There was a man called Ian T. Man who installed a software asset management solution. He rolled out the clients to the whole of his computer estate and received data back on a daily basis.
He then went to his boss, Charles I. Oliver and told him,” You know that software asset management issue we had? It is a problem no longer.”
“Great, thank you well done Ian”, said Charles.
For six months they lived in relative peace with the thought that the software asset management solution had everything covered. Early one morning a letter arrived on Charles I. Oliver’s desk from one of the big bad software ogres demanding an audit of the estate.
Charles thought no problem we have a software asset management solution and promptly instructed Ian T. Man to invite the ogres in.
After a few months of disruption the main ogre presented Charles with an audit report, promptly followed by a bill totalling a third of their annual IT budget.
What?! Ian, How is this possible?! We have a software asset management tool?!!
Ah ehm yes. I forgot to make sure the license data was entered, oh and we only rolled it out to our Microsoft estate.
You know the desktop refresh we did two months ago? We managed to install the professional version instead of the standard version. We thought installing the software asset management solution would be enough.
So what can we learn from this ‘fairy tale’?
Well to start with most tales have a grain of truth to them they started as a true story and in this case it isn’t that far-fetched (names have been changed to protect all parties).
Software asset management is not a project or a self-serving solution. It is something that should be managed and be part of your companies day to day operations. Deploying a technology is only part of the whole picture. The picture can be broken down into three main components;
Technology: ensure you have visibility of your entire infrastructure from desktops to servers, physical to virtual, Wintel through to UNIX and Linux. Make sure that data collected is correct, software recognition is accurate, detailed metering data is also an important component to being able to analyse the information.
People: define roles and responsibilities for your SAM team, train them on what SAM is, how to interpret the data, what to look for from a licensing but also from a business perspective. Educate them on the financial, contractual and legal risks. Communicate SAM to the business. What is it? Why do it? The benefits to the end user as well as the board level.
Process: ensure that SAM processes are in place, that the technology and data are used in the decision processes for IT procurement, project management, HR joiners and leavers, moves and disposals as well as governance to oversee all of the above.
Lastly be aware of external forces on your Software Asset Management function such as BYOD, BYOA, shadow IT, SaaS, IaaS, vendor mergers and acquisitions, licensing changes due technology advancement even market demand for experienced SAM resources can have an impact due to staff turnover.