Apr 20, 2017

Smart SAM Strategies for Cloud

Gartner estimates that by 2020, the “cloud shift” will affect more than $1 Trillion in IT spending.

In order to better understand what organizations are doing in terms of their software asset management (SAM) strategy for managing cloud products and licenses, Aspera and we.CONECT surveyed companies about their use of cloud products in February 2017.

In addition to learning how enterprises currently approach cloud and SAM, we also want to know what changes they anticipate in the future - and how they envision their approach shifting over time.

The online survey included 17 questions designed to gauge cloud management strategies. The 57 respondents represented key decision-makers and experts in the following areas: SAM, SLM, IT Procurement, IT Service Management, IT Operations, IT Compliance, and IT Service.

Read the full 2017 Cloud Survey

Cloud is growing – time to catch up!

At this point in the game, it’s no surprise that 75% of respondents reported using cloud services. However, only 12% say that cloud is “fully integrated” into their IT structure (see chart, right).

This means that although cloud adoption is racing forward, ITSM needs to ensure that processes are properly in place to manage cloud products so that potential challenges and financial risks can be proactively anticipated and mitigated. A SAM solution can help by reporting on usage so managers can cross-check billing from providers and also optimize licenses e.g. by reporting on inactive accounts that can be removed.

SaaS leads cloud

Software as a Service (SaaS) products lead the way for overall cloud adoption, with Microsoft Azure, Adobe and Microsoft Office at the head of the pack. Nearly three-quarters (72%) said they plan on integrating more cloud products over the next 12 months. And it looks like SaaS products will continue to lead in cloud adoption as 41% and 31% respectively anticipate utilizing Microsoft Azure and Office 365 over the next year (see chart, left).

Cloud management needs improvement

According to our survey, only 33% of organizations have implemented established or defined processes and policies for managing cloud products. Even more alarming, only 7% of those who have policies established rate their procedures as clear and efficient.

And who is managing these cloud products? Our results report that managing cloud services remains mainly an IT responsibility. Only 14% have tasked their SAM program with cloud management. Despite the fact that the majority of IT departments currently manage cloud services, over two-thirds (81%) of respondents do involve their SAM teams. And of those who don’t yet have SAM involved, 72% plan to do so within the next 12 months (see chart, right)

Read the full 2017 Cloud Survey

SAM is crucial for cloud services

Bridging the gap between software asset management and cloud services is crucial. One of the biggest risks in cloud licensing is over-consumption, which is essentially using more than you budgeted for. The complex tangle of consumption-driven metrics like “per use” and “per CPU hour” can carry enormous, unexpected cost increases for your budget.

License user optimization is another key driver to involve SAM in cloud service management. Cloud takes user license complexity to a whole new level. With issues such as unapproved and untracked services, hybrid use, obsolete accounts, third-party access, and instance utilization monitoring, organizations will need to involve SAM in cloud management in order to effectively control costs and maintain order. Since C-level executives identify over-spending as a driving factor for software asset management, the absence of proper management for cloud products can cause enormous cost risk.

Additionally, IT Departments often struggle to keep up with the demands caused by business segments who may independently move bits of their own architecture to the cloud. This leaves IT Departments in the position of stitching all the elements back together again. SAM Teams can support IT by accounting for rogue Office 365 contracts and modeling Hybrid Use Rights.

How SAM Teams support cloud management today

According to results, the SAM team’s primary focus is managing cloud contracts (69%), followed by administering accounts (61%) and license handling (61%). Despite the opportunity for SAM to easily increase savings on cloud licensing, less than half (47%) of the SAM teams currently manage cloud costs.

Organizations may also miss out on analyzing potentially cost-saving cloud data. 56% of the respondents report that they don’t currently export data from their cloud portals, although 21% of those keenly plan to access that data in the future. Understanding that they are losing a savings opportunity by not exporting cloud data, these respondents cite usage information (89%), user data (78%) and procurement data (78%) as top goals for future collection as their cloud management programs mature (see chart, left).

The future looks bright for cloud

As cloud products continue to expand across the IT landscape, proper management is essential. A dedicated software asset management platform like Aspera SmartTrack is built to handle the unique challenges that cloud services bring to an organization. Other ITSM or Procurement systems simply aren’t built to handle the complex demands of cloud license and cost management. Not implementing the correct tool for cloud product management can be an expensive miscalculation of resources.

From the above chart, it’s evident that our survey respondents appear to recognize the agility that a true SAM platform offers for managing cloud services. A third (33%) report that they’ve implemented or plan to implement the management of cloud-based solutions into their software asset management platform.

If you need assistance in managing your cloud services, our experienced, global Aspera Team is here to work with you. Wherever you are in your SAM journey, Aspera offers expert resources that help you reach your own strategic SAM!

Topics: Cloud, License Optimization, SAM Insights