Creating Value with

Software Portfolio Management

Why Software Portfolio Management is an Integral Part of any Good SAM Strategy

  • 06 November 2019

What Can Software Portfolio Management Do for You?

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.

No. 1 Rule: Create Absolute Transparency

What I mean is the following: you need to look after your suite of software licenses the same way that you regularly ‘manage’ the content of your refrigerator. Avoid duplicate purchases of software licenses, coordinate the products and their functions, and keep a keen eye on maintenance and support agreements. Make sure you can state at all times precisely what you own and how much it costs. And be absolutely certain that unwanted applications do not gain entry to your systems.

So Software Portfolio Management can provide a variety of benefits, depending on how you use your software, what you plan to do, and how much leeway you require.

What canSoftware Portfolio Management do for you?

  1. Cut your software costs by sustainably improving the terms of purchase, e.g. by pooling vendors and functions. You locate unnecessary software and verify required editions.
  2. Optimize your operating costs by spending less on support and training. You can phase out maintenance and support agreements and ensure a uniform patch level to reduce the number of incidents.
  3. Streamline security, e.g. by acquiring a list of software products without valid support. You can detect unpermitted software such as games and hence benefit from an automated analysis of the installed patch level (“comparing current with available”)

That’s the theory. In practice, though, Software Portfolio Management is unfortunately not quite so simple. You need qualified staff with the ability to register minute details of your current software by hand and who are also familiar with the various properties (software features, contractual structures, etc.) so that they can be categorized and used as a basis for strategic decisions.

But it’s a tall order and a costly endeavor to find suitable employees in this industry. Automated Software Portfolio Management tools will usually be the significantly more affordable option. Depending on the scope of software you own, you may even find out that the many potential savings are several times greater than the initial investment required for Software Portfolio Management.

Where to Get Automated Functions?

Suitable automated functions are available on our Portfolio Management Platform. It includes:

  1. Inventory: A tool that helps you identify and catalog your software products on both clients and servers.
  2. Profiler Service: Automatic refinement of the inventorization findings and allocation (e.g. version, edition, language, license type, category, functions) of your currently installed software in order to infer potential savings.
SoftwareONE's Portfolio Management Platform at a glance, source: SoftwareONE

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