Are You Missing a Critical Piece of Your SAM Puzzle?

Over the last few years, Software Asset Management (SAM) has become an increasingly important strategy for businesses. At the heart of this change is the economic pressure placed on budgets by digital transformation and mass migration to the cloud, as well as an increase in number of software license audits conducted by software vendors.

Critical piece of your SAM puzzle: C-Level support

Software Asset Management reduces and optimizes your company’s software spend, and provides tools and data to efficiently manage software compliance audits and contract negotiations.

Controlling and automating the software license purchase, use, deployment, and software license optimization is an essential business goal. Software Asset Management roles and teams have been established in IT departments to ensure the effective management of software assets.

However, Software Asset Management is a process that involves several actors within companies – and without C-suite support, your SAM success is at risk.

Software Asset Management is a team sport

Software Asset Management is a team sport, requiring the support of the IT, procurement, legal and finance departments to be truly efficient and to achieve control of software licenses. While it’s important to define the organizational structure, objectives, and to create an action plan, these decisive steps won’t guarantee success. If the SAM team is isolated and doesn’t have the resources required to carry out its mission, it will fail.

To be successful and to raise SAM awareness in the organization, Software Asset Management must be fully integrated into the company's strategy, involving the highest levels of management. The CIO, CFO and CSO must provide strong executive level support for the Software Asset Management business case strategy and ensure visibility for the Software Asset Management project.

There’s no ‘I’ in Software Asset Management

The first step in a successful SAM project is to identify your stakeholders. These include any person or department whose goals are even slightly impacted by good software license management.

It’s not always easy to find your stakeholders, but some best practices include:

  • monitoring the lifecycle of your software licenses
  • defining software-related business needs
  • determining acquisition, availability and deployment processes
  • identifying managers of the main applications and budgets involved
  • setting up risk management processes
  • integrating information services security

Answer these essential SAM questions, and you should have a pretty complete list of the main stakeholders in your project.

Software Asset Management at the C-Suite

With full C-level support and regular communication, SAM manager(s) will convince the organization of the value of Software Asset Management, allowing them to fully implement their strategy with the support of stakeholder teams.

SAM requires big changes, so management buy-in is essential. If SAM is perceived to be unimportant or if the necessary changes are met with resistance, progress will be all but impossible. The C-suite must reaffirm the importance of the Software Asset Management project, so that the team’s efforts aren’t wasted.

How to involve your SAM stakeholders

To increase internal support for the project, the Software Asset Management team should identify the goals and values it shares with the rest of the company.

For instance, for the legal and procurement departments, the SAM team is committed to:

  • centralizing contractual documents
  • improving software contract management (anticipation of renewals, termination of unused licenses, optimization of renegotiations in accordance with usage)
  • implementing a clear software license audit management process

Like the IT teams, the SAM team wants to better manage and automate the deployment and reallocation of licenses and help build a complete overview of the company’s software licenses.

In cooperation with finance and IT, the SAM team will help:

  • develop the software budget
  • determine compliance risks

With just these few examples, you can see that to promote the SAM project and increase efficiency, the SAM manager needs to show how Software Asset Management supports the different goals and needs of the company.

Ultimately, SAM will reduce costs and optimize budgets, a primary concern for any business, and a concern that’s shared by all the company's stakeholders. And in any case, no employee is going to make a change or commit extra effort if they can’t readily see the benefits.

A SAM project will only be successful if the Software Asset Management business case is clear, and all the stakeholders understand how SAM success contributes to their projects and goals.

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How to focus your SAM stakeholders

To get a complete picture of the value of Software Asset Management for a company and to help ensure stakeholder collaboration, executive sponsors should focus on these three significant SAM challenges:

  1. Data quality
  2. The cloud
  3. Software license audits

1. Data quality

High quality and reliable data are the cornerstones of successful software license management. Poor data quality will lead to biased results, unexpected financial risks during audits, and decisions that are out of step with the real needs of the company. Your stakeholders play a significant role here, as you can only get good data with the support of the teams that can provide access to the data sources.

2. The cloud

When migrating to the cloud or acquiring and implementing cloud solutions, Cloud Software Asset Management and cloud optimization software must play a key part in the digital transformation strategy.

With SAM driving the cloud strategy, IT managers can project usage and need, simulate hybrid solution scenarios (on-premises and IaaS/PaaS), and optimize SaaS application usage. Real time and automated cloud cost optimization and cloud cost management enables companies to get the most out of their cloud solutions and environments. They will be better positioned to anticipate the growth of IT resources and cloud app subscriptions as well as the growing costs. SAM must be anchored in a governance strategy for all applications, regardless of the IT infrastructure.

3. Software license audits

Software compliance audits can represent a significant financial risk to a company – especially because they eat up significant resources and require significant stakeholder buy-in. This means that management and the IT director will be better able to control the operational and financial impact of a software license audit by relying on a strong Software Asset Management strategy that produces reliable inventories and usage projections, and clearly identify company needs.

How to engage your SAM stakeholders

Strong governance, clear processes, and active stakeholder engagement are essential to the success of a SAM project. The executive sponsor plays a significant role in guiding and supporting this project, and without support at the highest levels of decision-making, your SAM program will not keep any of its promises.

Use this template to build your Software Asset Management business case

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Topics: SAM Insights