David Foxen’s article, The Immaturity of SAM (nice job David) got me thinking about the real causes of immature software asset management (SAM) programs, Read on for advice to organizations on how to move to the next level. David’s comments, indicating that less than 50% of organizations have a SAM tool, rings true with my experience in the field. I found a somewhat recent (12/2014) study done by IDG and referenced by a CIO magazine quick pulse article. The research was more focused on large organizations, but helpful on the overall subject, and well worth the minute it took to register for the download.
The IDG report indicates that most (80%) large organizations do have license management strategies in place but their SAM tool is inadequate for supporting higher levels on the SAM maturity spectrum. I would also submit, that most organizations do not have an adequate number of properly trained staff to initiate and operate a SAM program.
More Advanced Tools
Let’s have a closer look at the tool aspect of this maturity issue. Based on the previously referenced IDG report, about 60% of large organizations are stuck in the early SAM maturity phase of gathering and managing inventory. They desire the ability to be more strategic with SAM and employ Software License Optimization (SLO) and Advanced License Optimization (ALO). Strategic SAM is really were the cost savings comes into play. Strategic SAM provides better visibility into the Enterprise, especially into the data center where advanced technologies, such as virtualization tend to muddy the waters. One of the hurdles of employing these more advanced strategies is having a more mature SAM tool with the following feature set:
Reference (SKU) library, product use rights library, simulation for what if scenarios, support for virtualization and clustering, support for all the major license types
Properly Trained Staff
While the IDG report doesn’t reference SAM program staff, it only makes sense to have a staff that is properly trained with around SAM processes and the operation of the tool being used. My experienced has been that this is a key area that is over looked for new SAM programs. SAM is a complicated discipline that touches all aspects of the business. I’ve been involved in many SAM program implementations where staff are “on loan” from other projects or don’t have a clue about what SAM is about. This won’t cut it.
Root Cause of SAM Immaturity
In this case, when speaking about the large organizations, the root cause is commonly a lack of support by an executive sponsor. There are so many projects and programs competing for funding at any company, it’s no wonder. There must be a SAM program champion within the organization to build a case for proper program support that will “bring folks to the light”.
While there has been progression, organizations seem to be stuck in lower SAM maturity levels. When speaking about larger organizations in particular, survey data seems to support that more advanced tools will enable them to develop strategic SAM initiatives such as SLO and ALO. Overall SAM maturity is bound to follow as processes are better supported, and staff members are properly trained and assign in adequate numbers to support such initiatives.
It all starts with building a case. To ITAM/SAM managers, I would encourage you to reach out to advanced SAM tool vendors. Here’s a recent list of SAM tool providers, recognized by The ITAM Review. As part of their pre-sales initiatives, any tool vendor should be willing to help you build a case (free of charge). Here is a helpful article from The ITAM Review to get you started.
Dana is currently seeking employment opportunities. You can view his experience and communicate via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/danadaugherty