Software Asset Management(SAM) – is it an IT function or a Procurement function?
SAM is one of those awkward business functions that has a place in lots of different areas. In my many years of experience in the SAM space I have known the SAM function, although sometimes function is a rather grand description, to be part of IT, Procurement even the Facilities departments.
So is there one place for SAM? No not really, the fact that Software Asset Management covers such a wide range of disciplines makes it one of the business functions that can be in Procurement, IT or even governance depending on the organization’s focus. If anything I believe the SAM function should be made up of a conglomerate of people from multiple parts of the organization. All managed by and overseen by a SAM Manager and processes. (I would of advocate the use of a splendid platform such as Snow License Manager to keep the data central, automate the tedious and sometimes complex tasks such as software recognition, bundling, compliance reporting and optimization)
Rory Canavan recently released version 2 of his process kit in which he has identified and detailed 22 processes(it might even be 23 by now) that deal with or are impacted by decisions made from SAM data. The process kit also highlights that business functions such as HR, Contract Management, Security can and should place a high degree of importance on SAM data.
As Rory puts it nicely in the kit, you may have the tools and the people, without the processes to govern the policies and data you might as well describe your SAM function as “The Bermuda Triangle of SAM”.
The same can be said about the function itself. Business As Usual (“BAU”) for the SAM function requires input from a multitude of people from different departments. Some of these input range from a simple authorization step for a software request to a complex contract negotiation. Even HR should get involved in analyzing the data being captured by your SAM tool. Decisions whether people are accessing software they shouldn’t to analyzing software usage patterns to identify training requirements.
By spreading the tasks and responsibilities to their relative departments and roles and making them BAU steps the whole of the SAM capabilities within the organization is elevated to a maturity where optimization of software products and licenses becomes a given.