Jun 25, 2018

Whether You Like It Or Not, Your SAM Role Just Became More High-Profile

Can you remember a time in the not-too-distant past, when anyone on the fringes of Software Asset Management with a keyboard was proclaiming that the end is near for SAM? Fast forward to more recent times, and the blind faith that we would entrust to telecoms providers for getting our mobile phone bills correct, has not bolstered the relationships between software vendors and software consumers.

Re-focusing SAM in the cloud

Cloud adoption has been used as a carrot to avoid the stick of large non-compliant software audits, and new releases of software are now starting to ship in cloud-only versions. So as products go end of life / end of technical support, your business is not so much choosing cloud-based software, as they are being steered in that direction.

If your company has decided to go to the cloud, then the operational management of that service (because you aren’t truly managing software any more) requires an adjustment in mind-set from managing more traditional on-site software. Your Software Asset Management System (the right blend of people, processes and technology) will still have the same high-level objectives, but the manner of life-cycle management will be altered quite significantly in your approach to Cloud Software Asset Management.

SaaS Software Asset Management White Paper

First off, support and maintenance of the software / service would come from the as-a-service provider, whereas formally, you might have relied upon a service desk to resolve / work some of the technical calls logged. Does your as-a-service contract have break-fix resolution times in?

Secondly, does the as-a-service link with your existing Software Asset Management suite? You might argue that the as-a-service provider is already capable of providing weekly/monthly/quarterly consumption reports for the service, but can that consumption then be measured against actual usage?

How SAM cuts your cloud software costs

And this is where SAM has to step up its game – those monthly / quarterly reports are going to come with bills; not something that on-site software previously did to the business: previously, annual true-ups or contract renewals and negotiations could see companies lurch and stagger from an annual / contract payment, and then tolerate a trickle charge for any additional purchases under the afore-mentioned contract.

If SAM is to compete effectively with the culture shock that as-a-service can bring to commerce, then being able to right-size those services on a monthly basis is going to require the SAM team to get agile.

Do you recycle software services? Does non-use after 30 days result in a denial of service to a user who hasn’t been near a given application? Does the SAM function ensure that those who are using the service, have the right level of access through the licence they are assigned? This persistent “trimming of the sails” is going to become the new normal if businesses wish to sweat the services they have invested in.

SAM leads our digital transformation

Spookily enough, this may be the time where we take a page out of the Configuration Management book. If a CMDB design aligns Business Demand, to an IT Service, and then an IT Service to appropriate technologies, then identifying which technologies are not supporting those IT services could place them on a hit-list for removal / re-sale.

So, while we might view digital transformation as a SAM headache, it also provides businesses with the option to view this scenario as a chance to “spring-clean” their IT estate.

Being in Software Asset Management, one could be forgiven for thinking you’ve become part of the Bad News Brigade, not least if SAM is viewed as a Governance / Reporting-only function within your company. However, with Monthly / Quarterly invoices arriving for new services that will inevitably appear on Profit & Loss sheets, the drive for SAM to stand up and be counted has never been louder – or in greater need.

SaaS Software Asset Management White Paper

Topics: Cloud, SAM Insights