SAM Assessment

The SAM Process Maturity Assessment is conducted as an online survey, offered by SAM Charter. The product of the assessment is a comprehensive report with Best Practice recommendations. The report provides guidance  on the critical areas business and IT operations that need to be targeted to elevate Software Asset Management (SAM) maturity. This is an excellent way for organizations to perform a self-initiated assessment of their SAM program.

What is included?

End Users are asked to supply details about the organization, mainly around device types and counts, along with SAM program goals. Next, the end user is asked to supply answers to a series of questions from ten SAM competency areas (see the previous figure). An initial question is posed and then follow on questions are asked, based on the response provided to the previous question. There are 100 questions in all. SAM Charter supplies a PDF help file to guide to end users through the survey. The questions can be answered in stages, providing ample time for completion. A Terms and Conditions agreement is entered into, between the end user and SAM Charter prior to beginning the assessment to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of end user data. Within five minutes after the completion of the survey, a comprehensive report will be emailed to the end user. The report I viewed was 29 pages long. 14 pages were devoted to customized recommendations based on the end user inputs. The remaining pages contained valuable SAM Best Practice program recommendations.

Who should use it?

This assessment is great for all levels of SAM maturity. Those organizations that are just beginning to consider a SAM program can get some great recommendations about what areas to get started on. More mature SAM programs can receive validation in areas where they are doing well, and a list of areas to focus their efforts.

How to get it?

SAM Process Maturity Assessment is meant to be utilized as a tool for independent SAM consultants, to help organizations, as part of an engagement. Contact Rory at SAM Charter for recommendations of a consultant in your geographic area. A free 20 question SAM assessment is in the works to be offered in future. Keep your eye on the SAM Charter for that offering.

Software Re-harvesting Process - Page A

I was wondering about all the recent buzz around the SAM Charter Process Kit v2. I recently reached out to Rory Canavan and asked if I could have a look for myself. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Generally, organizations become overwhelmed with the thought of implementing SAM. That’s why so many programs end up failing. They tend to quickly get bogged down when using existing SAM industry framework models.

This kit provides an excellent starting point for SAM programs and includes the following:

  • 22 Real-world processes are listed, well documented and include visual process maps. See the 4 images included later in this post for the Software Re-harvesting Process.
  • Customizable visual process map templates can be purchased separately or bundled with the SAM Charter Process Kit v2 for a discounted price.
  • Kick-starting Your SAM Program section includes recommendations and links to additional free downloads from the SAM Charter website.
  • Suggested  SAM program KPIs
  • In all, 144 pages of useful reference material.


Any SAM program could benefit from this process kit. It can help those programs that have lost their momentum or those that have made missteps to get back on track. Even more mature programs could use this kit as a process  tune up.

I highly recommend this process kit. More information is available by clicking on the link:

SAM Charter Process Kit v2 Samples

SAM Kit 1
SAM Charter Process Kit: Process Description
Software Re-harvesting Process - Page A
SAM Charter Process Kit: Process Map A
Software Re-harvesting Process - Page B
SAM Charter Process Kit: Process Map B
Software Re-harvesting Process - Page C
SAM Charter Process Kit: Process Map C

If you’ve read much of my content in the past, you know I’m all about SAM processes. There are currently two generally accepted frameworks within the SAM industry:

ISO-19770Pros: Very comprehensive, vendor agnostic. Cons: With 28+ processes, it’s overly complicated to implement.

Microsoft SAM Optimization Model (SOM)Pros: Fewer competencies, easier to implement. Cons: Not comprehensive enough. Focused on desktop footprint, perpetual licensing and Microsoft specific software and immediate events (audits, true ups) and leaves out data center, non-Microsoft vendors, people and longer term processes to help sustain a SAM program.

There is a new approach that I stumbled across recently, called the ITAM Review 12 Box Assessment Model (see the figure at the top of this article). The new model is really the best of both worlds, lightweight but comprehensive enough to cover all the requirements of a healthy SAM program. Competencies are categorized by People, Processes, and Technology. This is a more logical approach for many folks. While it is actually offered as an assessment service by an independent consultancy, the 12 Box Model could be adopted by organizations as a process model because:

  • It’s vendor neutral
  • It’s based on twelve key competencies of a modern SAM practice
  • It’s lasting objective is SAM as business as usual and a state of audit readiness for major software suppliers
  • It recognizes that SAM doesn’t happen overnight and must happen gradually as a process of continual service improvement
  • It has a good balance of people, process and technology


Here’s a link to the original article about the 12 Box Model along with an informative video. You can click through a link within the referenced article to find out more info about the assessment service as well.


Software Asset Management (SAM) is catching on with most organizations. When I started in this space, about five years ago, I had to Google the term to figure out what it was. These days, nearly everyone knows that we must be able to prove our entitlements to install and use software, otherwise we must be willing to pay the penalty. If you are part of an organization that still needs convincing of the value of earmarking a reasonable budget for SAM, read on for some tips.


One-Person Show

Can anything of value actually be gained from a SAM team of one? Sure, especially for organizations with less than 500 users (more about larger firms in a bit). Implementing basic SAM processes don’t require tools, especially for smaller firms. Focus on the following points (taken from ISO-19770 or ITIL standards):


  • Contract renewals for key vendors. Analyze the contract in advance and work toward improving the deal.
  • Identify users who are actually using the software and reharvest licenses where possible.
  • Obtain accurate hardware inventory process and collect unused devices. You must have an accurate hardware inventory in order to manage software assets.
  • Implement and enforce controls on requesting and purchasing licenses.
  • Take advantage existing inventory tools or use free ones to perform manual reconciliation for baseline (point in time) license positions.


What is realistic?

A low-budget SAM program can actually be sustainable for small organizations depending on the goals and appetite for risk of the company. More mature SAM goals, such as optimization do require more budget for hardware inventory analysis (CPU cores, processes, threads, virtualization, etc), product use rights and automation. This is where the added expense of proper SAM tools and added staff come in. The good news is, adding these additional items to the SAM program can provide exponential ROI over the 1-person show approach.

For larger organizations, it will be more difficult to have a sustainable SAM program with such limited resources. Most of the points listed previously can be utilized to build the case for a SAM program budget, based on real cost savings data from your organization.


Is Level 4 (Optimized) SAM Maturity for Everyone?

The short answer is no. Firstly, SAM should be applied on a vendor-by-vendor basis. Secondly, the needs of the business should dictate the maturity level that will be maintained for a particular vendor. Why spend the time and effort to maintain an optimized position for a targeted software vendor if there is no business case for it? This is where SAM programs can get into trouble, misdirection of resources.

A SAM program should be treated as iterative min-projects, each with a specific set of deliverables. The deliverables should move the organization’s maturity level along the continuum for targeted vendors, while ignoring many vendors. For example (assuming availability of an adequate budget), some companies are perfectly happy to have 2 vendors that are optimized, 2 vendors with baseline positions, with the remaining software titles having only inventory collected. In this case, the 2 optimized vendors could be Microsoft and Oracle with baselines for Adobe and IBM. This approach would support cost savings for the large footprint of Microsoft products and the high cost of Oracle server software while protecting against audits for Adobe and IBM. The approach would also provide visibility into all software inventory, setting up an infrastructure to create baselines and then optimize additional vendors in the future. This is simply an example. The point is, let your business goals drive your SAM program goals on a vendor-by-vendor basis.