Not every organization has perfectly optimized software asset management (SAM). In fact, it takes a bit of time to achieve SAM maturity, and there is a lot more to the process than meets the eye. There are multiple phases along the way that shape and mold an organization into a fully predictive, mature program.
Before you can understand how to achieve a fully optimized SAM program, you must know how to measure your organization’s level of maturity. Each level within a SAM maturity model can be progressed to the next, so it is important to have a good perception of your starting point and how to measure it.
SAM maturity refers to running an optimized SAM program. This phase of asset management can only be achieved after time and effort has been put into auditing and maintaining a software estate. Ultimately, mature SAM will offer visibility into entitlements, inventory and consumption across distributed on-premise and cloud environments. A few key steps on the road to SAM maturity are:
- A software procurement process that aligns solutions with core business needs.
- Evaluation / audit of how the deployed solution is used, by who, and if it is effective.
- Optimize licensing based on use and necessity.
- Monitor for and administer software updates.
- Retire outdated solutions.
One of the key indicators of a mature SAM program is one that goes from being reactive to predictive.
When an organization is hit with a vendor audit with an incomplete or poorly maintained SAM program, they are in a reactive phase, working backwards to account for solution usage. However, organizations that have maintained their SAM program over a long period of time will have mature, predictive programs that enable them to predict software needs and handle audits. This not only reduces the risks imposed by audits, but optimizes software spend on a regular basis.
Measuring SAM Maturity
You cannot build a SAM maturity strategy until you understand where your organization stands. For this reason, it is crucial you know how to measure maturity through a SAM maturity assessment. A SAM maturity assessment will enable your organization see exactly where on the scale your SAM program has reached. Essentially, you will be provided with a benchmark to use as a starting point for designing your SAM roadmap. Think of this assessment as an exercise to guide you towards future success in software lifecycle management.
Once a SAM maturity assessment has been completed, you can use a SAM maturity model to better understand your place and where you need to go. Gartner has developed a SAM maturity model of their own many have chosen to use, including us here at SoftwareONE. These are the are five components within this model:
- Chaotic – When an organization has chaotic SAM, they are dealing with audits on an ad hoc basis. They’re often dealing with multiple help desks, undocumented assets, and minimal IT operations.
- Reactive – Once an organization has reached a reactive level, they are working with a step up from the bare minimum. The do not have much control over which of their IT assets are being used and where, and taking care of an audit feels more like putting out a fire. These organizations typically lack or have incomplete policies, procedures, resources, and tools.
- Proactive – At this point, an organization would be tracking assets and able to analyze trends. The organization has moved from reacting to audits to predicting them. Mature problem configuration, change, and asset and performance management is fully in place.
- Service – This is a stage an organization should begin working with IT as a service provider. Tools, procedures, and policies are being utilized daily to manage the software asset lifecycle. An organization will be able to define services, classes, and other pricing.
- Value – An organization is fully optimized at this level of maturity and partnering with IT as a strategic business partner. An organization would now have enough accurate information to manage assets to business targets. Alignment can be done in nearly real time, so a program can adapt to changing business needs.
Understanding which level of maturity your organization is currently at is crucial for strategizing how to progress to the next. Once you have reached dynamic SAM, you can build a plan to maintain ongoing maturity.
How You Benefit from a SAM Maturity Assessment
After discovering your level of maturity, it is time to dissect it in the context of your organization. If you are at a basic stage of SAM, your focus should be on education and gathering data. Or, if you are a bit further along in the process, you should turn your focus towards understanding your SAM tool and how it can be used to progress forward. A SAM tool will help you know where you stand, which is important prioritizing your process and diving into where exactly you would like to begin enhancing.
The biggest thing to remember here is that SAM maturity is about continued development. You must design an actionable roadmap that is easy to carry out and easy to maintain. Otherwise, you will not find your organization crossing the threshold from reactive to predictive. To make sure your plan is doable, set smaller goals that can be done in a shorter amount of time to get ahold of where you can gain control.
SAM maturity can be challenging to navigate on your own, however, so be sure to consider partnering with an expert. A SAM partner will be able to explain to you what the results of your maturity assessment mean in-depth. This way, you will be able to create a roadmap with the confidence of knowing it is something you’ll be able to keep up.
Maintaining Your Plan for Success
SAM maturity is a work in progress. Whether you are at the most basic of levels or completely optimized, you never reach an endpoint. After running a SAM maturity assessment, lean into the experts around you to design the plan that will work best for your organization. Once you have a plan in place, you will be able to predict rather than react in no time.