The status of SAM: the vision of IT Manager Niels Wijbrandts

SAM interview

Software is becoming increasingly important to organizations and therefore managing software is as well. How do organizations cope with this? And how is software asset management (SAM) perceived by people with different job roles and responsibilities? To map out where SAM stands in 2018, over the next few months professionals from the field will take turns discussing this topic. In this article: Niels Wijbrandts, IT Manager at an international company with 3,000 employees.

Niels, what do you do exactly as IT Manager?

‘My job, and that of my team, is to deliver support and services to all 3,000 employees in 21 countries and ensure they have the means to do their job optimally. My belief is that the IT services we deliver should be seamless and meet business requirements.  At many traditional companies you still see that IT is a decision maker rather than a business partner. We have moved to an agile delivery of IT services meeting business requirements and overall company objectives.’

How did you do that?

‘An important step was the centralization of our infrastructure and to leverage the cloud by searching for Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that suit us better in terms of functionality and reducing the requirement to have on premises infrastructure. This direction has delivered results in multiple areas. For example, my team no longer has to procure hardware, configure, install and maintain servers or manage software servers. As a result, we have more room to focus on delivering services to our colleagues. While every couple of years we benchmark our IT organization, moving towards SaaS solutions allowed IT to gain better insights in our cost-per-user that is now moving below the market standard whereas five years ago we were above market.’

How did you lower IT costs and what role did software asset management play in this?

‘Within the IT organization a dedicated vendor management position was created with the focus to support IT procurements and manage contracts. Responsibilities include managing the IT budget and cost control, managing all vendor relationships and procurements of hardware and software licensing. Having a dedicated vendor manager within the IT organization that understands and speaks IT language, has a deeper understanding of contracts and software licensing models, and with great negotiation skills is a true value for your organization. Fortunately, that is the case at the current company I’m working at. This is allowing us to keep track of software licenses and by moving more to SaaS subscription models it’s easier to gain insights in use and costs.’

What are the main advantages of software asset management for you?

‘As far as I’m concerned, the goal of SAM is to get a grip on the costs and to understand software use within your organization. Additionally, it allows you to manage software licenses in a dynamic workforce environment. On the flip side you can better forecast budget needs. The real advantage is the centralization of procurement and management of the software needs resulting in the ability to cross charge costs to specific departments. Making the shift possible to represent cost per business unit.’

What challenges do you encounter in the SAM area?

‘The development of the software industry moving towards SaaS solutions, generally easily available solutions either through subscription models or in-software purchases, requires a different control. With a swipe of your company credit card you are up and running within minutes, one of the new challenges of SaaS. In general, managing software is much easier with SaaS providing you with more insights. That does not take away the difficulties to manage the individual procurement possibilities. In terms of the costs this does not compare to the enterprise-wide used software, but you want to know what exactly is used and what are the conditions of use. A whole new aspect is introduced because these SaaS solutions often offer the ability to store data on their platform. How secure is your data? Who has access to it and what are the terms and conditions? This is all part of the larger IT initiative that includes managing our software licensing.’

This article was also published on Computable.

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This article was published on 19-02-2019