Software Asset Management – How 7 Best Practices Helps Your Business
According to a recent study, the software asset management market is growing to 2.32 billion by the end of year 2022, as the asset management becomes highly dependent on each other. It also needs a set of rigid processes for their governance and the demands for a well-crafted SAM (Software Asset Management) program act as a core functional area of IT asset management that minimizes IT costs, manual overhead costs and optimizes the usage of software assets within your organization.
SAM (Software Asset Management) is a quintessential part of IT asset management practices in an enterprise, as it mitigates risks associated with the software licenses, established a software inventory device, data centers, the cloud, and also involves the evaluation and optimization of complex software license agreements, contracts thus ensuring compliance.
Let us now deep dive into the best practices for software asset management as follows:
1. Support from senior management:
In simple words, the senior-most leaders of your software asset management program can be a c-level executives, and ensures that the stakeholders and key influencers in the decision-making process of your organizations are well informed about your software asset management strategy, as these stakeholders lie outside your department and might not necessarily understand the importance of piloting a separate program for SAM (Software Asset Management). Gaining executive buy-in and endorsement can go a long way in implementing the SAM (Software Asset Management) strategy in your organization, as it engages them at the early stages of the process, building a strong business case while highlighting cost savings and communicating why it is essential for achieving an optimal total cost of ownership.
2. Choosing the right tools:
Numerous tools in the market tend to fulfill the best software asset management needs of organizations of all sizes, thus, finding one that fits your unique needs can be a tedious process and ask yourself these basic questions:
- Flexibility: Is the tool customizable? Does it offer integrations with the existing applications in your IT ecosystems?
- Scalability: Does the tool allow for flawless services and support as the organization scales? Is it strong enough to operate across multi-cloud environments?
- Software discovery: Does the SAM possess a superior asset discovery tool that detects even virtual and mobile instances of software, and how easy is it to deploy in your environment?
- License Management: How sophisticated are the license management features in the tool? Does it cover license optimization, recycling, a reminder for the contract experiences, and managing vendor audit requests?
- Measurement and Reporting: Does the tool measure the operational and metrics of your SAM program? It should help the SAM leader derive insights and make informed business decisions.
3. Building the Right SAM Team:
Advanced technology not going to solve human being’s problems, as one can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on an expensive cloud tool to manage their organization’s assets and not having the right people at the right places, working towards the appropriate projections is the perfect recipe for an organizational black hole.
The primary goal of an effective IT asset management software program is to minimize IT spends and mitigate risks, as it requires a team of highly skilled and experienced members to verify licensing models and software entitlements as you cannot automate them.
An ideal software asset management team would consist of positions like Software Asset Administrator, SAM analysts, SAM consultant, SAM specialist, and Director of SAM, as some of these positions could be either permanent or contractual depend on your organization’s limitations, and software procurement includes various departments like IT, legal, and finance and procurement.
A collaboration between teams, hierarchies, and partnerships are crucial for effective software asset management program, as SAM leaders should align themselves with their organizational software asset management goals, encourage and motivate their team to perform at their full potential with a strong emphasis on collaboration, and ensure they all speak the common languages.
4. Measuring SAM Success:
Set up the initial KPIs to measure the success of your strategy, in turn, it helps you to communicate your crucial software asset management (SAM) success to the stakeholders and your entire company. Here are some of the few metrics that you can track with the aid of SAM:
a) Software Utilization Rate: The percentage of the software product currently in use by the business.
b) The ratio of the total number of software licenses and the number of unused licenses.
c) The percentage and mandatory value of licenses that the SAM team recycles periodically.
5. Categorizing Software Assets:
Use the discovery and inventory features of your Software Asset Management tool to build all the existing software assets, as it can be open-source, licensed, and customized software alike and sometimes, the creation of virtual machines in an IT environment may create duplicate instances of software, and always note that it’s easy to miss software programs like these, once you have inventoried all the assets, you can then categorize them into three major buckets.
- High Priority: Software assets that have the highest business implications, license costs, or compliance risks.
- Low Priority: These include (license) free software programs that don’t impact IT costs.
- Black Listed: Malware and software programs that are prohibited.
This categorization aids you gain a clear idea of what software assets you own and how efficiently it is utilized.
6.Recycling Software Licenses:
Recycling software licenses are essential to prevent your procurement team from purchasing new licenses, thereby cutting down unnecessary software spends and supporting maintenance costs, as for example, when an employee leaves the company, their existing software license is recycled and assigned to a new employee instead of releasing it, and in other cases, a user may have a software program installed in their computer but in reality, they never actually used it. Recycling software licenses is quite common in high maturity IT organizations, where there are rigid process controls, but even companies with low maturity levels can slash their IT spends significantly through a license optimization process.
7.Being Audit Ready:
Software audits are on the rise, as bad audits attract hefty amounts of fines, but also downgrade a company’s reputation, as it’s crucial to note that there is no such thing as too small a software for an audit. Hence, your SAM program always stays on top and ensures that your organization is always audit-ready, as a preparation, you can perform the following analysis.
To list out the over-licensed and under-licensed software, these analyses also ensure that your organization’s software asset management program complies with SAM. Thus, performing a thorough analysis provides insights regarding how software assets in your company are configured and utilized using this data, as one can avoid over and under licensing of all these purchases.
Organization can efficiently manage its software assets and can have a significant cost advantage over its competitors, as to attain this goal non-ambiguous and well-planned SAM program clearly defines the roles and the responsibilities to be managed by a team of experts. The best practices of software asset management explained in the blog post provide a clear idea about how to extract the maximum benefits from your existing SAM strategy, as the adoption of these best practices might not happen overnight. They can still be realized quickly, provided you have the right set of technical people and an organized group of people to adapt to a major cultural shift.