The status of SAM: this is how Atos does it

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 2019, over the next few months professionals from the field will take turns discussing this topic. In this article: John van Bemmelen, practice manager at Atos.

John, what can you tell us about Atos and your role in the organization?

Atos is a global leader in digital services, with more than 100,000 employees in 73 countries. We support organizations around the world with our services in digital transformation, IT infrastructure, data management, security and software implementation. Some companies have outsourced the majority of their IT activities to Atos. As a practice manager, I am responsible for the IT infrastructure of a number of large, international clients and I ensure that it optimally meets the business needs of these companies.

From your experience with IT landscapes of multinationals: what role do SAM and software compliance currently play at these enterprises?

You clearly see that this area is getting more and more attention, especially now that many companies are in the middle of a digital transformation. Entire business processes often still run on old enterprise software from Oracle, IBM or Microsoft, while they also innovate and experiment with new cloud services. The danger is that you can lose sight of the big picture. SAM is extremely instrumental for that. With IT budgets of hundreds of millions of euros the least you need is a coherent overview of your entire IT landscape. Contracts, whether they are licenses or subscriptions, form the basis for that. Integrating new cloud services with existing enterprise software involves certain rules from software suppliers. You simply cannot ignore that. I therefore expect that software asset management and software compliance will become a standard part of the IT strategy of organizations in the coming years. It needs to be if you want to have control over your spending, software use and security.

How do you ensure that SAM is successful at such large companies?

Apart from setting up a clear software contract administration, companies must realize that software asset management is an ongoing process. You cannot just check once a year if everything is going well. Compliance starts at the drawing board. When developing and implementing new applications, you must immediately take into account the rules that software suppliers impose. If you do this accurately right away, it will save you a lot of time, money and effort later on. It is important to make architects and engineers aware of this. Taking compliance into account is not a natural reflex for them: they prefer to look at technical benefits rather than legal agreements.

What role do you, as IT service provider and outsourcing party, play in such a SAM process?

Our role is subject to change due to the developments outlined above. Although the responsibility for meeting the agreements with software suppliers contractually lies with end users, software asset management and software compliance are increasingly coming our way. For example, we have just completed a number of projects where all software has been directly deployed in accordance with Oracle’s conditions and policies. I also think that large IT service providers such as Atos have to take that responsibility. Our goal is to offer added value to our customers with our complete IT services offering and that definitely includes SAM. It simply makes our service more complete.


This article was also published on Computable.

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This article was published on 09-04-2019