By John Emmitt
Gartner recently published a report called: Software Asset Management Is Now a C-Level Imperative in which they say: “SAM has evolved into a discipline that supports strategic business development, requiring IT leaders to engage C-level commitment to SAM investment.” The report also says that the increasing complexity of software environments, including the move to the cloud, requires IT leaders “to broaden the scope of software asset management (SAM) and implement it as a governance function to enable IT to manage the full software lifecycle effectively.”
There are five key insights in this report:
- Software Asset Management needs to be a strategic imperative in your organization, with C-level involvement
- There are a number of trends that are all driving the need for best in class SAM processes and tools, including the move to the cloud
- IT leaders must broaden the scope of Software Asset Management to include management of cloud infrastructure (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Organizations with mature SAM processes and tools for managing today’s on-premises oriented IT environments are much better prepared to make the move to the cloud
- Software Asset Management should cross business function silos to provide visibility and oversight throughout the software lifecycle
Figure 1: Software Governance is a Shared Responsibility
Why SAM is Strategic
Gartner survey data on the top three reasons for organizations’ investment in SAM show that the number one reason is “to improve IT processes and deliver better services to clients.” Improving software license compliance and being audit ready came in third. So, while license compliance is still a key driver, “business outcomes are now the focus of SAM business cases and delivery, making SAM a strategic, rather than a tactical, activity.”
Key Trends Driving the Need for Mature Software Asset Management
All of these trends are driving the need for better SAM processes and tools:
- The move to cloud and SaaS—adds more complexity to your overall IT environment and the set of contracts that need to be negotiated and managed; you need similar processes and controls around this as you do for managing on-premises enterprise software
- The increase in software spend—software is growing at a faster rate than other areas of IT spend
- The increase in software audits—the survey data shows that 68% of enterprises are audited at least once per year
The lack of mature processes that support a move to the cloud will result in increased risks, including security and license compliance risks. With the move to the cloud comes a shift from perpetual to subscription based payment models. Gartner expects subscriptions to overtake traditional perpetual licensing and maintenance by 2019.
As has been noted in previous articles on the topic of cloud computing, the move to the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud-based delivery model probably lessens organizations’ license compliance risk, but at the same time, it increases the need for better spend management.
Broadening the Scope of SAM
With the move to the cloud, organizations must expand the definition of Software Asset Management to include management and optimization of cloud services. A key area of focus here, is management of cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Although the per unit cost of cloud infrastructure can be lower than implementing it yourself in your own datacenter, costs can spiral out of control if they are not managed properly.
Flexera Software has recently launched a new product-- FlexNet Manager for Cloud Infrastructure, that helps organizations manage cloud infrastructure services, adding to the software asset management and license optimization capabilities provided by FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises.
Read the full Gartner Report here.