In the three and a half years I have worked for SoftwareONE, I have had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of IT Professionals in the Small to Midmarket (SMB) space regarding how they manage their software assets.
When SoftwareONE uses the term ‘manage’ we don’t mean simply from a risk perspective on the off chance that the organization might be audited one day, but instead ensuring the companies we approach have a proper understanding of real user requirements.
Do they have full visibility of:
- User adoption and usage of purchased software
- Eradication of unused and unneeded software in the environment
- How to re-harvest software where there might be a new requirement for existing software in the organization that is installed but not used?
Also, does the IT manager have the ability to spot compliance issues and properly license all software entitlements before an audit situation arises? Do they have the proper measures and controls to prevent users installing rogue software, or purchasing and downloading software from untrustworthy or overly expensive sources?
From our experience, these are questions small and mid-market enterprises are struggling to answer with a resounding and positive yes.
And that’s because this level of management and control requires that your small business has a few things in place:
- Firstly, the right policies, processes and controls,
- Secondly full visibility of all installed and hosted software and the usage thereof,
- Thirdly, a person, or people, who have a deep level of understanding of not only how the software is licensed, but how to apply that licensing in the most commercially beneficial way possible,
- And finally a proper SAM tool which ties this all together.
SMBs are Feeling Overwhelmed
This probably sounds somewhat overwhelming for most IT departments. Especially considering that in the SMB space IT budgets are tight, and there are generally little to no provisions made for dedicated Software Asset Management (SAM) resources or tools.
Software asset management may not be considered “cool tech,” but here at SoftwareONE we are passionate about SAM, and there is nothing that floats our boat quite so much as getting into all the details around how environments can be optimized, or spend can be reduced, or the chasm between business, procurement, and IT can be bridged.
At times our enthusiasm is rebuffed with excuses, such as:
“My environment is small and easy to control, and I manage what is installed very tightly; what you are proposing is an overkill for my needs.”
“What you are proposing is a nice to have, and I guess it would make my life easier, and possibly improve how efficiently we do things, but you have to understand that the business already sees it as my responsibility to manage the environment. I am doing the best I can, so how do you suppose I justify the need for a tool?”
“I already have a very expensive service management tool implemented which we use to pull inventory, and I do the analysis myself.”
“We are in the cloud end-to-end, and are used to paying the opex costs anyway.”
Here to help
To our IT peers, it’s not for lack of hearing you, or understanding your challenges that we continue to knock on your door with our SAM passion. We are here to help you understand the nuances of SAM and have it work for you on your time, and on your budget for your organization.
This is because we have seen (and implemented) SAM at work in real organizations, and we have seen how much of a difference it makes. We have also seen the opposite, where organizations are badly burnt for lack of proper tools, processes and skills. We also know that there are risk factors in your environment that you might have no idea about:
- A single rogue virtual instance of SQL in a 3 node cluster where VMotion is enabled can cost the organization $150 000,00 if licensing hasn’t been carefully considered.
- We found 600 licensing changes to a common publisher contract in just three years. This could negate the original contract – leaving you open to vulnerabilities.
- We find unauthorized software in almost every client engagement – unlicensed software is a leading contributor to cyber security risks.
Return on Investment
If you take the above into consideration, a typical SMB will likely see the return on investment in the first year of our engagement. Because of this we believe SAM in SMB should be fundamental, not a nice to have. Once the SAM foundation is properly laid, it paves the way for future efficiencies that would be otherwise impossible.
We also know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take time and patience to implement a SAM strategy. There is no silver bullet, but there are tried and tested solutions and methods, and we have the skills to complement where you might not. The point is to start on the journey, and work with us to prove the ROI, and the value in terms of ease of doing business and ongoing cost management speaks for itself.
To learn more you can visit our SAMSimple page to see how to get started with SAM today, and be sure to take a look at how a SAM managed service provider can help take the load off your IT team.