Oct 20, 2020

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing a Software Asset Management Tool

Software Asset Management was introduced to me many years ago when a dear friend explained:

“Software Asset Management can be a complicated matter, and people that are smart enough for dealing with it are also usually smart enough to keep their hands off the subject.”

Mistakes to avoid when implementing Software Asset Management Tool | Aspera blog

With more than a decade of SAM experience under my belt, I can certainly say that Software Asset Management is a field where even the most experienced IT asset managers can learn new things pretty much every day.

The truth behind software asset management tools

But didn’t you know that there are software asset management tools out there that do it all for you? If you get one of these tools, you’re pretty much done with your work. Buy it, hook it up to some of your internal data sources, capture contracts and entitlements and you’re done, right?

Wrong!

This article details the top 5 common mistakes that buyers encounter when implementing a SAM tool:

1. Installing a software asset management tool is all it takes.

Well, as the saying goes: “a fool with a tool is still a fool!” This is not meant as an insult, dear reader, but rather as a provocative way to emphasize that ALL Software Asset Management solutions are – by their very nature – garbage in / garbage out systems. They take what you throw at them, normalize data (if possible) and provide transparency and clarity based on the imported data.

If the data basis is insufficient, how can the result possibly be accurate? That’s why a SAM tool can never be the one silver bullet, unless you feed perfect data into it. So, don’t overestimate the benefit a SAM tool can bring to your organization beyond automation, normalization, license-rule application and, hopefully, optimization. Clean data is critical for a successful SAM program.

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2. Focusing only on what licenses you need.

Too often, conversations tend to happen around where to get what kind of hardware data, installed software titles and perhaps which users are eligible to access applications through the likes of Citrix. Oh, and the cloud – of course. But this only gives you half the picture.

Software license management is a delicate balance of software usage and entitlement data. Would you consider only looking at what you’ve got in terms of licenses? I don’t think so. So why would you consider looking only at what you need? You need both to make informed decisions.

3. Underestimating the work required to build a solid foundation for your license inventory.

Do you know the feeling when climbing a staircase and it’s always one flight more than you think? Well, it’s the same with building your entitlement history. Obviously, today’s subscription licenses work differently, but we aren’t yet at a place where everything is subscription-based.

Keep in mind that you might have to prove you bought a Windows NT 3.5 license back in 1995 and for the past 20+ years you diligently paid maintenance. That’s why you have the right to run a brand-new Windows Server 2019 today. Yes, it is common industry knowledge that in a software compliance audit, auditors won’t make you crawl through the basement of your office building digging up half-rotten boxes with license-certificates stuck to them. But for all I know, they could. So it’s important to maintain accurate records of your license purchases.

4. Trying to boil the ocean.

As we all know, the saying goes: “kill two birds with one stone”, not “kill 100 software vendors with one SAM project”. So start with a scope, and don’t put too much on your plate. Aim for success and prove to your stakeholders that you’re going into the right direction.

Look at your software spend and determine which vendors represent the biggest financial aspect, then target two of them at first. Then extend this to five, then ten, etc. They are not all the same. For example, gathering the SAM relevant data for Microsoft is different from Oracle or IBM. A good strategy is to shoot for one vendor and knock others off the list as you go. So, come up with a plan on what you want to accomplish and follow through step by step.

5. Changing your objectives mid-project.

One way to successfully prevent improvement from happening is to lose patience and divert from the original plan. Adjust the next steps but stick to your current goals. And have a roadmap – mid-term as well as long-term. Only if you regularly measure your actions against a vision/strategy you can ensure to accomplish the right things with Software Asset Management.

Software Asset Management Guide

Want to make better licensing decisions that lower your company's software costs by 30%? This SAM Program Guide gets you started.

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Topics: SAM 101, SAM Education, SmartTrack