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SAM is Beginning to Sizzle: Independent Software Asset Management Survey Results

A recent independent software asset management (SAM) survey was completed by Forester and The ITAM review with a base of about 200 IT asset management (ITAM) and IT service management (ITSM) pros.  SAM is a ten year old initiative that has been on the back burner at many organizations, until recently. A couple of points are clear, SAM programs are gaining in popularity and risk management is no longer the key driver. Read on to read my summary of the results of the survey. Click on the previous links to view more detailed results and wider range of analysis. Three articles were spawned from on The ITAM Review from this data.

Key points of the survey:

  • Strategic reduction of waste from the IT budget is the key driver. Remember, 5% to 30% savings in software spending can be achieved in the fist year of a successful SAM program.
  • 90% of those surveyed are planning to implement, currently implementing or have already implemented a SAM program.
  • 60% found SAM either financially beneficial or significantly beneficial.

Plan for success: ensure you address the 6 key SAM initiative challenges

If you are starting out with SAM, or looking to improve existing capabilities, Forrester recommends the following …(6 points taken from Stephen Mann’s blog)

While the drivers for SAM are clear — better risk and cost management — the issues or challenges associated with commencing SAM initiatives aren’t always as apparent. With 39% of organizations having implemented SAM and another 52% currently implementing or planning to within 12 months, now is the time to overcome known challenges. To succeed, Forrester recommends that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders:

  1. Connect SAM to business goals to justify investment. Tie your SAM vision into business goals to show how SAM will positively affect the business through lower cost and risk, not counting software installs.
  2. Source fit-for-purpose people.  SAM cannot be done by a part-time employee with other operational responsibilities — at best you will end up with a suboptimal SAM program; at worst you will have an expensive SAM tool full of data that is rarely used. For many organizations, outsourcing SAM operations to benefit from third-party people availability, skills, and experience is an increasingly viable option.
  3. Remain focused during SAM tool selection. As with most software solutions, one size does not fit all — so focus on what you actually need and avoid being enticed by cool capabilities that you may never use. Realize that compliance will only get more difficult with virtualization and cloud. Virtualization brought with it the dual issues of increasingly complex licensing and entitlement models, as well as increased difficulty in understanding what software is being used where. Cloud now adds an extra degree of complexity. To date, SAM programs are not keeping pace with technology change.
  4. Go beyond compliance to save costs. Beyond achieving compliance, processes and enabling tools must also provide capabilities to optimize licensing and manage application usage, software management (including automated provisioning and software metering), and robust reporting and audit facilities to make software-related decisions.
  5. React to the changing business landscape. The unsanctioned use of personal devices in the workplace — from laptops and ultrabooks to Macs, tablets, and smartphones — and the rise of corporate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes bring their own software risks.
  6. Avoid the temptation to spread available resources too thinly. Trying to accomplish too much too early or everything at once can be fatal. Start small and focus on specific areas, such as the workforce computing estate and mobile devices, or data center assets and virtualized environments. Alternatively, focus on specific software vendors based on known compliance issues or the vendor’s propensity to audit its customers.

I would also add the following:

  1. Focus on building the proper processes based on a good model. ISO-19770 is one example.
  2. Before starting ensure you have buy in by executive management and all stake holders. See this post for more information.
  3. Pace yourself. SAM can be a huge undertaking and should be approached as a marathon rather than a sprint. Create a strategy and scope that can be maintained for the long run. See this post for help getting started.
  4. Choose tools that cater to entitlements within complex licensing models. Not many do this. See this post for more about choosing a SAM tool.

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Dana has been working in the IT industry for over 15 years, mostly with Microsoft System Center CM2007/SMS and recently with Software Asset Management (SAM) technologies and processes. Dana got his start with technical writing by submitting Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0/2003 articles to back in 2000. He continued that effort with myITforum. Dana also published two SMS books entitled Distributing Software with Systems Management Server 2003 and The Start to Finish Guide to SMS Software Delivery.

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