By Rory Canavan
Having recently commented on an IT thread on the ITAM Review concerning the definition of Software Asset Management (SAM), I got to thinking about the SAM programmes I have been engaged in previously. Software asset management clearly offers benefits to the organization in the areas of:
- Request Management
- Inventory Management
- Asset Management
- Business Continuity Management
- Service Desk/Incident Management
- Change Management
- Vendor Relationship Management
- License & Contract Management
- Spend Management
- Disaster Recovery
- Data Protection & Information Security Management
- IT Operations
- IT Strategy
However, when it comes to promoting the software asset management and license optimization cause, or seeking buy-in from non-IT individuals, waxing lyrical about the visibility of devices or being primed and ready to face a vendor account manager with up to date inventory and license entitlement data, are hardly likely to win the day. Other areas of the business that see IT merely as a utility with a keyboard attached, require a different approach.
And considering that IT is predominantly focussed on the quality and quantity of information flow through a company, as communication professionals we often let ourselves down when it comes to delivering the correct message!
So perhaps a revision of strategy might be required – if we are to embark on a SAM and license optimization programme and we wish to make sure that it is not shelved prior to becoming business as usual, then perhaps we should adopt a bit of self-promotion, or as a minimum at least, have a SAM Programme communications plan.
For the foundation of such a plan, we could do worse than consider the follow points:
- Identification of Stakeholders – who will be influenced by this software asset management programme?
- The agreed triggers/waypoints which instigate communications to the stakeholders – What milestones should be reported upon to Stakeholders?
- Demonstration of how those triggers/waypoints support the business – Re-emphasis of why the SAM programme exists
- A Communications Schedule – An agreed-to schedule to ensure that timely and accurate communications do not swamp those highlighted in point 1.
- The agreed-to method of delivery for all communications – Email might be an obvious choice, but some people may be harder to reach than others, and so replies could be delayed (if required)
- Any privacy/security caveats applicable to communications – MoD/DoD/Medical projects may well have caveats that influence the choice for item 5; or even 1 (some individuals may be excluded access to sensitive data based on role, geographic location, etc.)
- The content of communications to the stakeholders - What information would be of interest to the stakeholders?
- Periodic review of personnel data contained within the communications plan – People come and go, both internally and externally – who are their replacements? Are they no longer privy to classified information if they have moved to a different post within a company?
These 8 points should be considered in light of project status and business as usual, and will be expanded upon in a forthcoming blog. But for now, I would like to draw your attention to point #3 – please note: it does not say ‘Demonstration of how those triggers/waypoints support the SAM programme or the IT Department.’ Your SAM programme has the potential to reach as far as your IT systems do, and so we have to engage the business in terminology that it understands.
To learn more about Software Asset Management best practices, please download our whitepaper: NCC Guideline to IT Management: Software Asset and License Management Best Practices.