The added value of SAM service providers

The value of software asset management is becoming obvious to more and more companies. Organizations want to have more insight into their complex software landscape and more control over their software expenditure. The growth of SAM service providers, as outlined by Gartner, is a logical consequence of this. But what exactly does such a SAM managed service provider (MSP) do? And why would your IT department not be able to do this itself?

The first tasks of an MSP are mainly of administrative nature. All relevant software data within the organization are gathered – from online agreements to forgotten contracts. This information serves as the basis for the configuration of a SAM tool (such as Flexera, Snow or Landesk). With such a tool, the well-known creed ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies.

This means that hundreds of software contracts, with different metrics and conditions, need to be manually converted to system rules and need to be put into the right category. If this doesn’t happen, you will not measure the actual situation and you will never know if the software consumption in your organization is in line with the contractual requirements of the software vendor.

After laying this administrative basis, the SAM tool continuously shows up-to-date information about the compliance position of your organization. The MSP monitors this information, analyzes the data and provides periodic reports, so that the IT departments can always keep track of the situation and keep it under control. If the use of a certain software product is not in line with the contractual agreements, the MSP will let you know in time to prevent a financial dispute with the software vendor. However, only providing and analyzing such information is not enough – the advisory role of an MSP is at least as important in the eventuality of such a dispute. The service provider can also, based on all the SAM data, advise your IT department on other business decisions, such as the purchase of new software.

The added value of an MSP

‘Can we not simply do this ourselves?’, many IT departments will ask in the first instance. The answer to this question comes pretty quickly: no, actually not. Not if you want to do it right. You also have your financial administration system set up, managed and controlled by trained experts – the same applies to your software administration. For example, to properly measure licenses of Oracle Middleware or Storage products, it is crucial that you understand how these licenses are developed and how the conditions should be set up in the SAM tool. That is not everyday knowledge. The added value of a SAM managed service provider lies therefore in such specialist expertise.

A service provider also has the bandwidth to allocate sufficient resources. The MSP can get fifteen specialists on a project for three months, who can quickly and easily set up the SAM tool – something your IT department simply cannot do itself. Moreover, an efficient SAM MSP is always aware of external events that impact an organization’s compliance position, such as changing conditions or legislations. The information from a SAM tool is not sufficient – the analyses and advice of the MSP ultimately provide the real financial benefits, that can come in the form of cost savings or a prevented claim, for example.

Because they see this added value, more and more organizations now opt for the services of a SAM managed service provider. This growth will only continue, according to Gartner: engaging SAM service providers will increase by 40 percent in three years.

The article is also published in Dutch on Computable.

This article was published on 22-05-2018