With or without a SAM tool in place, software entitlement management, also known as contract management, remains the first essential step in SAM business practices. But what makes it so important?
Software entitlement management and its associated processes allow organizations to have visibility on their software investments, software included rights, restrictions and limitations. In other words, the software contracts dictate the way one can install and use a piece of software, what type of information should be collected to determine the software usage and eventually how to set up and configure the SAM tool. It is therefore fundamental to have a complete understanding of your software entitlements before setting up your SAM tool.
Yet, to many organizations, whether they are small, medium or large, software entitlement management remains a business practice defined entirely by understatements: ‘I manage my support renewals and that is enough’, ‘I use this excel spreadsheet where I store product names, quantities and metrics, so I am in control’,and the list goes on. Unfortunately, reality is different. Lots of customers usually underestimate the complexity of identifying and analyzing the right data sources (proof of entitlements) that contribute to the creation of what I call a ‘software entitlements overview’. If you only keep track of the list of products, quantities and metrics, without understanding all the conditions, rights and limitations that govern them, the risk is that you may overuse certain products or may not use them in accordance with what is stipulated in your agreements, and in case of a SAM tool, the risk is to configure and manage it wrongly.