Software Asset Management business case

The Business Case for Software Asset Management

Your step-by-step roadmap to SAM success

Leave your Software Asset Management struggles behind

The path to Software Asset Management (SAM) success can be long and winding. Use this webpage to keep you from getting lost! Get exactly what you need to raise awareness and show decisively the need for Software Asset Management.

Step 1: Choose your challenges

Then write them down. There’s no business need unless there’s a problem to solve or an opportunity to take advantage of. Your first step in making the Software Asset Management business case is identifying the problem or opportunity. Then put it on paper for everyone to see and read!

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Once you’ve identified the challenges and the opportunities, then it’s easier to know:

  • Whom to involve in the process
  • What arguments you need to convince them

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Fulfilling software request is lengthy because finding licenses is manual.
  • Too much time is spent preparing for contract renewals and negotiations.
  • Your company can’t track software costs, create or stick to a budget.
  • Your company needs to prepare for audits better and faster.
  • You don’t understand your licensing enough to negotiate with vendors.
  • You don’t know how to interpret your discovery data.

Or are you looking for more opportunities?

  • Lower software licensing costs.
  • Make your software spend more predictable.
  • Find the best-fit licensing models for your cloud migration.
  • Improve IT service or CMDB data.
  • Make network security air-tight.
  • Get in the driver’s seat to improve vendor relationships.

Step 2: Find your stakeholders

Your stakeholders are anyone in the company who has a direct or strong indirect influence on your budding SAM program. Identifying them can be a challenge. Because the roles and titles can change depending on the organization, it’s impossible to tell you exactly whom to look for. But here’s a few questions to ask yourself to help you find them:

How does your company buy licenses?

Follow the money. As software solutions move into the cloud, procurement moves away from central IT. Wherever money is being spent on software purchasing, you can find a potential SAM stakeholder.

How does your company manage software?

There’s a person or a group of people who are responsible for creating new software accounts, deploying packages, and updating software. Do you have an IT Service Management team or a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) manager? Enterprise architects designing your data center? In one way or another, all these people are involved in software management, and should be included in your list of stakeholders.

Which department are you in?

Is your boss on onboard and willing to spearhead a SAM project? How is your company structured, do you need to get or inform any other senior level decision-makers? Schedule a meeting and present them your documented problems and opportunities from Step 1. Open their eyes and ears to the solution: Software Asset Management.

All stakeholders have something to gain from the Software Asset Management process, even if they can’t immediately see that. And this is why you talk to them.

Do your stakeholders only have eyes for numbers?

Show them the savings Software Asset Management would bring with the SAM savings calculator!

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Step 3: Talk to your stakeholders

Make them your best (SAM) friends. SAM is not a top-down approach. All of your stakeholders will have SAM-related problems, and to develop a comprehensive and effective SAM program, you need to find out what their problems and concerns are.

Talking to them about their issues will help them realize that they already have a nose for SAM, and that a SAM program will help them out.

SAM from your stakeholders’ perspective

Meet with your stakeholders to find out:

  • What challenges they have
  • What goals they are pursuing
  • Where the overlap is to your SAM challenges and opportunities

This will help you:

  • Figure out which stakeholders have the most influence
  • Present the benefits and a SAM solution that is in their best interest
Software asset management business case: SAM from your stakeholder’s perspective

Step 4: Write down real examples

That's how you get a real SAM solution. Case studies and success stories are great. They help you see all the different problems a SAM program can solve, and how it’s done. But you need to define the use cases at your own organization to drive the message home.

If more than one stakeholder has the same problem, then your arguments will likely be more convincing. Describe the problem for everyone to show the need for a solution.

Step 5: Customize your goals

What do you want to do in a perfect world? Everyone wants to save, but that isn’t a concrete goal. The goal is how you are going to save. What will the concrete actions be? Tie your goals directly to the problems you wrote down.

Here are just some of the goals a SAM solution could help your organization achieve:

  • Eliminate unnecessary license purchases
  • Choose more cost-effective contracts
  • Strengthen your negotiating position
  • Clean up inefficient software procurement and allocation processes
  • Re-harvest unused licenses
  • Track software usage for more efficient license deployment
  • Increase security by having complete update and version histories

Risk: The Opposite of Transparency

At one organization, it took on average 2 weeks to fulfill a software request. For each request, central IT checked spreadsheets and contracts to see whether they already had a license for the application.

This often led to unchecked purchases outside of central IT, negatively affected productivity, and created general employee dissatisfaction.

Not having a license management tool meant that the organization was exposed to audit risk, and spent money on licenses which the organization had, but couldn’t find in time.

Step 6: Choose your vendors

Software Asset Management is a journey, not a destination. You’re not going to be able to do everything at once, so focusing on specific vendors is key. But which ones do you start with? Here’s some rules of thumb to help you choose your vendors:

  • Start with the vendor you spend the most on — IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are often at the top of the list.
  • Look at your stakeholders and choose a vendor that leads to direct benefits for them
  • Is a larger project coming up like migrating to a new version?
  • Do you have an upcoming contract renewal with a major vendor?
  • Are there vendors whose complex licensing metrics or contracts make it especially hard to ensure compliance and create a license overview?

Knowing which vendors to start with will also help to define the scope of your SAM project and help you to choose concrete and actionable goals. This will put you — and your stakeholders — on the way to SAM success.

Illustrate the problem. Get all of the details including any relevant reports, invoices, and anything else that might bolster your case.

1. Find and talk to your stakeholders:

The Software Asset Manager at an engineering company met with the CAD Manager to talk about AutoCAD, which the company heavily relied on. What came out of the meeting was eye opening for both parties:

Stakeholder challenge: Depending on project size, the CAD Manager needed AutoCAD for multiple users at once, across multiple sites. Sometimes there weren’t enough licenses available, and users had to wait to get approval to buy more. This affected productivity and often forced individual locations to buy new licenses outside of protocol, which also affected the project budget.

2. Write down real examples:

The Software Asset Manager asked the different sites about their license purchases and found 1200 licenses. What’s more, this was double the peak number of AutoCAD users the company had on any given project. With maintenance and support tied to these licenses, the company was also paying a fee to own them.

3. Customize your SAM goals:

The Software Asset Manager used list prices to estimate how much money the company was losing annually from the undocumented license purchases. He presented the CAD Manager a SAM strategy that would give him near real-time access to AutoCAD usage and available licenses, allowing him to always know what he has and allocate licenses to users accordingly. And the Software Asset Manager presented the cost saving potential to upper management. Just eliminating maintenance on the 600 licenses would save the company 6 digits. Buying only what they needed in the future would save the company an additional 7 digits.

How to handle the roadblocks to Software Asset Management

No project is without its obstacles, so be realistic and anticipate the most common roadblocks to getting your SAM initiative started. Here are proven arguments to overcome them:

No budget for a SAM technology

Start small, you will achieve savings to expand your project. Develop a project around low-hanging fruit, something that doesn’t require a big investment. Present it like a Software Asset Management test-drive that doesn’t involve installing a tool or committing long-term, but delivers quick-wins. Then, use the budget created from this small project to convince upper management that there’s more money to be had.

Don’t stop documenting your use cases and talking to stakeholders. The more meat you put on your business case’s bones and the more stakeholders you have joining ranks, the easier it gets to ask for, and receive budget.

Software asset management business case: how to handle the roadblocks to Software Asset Management

No senior buy-in

Find the magic number: $. There’s always a number that will make upper management realize the opportunities that Software Asset Management creates. Your magic number will depend on the company, sometimes it’s smaller $, and sometimes it’s not so small $$$. SAM creates real and meaningful budget for a company. So find the number that will bedazzle your most important decision-makers. Better yet, make it easy and grab the Savings Calculator.

Not enough internal resources or lack of licensing expertise

Developing internal SAM capacities is not the goal of your SAM project; creating savings is. Think about it this way: When you need to buy a car, you don’t design and build your own. There are experts who do that for you. The same thing is true for Software Asset Management. Focus on results—savings, increased transparency and oversight, and added flexibilities—and not on increasing your challenges.

Find a SAM service provider with the expertise and resources to make your project a success—on time and within budget.

No time

Don’t do it alone! Download our SAM Program Guide and SAM Savings Calculator to speed up your preparation and help make the business case. Take advantage of our resources and lighten your load.

A SAM project should be about creating budget and returning resources to your organization, not taking them away. Rely on your SAM service partner to help you get your program to a point where you can take it over again. Once your Software Asset Management tool is up and running, you’ll win back time through automation.

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Not sure how to start?

At Aspera, we’ve done this a hundred times. Just contact us for help or more information:

Calculate your savings with Software Asset Management

Use your own numbers to see how you benefit from Software Asset Management by looking at the most common areas companies save.

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