A simple question for which there could never be just ONE simple answer. After all: Software Portfolio Management is the foundation upon which a whole variety of long-term value creation measures are built. For instance, it can be used to cut software costs, reduce operating expenses or even enhance your software security. It really depends on which ‘treasures’ can be exploited in your particular software landscape and on your personal goals.
Why shouldn't you go without Software Portfolio Management? The best way of explaining this is to use an example that everyone knows – a refrigerator. However strange this
comparison may seem at first glance, these two items have far more in common than you might think.
Simply compare a refrigerator with your software landscape. Like with software, it contains various products that satisfy different functions, and together make up the ingredients for entire meals. In the same way that security programs are used to protect your IT, jam is most likely to be served in a particular setting, namely at breakfast.
Just like knowing what ingredients you have at home to decide on what meal to cook, you need to be precisely aware of what software you own in order to plan reliably which software licenses you should procure next.This knowledge forms the basis for (Software) Portfolio Management.
Now, simply owning a full refrigerator will not turn you into a master chef. Just like you need a recipe for cooking, smooth Software Asset Management (SAM) also requires an interface to operations in order to correctly execute strategies. Not to forget the ‘list of ingredients’, i.e. a well-maintained interface to procurements to avoid the acquisition of unnecessary products and similar pitfalls. In other words, it takes a ‘special flavor’ to conjure up a five-star menu. SAM is exactly the same, and the ‘spice in the soup’ is Software Portfolio Management.
The refrigerator comparison can be extended still further. Do you regularly check the shelf life of your products? Software will eventually ‘expire’ as well, e.g. in the form of maintenance and license agreements or version support – the icing on the cake of well-maintained Software Portfolio Management. This knowledge allows you to take a proactive approach to recent technological and vendor-driven developments. So you can decide at precisely the right moment: is it really worth buying the same product yet again? Might subscription licenses even be more efficient in the long term? Is an update necessary?
At this point, I do not really want to go into the details of what happens to your shopping in the fridge when it passes its expiry date. But in a worst-case scenario, a carelessly managed software portfolio will also become ‘unappetizing’. Duplicate purchases are the most harmless of the unwanted byproducts. Companies that do not take care might even have two virus scanners installed on one device, each of them obstructing the other’s work.