Implementing an effective SAM Plan
To bring the SAM program to this level of maturity that enables organizations to align business needs with software budgets and licensing and entitlement logistics, organizations must establish, or hire, (or a combination of the two via SAM managed services) a SAM team that can select and manage the proper tool and understand contracts and entitlements with major vendors.
There are three main stages to SAM: plan, build and run
Stage #1: plan
In this stage, organizations are identifying key stakeholders in the program, determining what resources are already allocated towards Software Asset Management, and determining the current level of compliance. This team will span multiple departments to understand overall software use and will ultimately select which SAM tool to deploy to meet business goals. An important part often overlooked is the planning for policy or new process adoption.
Stage #2: build
The building stage is where the tool comes in. While the features of the tool may vary, it should be able to discover, identify, and normalize a complete inventory of your software both on-premises and in the cloud. From there, this tool should also aggregate licenses to allow the team to compare each license being used against how many licenses have been purchased. With this actionable information, SAM teams can begin to optimize the software estate.
It is also in this stage that teams will have to get an understanding of entitlements and license complexities. This information will be collated/collected alongside the discovery data in the SAM tool, however, it is not easy to gather.
Some of the methods teams can use to aggregate and understand this information include directly reviewing contracts from major publishers or getting quotes and invoices from the procurement team. Organizations can also contract SAM professionals who can contact publishers directly without fear of causing an audit, as well as establishing VAR feeds to assess data extracted by resellers.
Stage #3: run
With an accurate software inventory and full understanding of software entitlements, many think compliance will just fall into place. However, now this information must be continuously updated and assessed to ensure compliance, security, and cost optimization on a long-term basis, by matching inventory and use against contracts and orders. It is a continuous lifecycle not just a one-time fix.