When tool vendors first begin marketing their products, their ‘claim to fame’ flagship product is usually developed internally based on specific attributes they want their solution to accomplish. But as time goes on, they expand and augment their offering in order to remain competitive. As a result, their original flagship product deviates from their core competency and subsequently lowers the quality of their original intention.
If you’re in the market for a Software Asset Management (SAM) tool to manage your assets, keep the below guidelines in mind to ensure you receive the best tool from the most credible vendor.
1. Determine Your SAM Tool Needs
Although your SAM managers play a key role in determining the appropriate SAM tool, stakeholders must be involved in this process as well. Together, the entire group should create a comprehensive list of tool requirements which the SAM team then translates into a Request for Information (RFI) document. Compiling an RFI requires significant effort and attention to detail; however, if done correctly, the RFI can be a substantial asset when researching a selected list of potential vendors for acquisition, deployment, and usage costs of your desired SAM tool.
Picking the right SAM tool starts with an introspection of your core organizational needs. Ultimately, the desire to obtain a SAM tool is to help:
- Improve business productivity
- Reduce the resource effort required by current business processes
- Provide the detailed and accurate software discovery reports needed for licensing
- Streamline organizational growth which requires a more comprehensive tool
The closer you match the core requirements you want in a SAM tool to the core competencies of potential tool vendors, the greater the likelihood of making the correct decision. For example, if your core requirement is for a comprehensive inventory/discovery solution, but you need a license compliance management solution as well, then finding a vendor whose core competency is discovery might be a better choice than a vendor whose core competency is lifecycle asset repository, but offers a discovery solution.
2. Narrowing Down Your Research Results
Provide potential vendors with some sample questions to help you narrow down your search. The expected response from potential tool vendors should be more than just a ‘yes/no’ answer. With more and more vendors entering the SAM tool marketplace, and competition getting more intense, aggressive vendors may overstate their capabilities. Ranging from best case to worst case scenario, the range of responses you can expect to receive from vendors regarding your RFI requirements include:
- A free text response (where vendors request to explain their response in more detail)
- Whether the vendor can meet your requirements out of the box
- Your solution requires additional coding or development
- Or, quite simply, your request cannot be met
Once you receive the RFI list from all your prospective vendors, rank their responses from best to worst. Remember, vendors are going to try and “spin” their solution’s true capabilities in an attempt to receive your patronage. The entire RFI process should be used to narrow the field down to a few qualifying vendors so that a proof-of-concept can be performed to validate the vendors’ claim in the RFI.
3. Request a SAM Tool Proof-of-Concept
Once you determine which vendors’ solution you wish to investigate, they should then offer to provide a proof-of-concept by installing the solution in your environment where the necessary assets and resources can be utilized to thoroughly validate the vendors’ claims. By going through this process in a rigorous fashion, it should become apparent rather quickly which tool comes closest to meeting your overall requirements.
4. Consult the SoftwareONE’s Unbiased SAM Tool Expertise
SoftwareONE’s SAM services utilize a tool agnostic approach, making our SAM professionals natural advisors when it comes to discovering the appropriate Software Asset Management tool for establishing your own SAM program. Tool vendors fully realize the market depth, penetration, and influence of SoftwareONE’s SAM expertise, placing SoftwareONE in a position to read between the lines of a vendors’ marketing spin and analyze their tool’s true capabilities. Contact your local SoftwareONE representative today and ask for a SAM Specialist’s undivided attention for helping you discover your very own SAM tool.