As businesses and corporations scale in this technological era, their adoption rate of enterprise software is also on the rise. And as software assets grow, their management turns complex. In addition, the growth of software assets results in their interdependence which requires a thought out plan for their management. This calls for the development of a well-crafted Software Asset Management (SAM) program – an essential functional area in IT asset management that focuses on saving costs and efficient utilization of software assets.
According to recent studies, the global market for Software Asset Management (SAM) is estimated to grow to about $2.32 Billion by 2022. However, according to Gartner, budget constraints and a general lack of proper awareness of SAM are some of the primary restraining factors for the adoption of SAM by some businesses and corporations.
What is Software Asset Management?
Maintaining software licenses is a founding basis for a healthy consumer-vendor relationship. For vendors, they hope that businesses will license their software for years to come; and for business, they hope that this software will add value to their business. But maintaining software licenses is a complex and tiresome practice, and that is where Software Asset Management(SAM) comes in.
In its literal and generic definition, Software Asset Management is a program used by organizations to manage their pool of enterprise software licenses. In technical terms, SAM is a combination of tools used to automate most of the tasks required in managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software; thereby managing to spend on
According to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), SAM is defined as “…all of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control, and protection of the software assets…throughout all stages of their lifecycle.”
Significance of Software Asset Management
The objective and importance of Software Asset Management are to save on IT costs and to minimize business and legal liabilities associated with the ownership and use of the software by tracking the expiration of licenses while maximizing the value of the software. According to Gartner, companies using an effective SAM can expect to register up to 30% savings in the first year, and 5-10% in the subsequent years.
Difference Between Software Asset Management and Software License Management
Within the IT field, there is a continued confusion between Software Asset Management (SAM) and its subset Software License Management (SLM). SAM is a subset of IT Asset Management (ITAM) focussed on software assets, licenses, and related services. Within SAM, there are subsets focused on different fields, the subsets are Software License Management and Software License Compliance. Whereas SAM largely focuses on both software asset management and licensing; Software License Management specifically focuses on licensing. It is used to ensure that legal agreements that accompany procured software licenses are adhered to. It ensures that only legally procured licensed software is deployed.
Software License Management offers an organization, transparency into their enterprise’s software assets, usage, licenses, and contracts; this enables them to be aware of what software is deployed, how it is being used, by who and by much. With this information, an organization can properly plan for licensing.
In addition, License Management tools are also utilized by software vendors to monitor and certify that software consumers adhere to the developer’s licensing policies or rather an End-User License Agreement (EULA). This ensures that a developer’s software is not used, copied, or transferred by unlicensed users.
SAM Best Practices
Software consumers spend a fortune on licenses every year, and lack of proper management of those licenses can result in violations, that leads to penalty or in some cases, prosecution. To avoid these risks, there are SLM best practices that organizations may consider; some of them are:
❖ Strong Policies – Create detailed, clear, and explicit SLM policies that help you in establishing controls over your deployed software to avoid the risk of running into non-compliance. The policies should also cover how and who is authorized to install the software in your organization’s IT devices. For example; normal user accounts should be restricted from downloading any executable programs from the internet.
❖ Automated Discovery – Deploy automated discovery tools and programs in your IT infrastructure that can regularly discover and audit any software installed in any device in your network.
❖ Asset Systems and CMDB – Besides discovery, manage the lifecycle of your software assets to ensure data quality. In addition, your asset and CMDB systems should be characterized by data models that meet your software’s asset requirements.
What to look for when choosing your SAM software?
Once a decision to implement a SAM in your organization has been reached, it is now time to choose a SAM program that suits your organization’s infrastructure and needs. While many organizations choose a SAM based on prices and vendor ratings, we would like to recommend something different: choose a SAM based on their features, features that seem essential to your organization’s needs. To help you get started, here are some of the critical features you should consider:
❖ Software Discovery – The primary role of a SAM is to help in keeping track of all hardware and software assets in an organization, and to maintain their compliance status. In the past, this process was purely manual, where IT personnel crested and kept spreadsheets containing information about the assets; and each time a change of asset or license is made, a manual update is done on the spreadsheet to reflect the change. Today’s SAM comes with features that automatically keep track of the assets; the feature automatically detects the assets and documents their information, including compliance status. In case of a non-compliance issue –for example, an expiration, the feature automatically triggers an alert.
❖ Asset inventory and cataloguing – Inventory and cataloguing are the main beneficial features of SAM. Without these features, wastage in an organization is inevitable since organizations may end up ordering excess resources such as licenses, software, and hardware without any awareness of alternatives that might be available to them. An effective SAM program should have powerful network scanning capabilities that look for various assets’ configurations. An asset inventory should reveal, among other things, the name of the asset, its configuration information, and its active and compliance status. With this information, organizations can make informed decisions about their assets; for example, how many software needs license renewals.
❖ Software usage assessment – A SAM program that has software usage assessment as among its core features is very helpful for organizations looking to only spend on what they exactly need. Think of this scenario: there are two IT organizations (A and B), each have an accounting software they usually license for thirty computers. Company A implements an automatic inventory, while B uses a manual one. When it’s time for renewal, company A pulls its SAM’s software usage assessment tool, and discover that five of the installations are categorized as “rarely used”, the company, therefore, goes ahead and renew licenses for only twenty-five installations, reducing the overall cost by 16%. Since company B cannot evaluate its software usage activity, it goes ahead to blindly purchase a whole bundle of licenses.
❖ License Compliance monitoring – Occasionally, software vendors carry out audits to verify conformity to software license agreements, and more often than not, audited organizations have ended up paying huge penalty fees due to violations; License Compliance monitoring is, therefore, a must-have tool. With this SAM tool, an organization is in a position to proactively monitor its IT assets and discover any non-compliance issue before a software vendor audit. In addition, these tools trigger a notification if a change in the network affects license compliance.
❖ Compatibility – Another feature that should be considered is the compatibility of the SAM program. Organizations often leverage a variety of enterprise software to run their operations, therefore, a preferred SAM should be that which is compatible with other enterprise software.
With years of experience in Software Asset Management, Rythium has helped several businesses around the world save big on Software Licensing. Euladox – our proprietary SAM tool, was built from the ground up to assist businesses and organizations that are working to minimize their spending on software licenses, while at the same time streamline management of IT assets in their network.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.