The Software Asset Management Silver Bullet

Myths of Software Asset Management

Although organizations are beginning to better understand the value of Software Asset Management (SAM), there are still several common misconceptions behind a truly effective SAM practice. SAM is a practice that takes time to implement and should be viewed as a journey rather than a sprint. This is not a quick win, but a long-term solution that will reap rewards in every aspect of your business. As such, the process framework must exist for any tool or application to be successfully implemented. 

The right approach to SAM can level-set expectations and help organizations understand that this is a resource discipline that leverages applications and tools; but cannot be solved by these tools alone.

SAM feeds critical software data to the enterprise with digital workflows. Many organizations find the next “best tool” and rush to purchase it without establishing a governance process framework and developing a strategy. This leads to a perception of tool inadequacy, and the tool/application falls out of use. Over time, the next “best tool” is purchased to replace the existing application and the cycle starts again. The benefits of SAM cannot be realized in this way, which is why a comprehensive understanding of the process is necessary if you wish to bring your organization into the future.

The solution is simple yet difficult in practice.

SAM needs to be established in an organization as a process framework with dedicated resources assigned to manage and operate the process. Click To Tweet

Expectations need to be set, and stakeholders aligned early and often to ensure that the “what” and “how” of SAM is clear. After the process is established, the tool which best delivers the process experience should be deployed with configurations to match the process flow and activities where appropriate. 

A strategy of where the organization will start, which software titles or publishers, should be pursued prior to handling any data to ensure that it is understood what value is being returned. The recommended starting point is the organization’s top three software titles based on spend, or the top three software titles based on volume (installations). The strategy should contain milestones that define time scales for refinement of these top software titles or publishers. Once the time scale has ended, a retrospective should be done to determine progress. The progress should be shared and the next elements of the strategy that looks forward 18-24 months should be created, agreed upon, and deployed for the next series of software titles or publishers; again, based on spend or volume. 

Realistic expectations of the SAM process and tools must be used to enact the process. This ensures that a reasonable timeline for realizing ROI is understood up front.

Once a successful SAM process framework is developed and deployed, this will allow for downstream maturity processes such as application portfolio management (APM) to occur organically.

APM consumes information from the SAM process based on what is owned and installed in the organization’s environments. Data from SAM can also be leveraged across governance, risk, and compliance security practices for areas such as software vulnerabilities, development of software blacklists, and refinement of security policies as they relate to software. 

While solid SAM practices can get your organization to compliance, there is no silver bullet tool or application that will deliver immediate and sustained compliance positions, true-up costs and management of software in an enterprise – this can only be accomplished by a consistent practice. Through proper leverage of the fundamentals of SAM, Cask can help your organization realize long-term benefits and help you be better suited to manage your software portfolio for years to come.

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