Let Your CIO Sleep Better at Night

With SAM Maturity

How SAM Maturity Can Help Your CIO Sleep Better at Night

Today, organizations are losing money on their software investments. These losses present themselves in many forms, some more obvious than others.

For example, if your organization doesn’t keep an inventory of its software licenses, how many of those licenses are active, and how often they are used, you and your CIO can easily and unknowingly continue to spend on a software that is only used by a fraction of the company. As cloud-based applications become more prominent, over consumption is also a major issue, with companies paying for instances of use they had not accounted for.

However, most costly and disruptive are software vendor audits. Not only can these result in immense fines, they also divert resources away from organizational goals. For many organizations, software asset management is a reactive process, only thought of when they are faced with an audit. This means that when that audit comes, they have to halt projects to free up personnel to conduct self-audits, true ups, and to coordinate with the vendor.

What is SAM Maturity?

Having a mature SAM program means having the team, processes, and tools in place to offer consistent visibility into each software asset within the data center or cloud, from procurement to retirement. SAM maturity moves organizations out of a reactive model to a predictive model. This means that organizations can use the insights offered by their SAM program to align software initiatives with business needs, budgets, and existing entitlements. Ultimately SAM maturity allows organizations to optimize spend on the tools that will have the greatest impact on a business goals, while remaining complaint.

SAM Maturity-Opengraph
SoftwareONE SAM Maturity, source: SoftwareONE

Without a SAM Plan, Software Audits Are Costly

With digital transformation persisting and organizations like yours putting more capital into software and digitalization than ever, the looming threat of overspend and costly audits is unsustainable. Organizations are often entirely unaware of the risks that could be lurking in their network as a result of poor license management.

For example, one rogue virtual instance of SQL in a 3-node cluster where VMotion is enabled can cost the organization $150,000 if licensing hasn’t been carefully considered.

In one instance, we found 600 licensing changes to a common publisher contract in just three years. This could negate the original contract – leaving the organization open to vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, it was recently found that the City of Denver owed Oracle $10 million due to over deployment of licenses. To avoid fines of this caliber, you need a mature software asset management policy in place.

Immature SAM Plans Offer False Security

Unfortunately, you may think you’re in the clear of these costly audits due to a false sense of security from deploying mild asset management precautions. For example, you might think that deploying a SAM tool means your business automatically becomes compliant. However, more often than not, IT managers end up selecting a tool that doesn’t align with their business needs, collecting the wrong data, and have this data presided over by a party that does not understand complex contracts and entitlements. As a result, when faced with an audit they’re just as unprepared as those with no program at all.

For effective SAM that minimizes the impact of audits, organizations need to understand the level of maturity that exists in their SAM program so that it can be altered and optimized for cost savings.

Identifying Your SAM Maturity Level

To ensure your organization doesn’t fall into this false sense of SAM security, it must understand its exact SAM capabilities and what must occur to reach maturity. A mature SAM program offers visibility into entitlements, consumption, and inventory across all software in the data center and the cloud. Furthermore, a mature program is predictive in its analysis of software needs, rather than just reactive.

SoftwareONE estimates that 86% of companies would score a 1 or 2 out of 10 in terms of SAM maturity, leaving them vulnerable to massive audit fines. To begin to close this gap, organizations must leverage a SAM Maturity Assessment Tool. A SAM maturity assessment examines where your SAM program is strongest, and where it is weakest.

This assessment offers a guide for where to begin as you create a comprehensive SAM plan to minimize costs and IT risks. The assessment is the first step in moving out of the chaotic, reactive stages of SAM, to being proactive, working with a SAM managed service provider , and deriving real value from your program.

Insights Offered from a SAM Maturity Assessment Tool

To better understand where you fall on the SAM Maturity Assessment spectrum we have developed a comprehensive tool to determine where your strengths and opportunities in regards to SAM maturity lie.

SoftwareONE’s SAM Maturity Assessment tool will provide you with answers to the following:

  • Which areas of your SAM roadmap have gaps and should be addressed immediately
  • A clear understanding of costs overrun – do you have unused software or licenses you’re not tracking?
  • How ready, or not, you are for an audit – audits happen and being prepared is the best defense

In our recent webinar series on building a mature and sustainable SAM practice we discovered that if you are just starting out on your SAM journey, you are not alone. Gartner recently determined that nearly 90% of organizations do not have effective SAM tools or processes in place. However, making changes towards implementing a mature SAM practice does have clear benefits – including upwards of a 30% reduction in software spend in just one year.

As your organization deploys new software across a distributed environment with limited visibility into what assets are being used and how, it will be easy to fall out of compliance with license agreements. A software audit is an inevitability, and can cost millions. The Business Software Alliance, representing vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, can fine up to $150,000 for each infringed product in addition to legal fees. For an organization with no SAM plan, this can add up quick.


The only way to minimize the price of a software audit is to prepare by conducting a SAM Maturity Assessment , and build on those insights to develop a regularly maintained SAM program.

Get your SAM Maturity Report

Receive our eBook “Building the Business Case for SAM with SoftwareONE”. If you have specific questions regarding your SAM Maturity please reach out to us.

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Gabe Honesto, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Gabe Honesto

Team Lead Software Lifecycle Management

Digital Transformation & Software Asset Management

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