SAM diagnostics

SAM Diagnostics

Are You Running at Full Speed?

SAM Diagnostics - What Are They and Are You Running at Full Speed

It’s been widely discussed, debated and eventually agreed upon that Software Asset Management (SAM) is both business critical and takes time to implement correctly. The important word here is “correctly”, noting that 1 in 4 SAM effort will fail and many more will miss achieving the projected benefits expected. You can read more on how to plan, build and run an effective SAM implementation here, but in the meantime let’s talk about the first few steps to getting SAM right.

Software Asset Management Diagnostics at a Glance

You cannot properly plan your journey if you don’t know where you’re starting from, nor the extent of any problems in people, process or technology. This is a critically important step as the failures are often a result of inadequate or non-existent current policies, weak process governance, inadequate existing tooling, poor data management or internal misalignment.

In our webinar, Why Does SAM Stumble in the Dark? we covered the major reasons why SAM “projects” fail.

Failures begin with calling SAM a project – it’s an ongoing activity, not a one-off project. A one-time audit defense focused solely on protecting yourself against an audit will set you up for future failures.

Additional problem areas are:

  • Attempting too much (boiling the ocean)
  • Not knowing what success looks like – define your metrics
  • Publisher complexity and lack of trustworthy data
  • Limited resources, especially for entitlement management
  • Non-existent or poor SAM tooling
  • Non-strategic SAM

These pitfalls can be avoided with a proper software asset management Diagnostic. The Diagnostic is simply a current state assessment across the end-to-end software lifecycle and across people, process and technology. An additional ROI business case shows business leaders the requisite investment and corresponding benefits expected. The end result allows a gap analysis and 360o future state vision for your program.

The importance of starting from a Diagnostic is that many organizations don’t know how they compare to best practices, they fail to appreciate that process redesign is critical, they think buying a tool will magically solve their compliance problems and they lack a clear vision for what level of maturity they aspire to.

SAM Diagnostics the SoftwareONE Way

We have a long history of helping companies evaluate which SAM tools to implement based on business requirements, whether the in-house IT staff can manage the SAM implementation or if complementary services are needed to help augment the SAM organization. It’s a 3-pronged approach that includes.

The right stakeholders and leadership

The people and process aspects behind SAM are imperative to your success. Equally important is having the right stakeholder governance. SoftwareONE has predicted that by 2022, 30% of SAM programs will be considered “strategic”. This means that compliance will take a backseat for many as the focus shifts to improved customer experience, integrated software supply chains, improved security and better business intelligence. You can’t afford to leave SAM in the hands of procurement or finance, without executive level buy-in and ownership. Results from a recent Gartner survey support this premise as nearly 80% of individuals responsible for SAM report to a C-level role, and 27% of those responsible for SAM are themselves in C-level roles.

SAM tool overview 

Implementing a SAM tool is a given for a successful SAM program to work, but you need to ensure the best tool for your environment is chosen. The tool will be used continuously for asset discovery, data normalization, audit and documentation of licenses, and adding in new software purchases. We have experience with some of the best SAM tools in the marketplace but cautions that one size does not fit all.

ROI / Business case

For this piece of the Diagnostic we take a detailed look at the company financials (if available) and have the key stakeholders fill out a detailed questionnaire in regards to software spend and future state aspirations. We then leverage this information to compare industry and organization size to determine the financial benefits in areas like software reharvesting, software re-use, cost optimization, tool rationalization and many other levers. Furthermore, we determine what dollar investment will be needed to maintain the program over the next five years (people, managed services, technology, etc.).

Case Study

We recently performed our Diagnostic service for a 15k seat manufacturing company who understood the need to start from square one. Within six weeks we helped them understand weaknesses in their existing policies, roadmapped their future state SAM program and made a tool recommendation that fit their needs. In year 1, their chosen tool was fully implemented globally, integrated with ServiceNow and several high-profile publishers were actively managed.


During this period, our teams were able to thwart two audits, including one claim of over $70 million. In Year 2, the customer requested additional managed services to both support the technology (upgrade) and to cover their top 50 software vendors. This journey to SAM maturation all started with a Diagnostic.

Discover SoftwareONE's SAM Diagnostic Service

To learn more about how our SAM Diagnostic Services might help your organization please visit our service page.

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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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