America Needs An Education On Software Asset Management (SAM)

I recently had the privilege of attending (and co-sponsoring) the IBSMA SAM Summit in Chicago with some colleagues. It was a fantastic event with great sessions, a wonderful format and venue and amazing networking opportunities.   Representatives were in attendance from all of the major software vendors and many tool companies, alongside SAM consultancies like TxMQ.
What I noticed right away, though, was the skewed attendance. It’s wonderful seeing so many foreign firms travel thousands of miles to attend a conference in the US, but I’m really surprised by the lack of American and Canadian firms in attendance.
I have a theory I’ve been forwarding on why. Like many of my theories, this one’s based on a limited sampling of statistically insignificant data sets. So please give me a lump or two of salt for starters.
First, some contextual background: It’s clear to any informed American that we, as a nation, excel at many things. We eat well, spend well, vacation well, enjoy the finer things in life when we can afford them (and oftentimes when we cannot), and we love kicking problems down the road. Denial is more than an art form. It’s a social science.
Social Security reform? Not my problem – let future generations deal with it.   National debt? Please. My kids and grandkids can pay that off. The environment? Fossil-fuel consumption? Hardly seems to be an issue for my generation.
And US management is too often focused on putting out fires, instead of building fireproof things. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see so few American firms interested in understanding and investing in compliance improvement and best practices.
We must work to change the culture of America at a macro level, that much is clear. But we can all work today to change the culture of our workplaces to embrace SAM and declare it a must-do effort – not a future “nice to do if we get audited” thing.
Software Asset Management should NOT be undertaken as an audit-defense practice, but as a part of an overall corporate strategic leadership. Corporate best practice should be to have a tightly integrated leadership organization that includes a SAM leader alongside corporate-compliance officers, security officers and financial overseers.
From software-renewal-agreement negotiations to better alignment between software usage and needs, SAM brings tremendous goodness to organizations.
I’ve written separately on much of the value of SAM, as have many others, so I won’t get into a deep-dive here. But I will say again that a well-run company, with a solid SAM program, delivers greater value to its shareholders by:

  • Minimizing waste (like unused software and entitlements)
  • Maximizing efficiency (by limiting the wasted time replatforming out-of-compliance software or applications)
  • Creating a more positive environment for stakeholders (there’s less stress and worry because there’s less uncertainty and confusion around assets and their allocation or disposition)

Let’s all do our part to help educate our workplaces on SAM as a necessary part of corporate governance and leadership. I’m ready to start the conversation: mailto:[email protected].

The Difference Between Software Asset Management & Software Asset Managed Services

Do you need SAM or SAMS? The distinction’s important.
SAM is Software Asset Management – a big-brush, cost-control effort that typically describes internal efforts to optimize the software investment. Every business needs SAM.
SAMS is Software Asset Managed Services – a more intensive effort that involves the hiring of outside consultants to document, manage and optimize the software investment. SAMS delivers an impartial eye to the enterprise software stack and relieves licensing and regulatory burdens from internal teams. At the same time, SAMS is built to scale so the consultants can smoothly assume a growing management responsibility for the environment. Internal teams are further unburdened from the day-to-day environment problems and are free to focus on business development, new applications, creative solutions and continuous improvement.
Is SAMS right for your business? If you struggle to implement SAM, or if the cost of maintaining your environment is spiraling out of control, then you probably need SAMS.
Assess Your Assets
You need to know what’s running on your stuff. It’s just that simple. But the quest to find the answers can be surprisingly difficult. Some software’s inactive but still deployed. Employees may have downloaded unlicensed copies to fight a vital fire. Auto-renewal payments for licenses may be festering on a former accountant’s laptop.
The effort to control and optimize your software investment starts with wanting to know what you don’t know. TxMQ utilizes the following workflow in its Software Asset Management (SAM) business line. It’s also the initial stage of its Software Asset Managed Services (SAMS) program.
Step 1: Enterprise Discovery
Your business needs to know exactly how many servers are in use. Are the servers spread out geographically? Internationally? What software is deployed? Is it active or legacy? Is it single-sourced? Mixed? Open-source? How sophisticated is security? Is there a single sign-on for the software? What’s the server-level security? How do employees access the servers? What’s the nature of the business?
Step 2: Document The Software
This step determines exactly what software is installed on the servers, the versions, at what levels, how many instances, and how many seats?
Step 3: Determine The SAM Products To Install
Is the goal to manage the assets, or simply audit them? The choice of SAM products and tools is important.
Step 4: Determine Audit Level
Does the enterprise what to perform a simple audit, or a complete audit that includes update histories, patching and software-lifecycle analysis.
Step 5: Develop Reporting Process
Are there limitations to the audit? Who prepares the report? Who sees it?
TxMQ specializes in middleware management and application integration. Licensing is a huge part of our business. We can help. Call or email now for a free, confidential consultation. Reach us before the auditors reach you!
Photo by Daniel Iversen