How to start managing your software assets 

B-lay provides SAM

The software asset management (SAM) practice is gaining traction in today’s world.  Many organizations are making efforts to incorporate it into their processes. Recent researches show a significant market growth of the software asset management in the last 2 years. It seems it doesn’t stop there, but it’s also a future trend (Globe Newswire). But what is SAM exactly and how can it help you?

According to ITIL, SAM represents “all of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets, throughout all stages of their lifecycle”. Why is SAM important for you? The ultimate purpose of implementing SAM is to reduce the costs of software and the compliance risks that come with owning and using software assets.

In this article we will give you some advice on how to use SAM effectively and the best practices tested for a smooth starting point in your SAM journey. Whether you work in a large organization, with many different software in use, or a small start-up with only a few licenses, these tips will apply in both situations. They can simply be customized based on your specific needs. So, let’s begin!

Top 6 tips for effective SAM

Determine your software usage and future needs

This is the most important step, as having a solid base is essential for a healthy SAM process. Start by making an inventory of the software in-house. Think what software you have, what you use more often, the people who use it and the devices it is installed on. This will help you to understand your situation and it might give you insight into possible cost saving opportunities. Then, you can begin to think long-term. Now that you know where you stand, you can make a plan for the future. What software do you still need from what you already have? What new software you need to purchase? Do you need to license everything? When you’re developing this plan, it’s good to keep in mind your business goals as well. Why? Because, most probably, your company will grow – either in number of employees or in terms of products and services you’re offering – and this may affect your software usage. Planning ahead can save a lot of time and money. Do your homework and you will avoid headaches in the future.

Keep track of all your license purchases

Buying software is generally easy, remembering what you bought is often challenging. More often than not, when you purchase a software license, it comes together with an agreement – basically, the document(s) stating how you’re entitled to use the software. If you want to make sure that you are at all times compliant, keeping track of your licenses is a crucial step. The number of purchased licenses should correspond to the number of installed software licenses – if the employees have the liberty to download anything on their computer, you might be faced with situations when they download unlicensed software. So, make sure that you have all the order documents and agreements in place. To determine the status of your licenses and get an accurate overview, we can help you with an entitlement analysis in which we will study all your contractual documents to ensure that you know exactly what you have purchased against which terms and conditions.

Clean up and organize your licenses usage

Make sure you don’t have software that you don’t need! This tip is directly connected to the previous one and also closely related to the first one. Once you’ve created the overview of your software programs and licenses, you should have a clear understanding of what is used and what not. Now you can start cleaning up what you don’t need and organize everything you’re using to avoid finding yourself in similar situations in the future. How can you do that? For example, you can make an inventory of all your systems and use discovery tools or you can just ask the assistance of a consultancy company that can make a license deployment & usage analysis of your installed software. Once you discover that you have software you don’t need or use, it’s easier to find a proper way to save some costs.

Monitor software usage

The software licenses and usage need to be updated constantly to see clearly if you are over- or under-licensed. Some organizations use SAM tools for this, but keep in mind that you will also need some specialized knowledge to be able to manage the system properly. For this, we can offer ongoing support with your license management and give you useful insight into usage. Find more details about this here!

Make sure you are compliant

Being compliant is the ideal situation. Compliance means to make sure that the software purchases, agreements and support are aligned with the software usage. The previous tips can help you manage your compliance effectively, but nonetheless this can be a difficult process to be performed internally. You should also keep in mind that achieving compliance is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process.

On top of that, an organization goes though different stages and changes during its lifetime. From experience, most of the times these changes can happen so fast, that the license management system you have cannot keep up with. So, the challenge here is not necessary to be compliant, but to keep the information updated periodically. If sometimes you have the impression that things are out of control, we recommend you to perform a compliance gap analysis at least once a year to manage compliance and financial risks.

Prepare for software audits

Software audits can be a real pain for any organization, and they come with various costs and extra pressure for all involved. The first thing you can do is to follow the previous tips. This way you’ll make sure that you have a strong software management system that will assure your control and peace of mind when the audit letter arrives. A software audit can occur almost every year, depending on the vendor, so proactive measures can keep you safe. However, sometimes you will need some extra help and it’s important to have somebody on your side that can find solutions and advise you during the audit process. Asking for help to create an audit strategy, have an internal audit and get support during the negotiations is a great way to save time and money.

How we can help you

All of the above are general tips that can help any organization master their licenses and keep out of potential risks associated with usage and costs. Managing your software assets can be easy and effective when you know the right steps and the right people who can support you. We can help you manage your licenses, be proactive and aware of any non-compliance risks. And more importantly, we’ll help you solve any issues that may come up during a software audit. Reach out to us for any questions or concerns and we’re more than happy to assist you!

This article was published on 16-01-2020