By John Emmitt
This is the second installment of my blog series on the SAM Summit event in Chicago. On Tuesday, I attended a session on The Top 10 Steps to Improve SAM by Adam Cahn and Martin Latz of Deloitte. They started off with a brief discussion on the benefits of a Software Asset Management (SAM) program:
- Cost optimization (software licenses and maintenance)
- Asset visibility and control
- Governance – SOX, SOX II, etc.
- Risk reduction – legal liability and audit risk
- Improved security
Next they introduced a 3-phased approach to implementing a software asset management program: Phase 1—understand what you have
Phase 2—benchmark your program and measure maturity
Phase 3—dynamic software asset management
Their 10 steps to improve SAM were distributed across these 3 phases. Here are the 10 steps:
- Create a centralized entitlement, license and contract repository
- Highlight any special terms and conditions of your contracts.
- Perform a vendor risk assessment based on:
- Business dependency on the software
- Audit risk
- Software spend/cost per instance
- Perform internal audits
- Define your SAM strategy
- Where is the SAM team in the organization—under the CIO or the CFO?
- Establish a SAM team
- Monitor hardware asset changes
- If you do a hardware upgrade, make sure the software vendor approves the simultaneous use of both legacy and new systems during the transition period.
- Integrate SAM risks with change management
- Assess impact of emerging technologies
- License management implications of the Cloud
- Virtualization—they said that companies that monitor their virtual environments are seen as twice as likely to be in license compliance
- Selection of a discovery tool
Maximize the potential of one wide-ranging tool, while benefitting from some of the free vendor tools (e.g. ILMT)
- Meet with others in the organization to educate them on what the SAM team does and how it benefits the organization
The only thing that really surprised me in this session was the mention only of discovery tools as discussed on step 9. Discovery and inventory tools are obviously important—you need to know what’s out there in your IT environment, but this really represents only the most basic first step in the SAM and license optimization process. There are tools on the market today that go well beyond discovery and inventory to bringing in purchase order data (basic license entitlements) and streamline the purchased versus installed license reconciliation process—required to understand your license position and maintain license compliance.
Enterprise License Optimization tools go a step or two further and consider vendor specific product use rights to reduce license consumption and calculate an optimized license position. So, to only suggest a discovery tool is akin to recommending that a house builder go out and buy a hammer, rather than getting a sliding compound miter saw with laser guidance. Yes, you need the hammer, but you could definitely use some more advanced tools to make the job a whole lot easier and vastly reducing your time to value—whether that be a finished house or ‘dynamic SAM’.
This too was a very informative session. Hopefully this article has helped convey some of the insights gained by those who attended.
Readers may also be interested in the Forrester Research report on Software License Optimization to learn more about going beyond traditional software asset management (SAM).