People & Process Bringing Out the Value in SAM

People & Process

Bringing Out the Value in SAM

People & Process: Bringing Out the Value in SAM

Many of us fall into our Software Asset Management (SAM) roles without a lot of preparation or notice. Even if we know what to do, we don’t know how to achieve our intended goals due to limited resources (budget, people, tools, etc.) to start, or a mature SAM program that may already be in place. The key to success is quickly finding the value within your SAM program.

Compelling Events

Executive support is critical to the success of any SAM program. If you received the green light to build a program, it is likely a compelling event led to that business decision. Compelling events include:

  • Organizational or leadership changes
  • Audit or perceived risk of an audit
  • Sustainable savings or cost avoidance initiatives
  • Digital Transformation (i.e., Electronic Medical Records (EMR), IoT)
  • Security Initiatives (i.e., General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR)
  • M&A or Divestiture Activity
  • Tool investment fatigue—buying SAM tools and not achieving the expected ROI

So where do you begin?

By starting with an accurate maturity assessment of each process area in the software lifecycle, organizations can measure process gaps to lay out a strategic roadmap to “eat the elephant a bite at a time.” However, most organizations are in a reactive mode. Funding for SAM initiatives are focused on responding to audits, security concerns or M&A activity.

Figure 1 is a snapshot from SoftwareONE’s upcoming SAM maturity assessment based on a scale of Chaotic, Reactive, Proactive, Service to Value. The results, based on a Gartner scoring model, is from SoftwareONE’s proprietary maturity assessment tool launching soon.

It indicates the strength or weakness of your business’s SAM program. This visual report enables the organization to quickly identify gaps to close and mature

SAM Maturity-Opengraph
Fig. 1 SoftwareONE SAM Maturity, source: SoftwareONE

The SAM Tool as the first step

Although not the be all and end all to a successful SAM program – the SAM tool is essential to ensuring you have the right pieces in place to warrant a successful SAM program. However, once the tool is chosen it is the steps you take immediately afterwards that will further drive value. This includes implementation, data cleansing and of course, continuous monitoring and management of the tool.

Taking Inventory

Next, determine the top ten to twenty publishers that are strategic to your business and encompass the majority of your software spend. Tightly manage the compliance and optimization of those top publishers. As shown below in Figure 2, there is a diminishing return on trying to manage a higher number of publishers.

Fig 2. SAM Return On Investment, source: SoftwareONE

Gartner reported in April 2018 that SaaS continues to be the largest segment of the overall cloud market (including BPaaS, IaaS and PaaS) and is expected to see revenues increase to $73.6 billion by the end of 2018 and constitute 45 percent of overall application software spending by 2021. According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index for the period 2013 – 2018, 59% of all cloud workflows will be delivered by the end of this year. See our blog post “Software Asset Management in a Time of SaaS ” to discover the nine key areas to think about when implementing your SAM plan for SaaS.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management shows the rising level of importance that SAM is having throughout all organizations as we continue to move towards even more digitalization of our data and services. In the past, we knew how many servers we had, how many licenses were purchased, and how many vendors we were dealing with on an annual basis.

With the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) and the cloud however, this black and white environment has shifted to one that is grey at best. Even without SaaS, SAM is a complicated task that is definitely aided by the right tool, but also benefits from having the right roadmap and expertise (human) in place. SaaS, and the eventual rogue software, that it allows, just makes things all the more “interesting.”

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Build vs. Buy

In addition, SAM takes time. It takes a lot of time that most organizations don’t have. We’d all like to think SAM would become and remain a top priority at all of our organizations to ensure visibility across the software estate, reduced costs across the various software vendors, and elimination of security risks by knowing what your environment is made of.

However, IT departments are often outsourced or over tasked in-house and the complexity that SAM brings tends to push it to the bottom of the list when we’re all struggling to keep e-mail running and the proverbial lights on. This often means that companies are faced with needing a SAM plan after being confronted with an audit or a security risk. This can leave a company vulnerable and unsure what to do in terms of next steps or longer-term planning. After all SAM is not a set it and forget it situation, it needs to be monitored and checked on a consistent basis.

Whatever the trigger for needing to put SAM in place, and no matter if your environment is made up of a majority on-premises or cloud, or a hybrid of the two, you need to know where to turn next. Once you develop your strategic plan, the next step is to determine what your existing resources are to help you down this path, and what new resources you need to procure in order to be successful, both at the start of the journey and on an on-going basis. Every company needs the right SAM tool to work in conjunction with the people and processes. So, for this article let’s focus on the people.

You can choose to outsource your SAM needs, create an in-house team supported by a tool or use a combination with a managed services approach. This hybrid approach (much like your software estate) is probably the best bet because it allows your IT department to maintain control over the SAM journey while freeing up key resources to work on more strategic initiatives at the company. We heard from a top financial services group in the Midwest that did just that.

Customer Story

One of our clients  knew it needed to take a more proactive approach to its SAM strategy but wasn’t sure where to begin. The stakeholders  spearheading the overall project found that a managed services approach allowed the company  to maintain communication, policy and overall governance without getting bogged down in vendor contracts, guidelines, and minutia. Implementing the right tool, and combining that with the right managed service, allowed the client to move away from day-to-day tactics and look at how SAM would help  from a transformational perspective to drive cost savings, risk avoidance and improve visibility and security.

The customer is already seeing the benefits of not using a SAM tool as a crutch for its overall SAM strategy and understanding that people, process and a consistent approach is necessary for a successful SAM program.

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Diane Conaway

IAITAM Fellow and Software Lifecycle Management

Software Asset Management

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