Once the SAM team is aligned on the functionality for the tool to be effective and successful, they can begin the process of researching and selecting their SAM tool. This process will vary and be subjective based on the needs of the organization. However, there are a few features that organizations should keep in mind as they aim to align their SAM program with modern business initiatives, including: intelligence, automation and visibility.
One major consideration to make when selecting a SAM tool is the intelligence it provides the SAM team outside of software inventory. As software use grows, it will be impossible to manually index all of the various factors associated with robust software asset management. Organizations will want to look for solutions that can provide this updated intelligence for them. This is especially true of software license management. Many SAM tools today can give in-depth information into compliance and risk, SKU intelligence, redundant applications, and can even provide insight into optimizing the complex licensing rules of specific vendors.
Additionally, SAM tools that provide financial intelligence can be a distinct advantage in managing assets and optimizing costs. Having this information gathered in one place allows SAM and the procurement teams to see how much an asset currently costs, as well as upcoming maintenance costs, to reveal overall financial impact. Some tools can also provide intelligence into financial risk associated with noncompliance.
Regardless of what intelligence your SAM tool collects, the end result will be a huge amount of data and intelligence. Automation will be a key feature for modern SAM tools to assist in making all of this intelligence actionable in a reasonable period of time. As critical business functions become more reliant on software and applications, there will be little patience for drawn out license approval processes, which might result in employees circumventing SAM teams altogether.
SAM must be a continual process, not something that is only considered in the face of an audit. Tools that can automate software maintenance, software requests and access, device enrollment, and more will help ensure that SAM moves at the pace of modern organizations and help to ensure SAM processes are not ignored.
Visibility into Hybrid Environments
While many organizations still use on-premises software assets, they are also increasing their use of cloud-based SaaS applications. It is a common misconception that SAM is not necessary in the cloud, as these licenses are easily scaled based on consumption. However, this is not the case. To monitor spend, governance, and asset maintenance, organizations need a SAM tool that has visibility into, and can collect data on, assets in the cloud. To make this information more manageable, organizations will want to look for a SAM tool that correlates the data from on-premises assets and cloud assets into a single view to understand the overall software estate.