Software Asset Management is all about predictability

Software Asset Management (SAM) can bring the most added value to organizations if it’s done proactively. With the large amount of data available within the IT department it becomes much easier to create an extensive degree of predictability. Negative surprises, such as unexpected costs after an audit, can thus be prevented.

Software Asset Management is clearly an expanding field and the associated service sector is also growing fast. I covered this topic in another article: Reliable data – the basis of any SAM activity. Yet, symptom management still is the main practice in many organizations. Only when Oracle or SAP is knocking on their door with an audit letter, they will take action. When that happens, many companies take some emergency measures to keep the costs after the audit as low as possible, but then proceed on the same footsteps, until the next audit is on its way. Some organizations do have a dedicated SAM department and use a SAM tool. But even then, looking back at mistakes made in the past seems more important than a structural improvement of software compliance.

A wealth of data

It can be done differently – and relatively easy as well. Instead of getting insight into what software is installed, used and licensed within an organization afterwards, it is much more beneficial to look ahead. Better to prevent than cure – this statement applies to software compliance as well. The technology nowadays makes that possible.     Many organizations are now working on a digital transformation and are going to work in a data-driven way. Software compliance can nicely complement this. IT departments that actively practice SAM already have access to a wealth of data on their installations, software usage and licenses or subscriptions. Achieving more value from this data is a quick win.

From analysis to predictability

It starts with analyzing the data. Many organizations collaborate with resellers who have a lot of historical information and / or use a SAM tool, such as Snow or Flexera, in which records of installations and software usage are kept. Still, such a tool can be correctly set up, but if you don’t learn from the data that it delivers, you still lack insight into your compliance position and it remains symptom management.

In order to make the right choices in time, you need insight at the right time. First of all to get your software expenses under control, but it gets even more interesting if you combine these data with data from other sources. Think of an amendment, a court ruling or a change in the conditions of, for example, AWS, IBM or Oracle. Such events can have a direct impact on your compliance position and you have to be aware of these events to be able to really look ahead, to create predictability and to prevent unwelcome fines following an audit.

In control

Which software products does the organization spend the most on? Where are the biggest risks? What is the software supplier currently working on? You want to be able to answer these questions at any time, so that you are able to take timely measures in the event of a possible non-compliance situation or to avoid unnecessary expenses. Similarly to a financial administration, you always want to be in control when managing software, with up-to-date information from your own organization and the public domain. You will no longer face surprises. Perhaps not very exciting, but that is precisely the intention: the best SAM approach is predictability.

This article is also published in Dutch on

Mark co-founded B-lay in 2008 and is the company’s managing director since then. Additionally, to his managerial role, Mark is using the extensive software compliance knowledge he gathered since 1997 to help organizations worldwide get insight into the risks associated with using and managing their software licenses, as well as preventing compliance issues and save costs. This is also strongly visible in the Zyncc product line of B-lay. Prior to founding B-lay, he was responsible for all compliance activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa at Oracle. This included building the foundation for what now is the global Oracle License Management Services (LMS) team and onboarding the many acquisitions Oracle made over the years into the compliance program of Oracle.

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Company Economics and IT from Hogeschool Enschede in the Netherlands.