I regularly get asked the question of what is SAM all about?
Before I answer I always sit back and think about, who is asking the question? What is their function? What industry are they in? What are they looking for? What keeps them awake at night?
And then answer their question with the fact it is about compliance, it is about audit defence, it is about cost reduction and optimization.
But I’m thinking, isn’t the answer in the title? SAM or to give SAM it’s full name Software Asset Management.
The management of software assets! All of the above are by products of SAM.
First of all, you have to accept that software is an asset. A piece of software whether it is the multi million pound ERP platform or the ‘free’(nothing is truly free) download development tool. They are assets to your business. They keep the business running on a day to day basis. They can improve your bottom line and company efficiency or vice versa, harm your bottom line and efficiency if they don’t work.
So SAM is about knowing what software you have within your business, it is about understanding what the functionality of the product is, what product family does it belong to, what version is it, when does it go end of life, who manufactured it?
It is about knowing any and all associated information such as, where is the software installed? Does it run on Windows, Unix, Linux, Mac? Is it on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, server? Are they physical, virtual, in the cloud?
It is about capturing financial and entitlement information. What are the terms and conditions of the contract, when does it expiry? What are the agreed metrics by which you are measured for compliance? What is the cost of the product license? What is the cost to maintain it?
It is about understanding how the software is used? By whom, how, when, where? It is about what influence business requirements have on how the software is used, whether the requirements are regulatory or internal policies and procedures, it is about understanding and visualising the trend.
Does that mean you can just capture all of the above and stick them into a database/spreadsheet and run your own algorithms on the data? Sure you can but using tools such as Snow License Manager where a lot of the hard work has already been done, you will get to your compliance answers and or optimization answers a lot quicker.
A platform like Snow License Manager already has the intelligence that tells you whether software has not been used, what product family it belongs to, what metrics you need to apply for compliance, whether you are entitled to upgrades or downgrades based on contracts, when software is nearing end of support or end of life.
To go back to the original question, what is SAM all about?
It is about control, it is about collecting all relevant information about the assets, to then analyse said information. Enabling you to provide a compliance position, to help you optimize your software spend, to provide you with regulatory information(GDPR), to alert you to exceptions, to catch vulnerabilities before they become a problem, to help you run and control your business.