fundamental to have support from other stakeholders and departments within the organisation. A SAM function needs reliable data from discovery and inventory, accurate purchasing data and for the software lifecycle to be supported by processes within the organisation.
Key stakeholders who will need to be considered and supportive are: finance, procurement, service desk, software catalogue maintenance, project, strategy, security and contracts management.
For example, a significant investment may be made in tooling and resources to improve SAM maturity. However if the SAM function does not know the details of software licenses that are purchased, then the SAM reporting and decision making is not based on complete and accurate data.
Additionally, if SAM policies and procedures are not clear and easy for end users to follow, it will lead to a perception by end users that SAM is a blocker, impacting productivity and access to applications.

How can I get support from the whole organisation?

  • Create a SAM policy which key stakeholders support, with supporting processes and governance implemented. Support from other functions which are dependencies in the policy documentation
  • Regular validation of SAM data accuracy against other data sources. Where SAM tools cannot provide detail, interface with other data sources
  • Integration with other systems to provide data where needed and stop isolated data silos

Modern Software Asset Management experts

Second: Support the organisational strategy
If the Software Asset Management function is only focused on managing software licences, and it does not contribute innovation or improving user experience, then SAM will be seen as an operational function rather than an engine to support growth within the organisation. This will reduce the support from (other) key stakeholders in the organisation.
For example, if the only interaction an end user has with the SAM function is when a new piece of software is requested or when a software agreement need to be renewed, it will be characterised as an administrative role.

How can SAM align to organisational strategy?

  • Map your SAM plan to the organisational strategy and identify areas where SAM can influence and support those areas
    Be able to explain how SAM supports the organisational strategy to senior stakeholders
  • Have a clear stakeholder map and agree the activities with those stakeholders which support the organisational strategy

Third: Readiness for audit
Whilst some software vendors are taking a less aggressive approach to auditing their customer’s licencing positions, its remains a contractual requirement to be able to demonstrate compliance with licence agreements.
If your organisation is found to be under licenced, then this represents a potential legal, financial, and reputational risk.
More importantly it will undermine the perceived effectiveness of SAM function.
The most effective guard against this risk is to ensure an accurate understanding of your licence position. Proactively address any shortage in licences and ensure that a centralised repository of licence agreements and entitlement is maintained. This approach will achieve the maximum risk reduction with the minimum of effort and the work is able to be planned and undertaken at a time convenient to yourself.

How to prepare for software audits?

  • Focus on your Tier 1 vendors and ensure that you are compliant with licence agreement and are prepared to receive an audit request. You can identify your Tier 1 vendors based on the volume of spend and the likelihood that the vendor will audit
  • Create an Audit Response Plan which is published within the organisation, to ensure that any audit request is handed in the approved manner
  • If you feel unsure about the request that is being made by the software vendor, engage with a SAM specialist who can assist with the process

With these three areas in focus, you will have a solid foundation to deliver Software Asset Management successfully.

July 2019