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The Software Asset Management Skills Gap

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That wasn’t pointing to issues of business case sign off and lack of investment, but to the shortfall in Software Asset Managers across the globe. I speak with many organizations each week and regularly probe the state of resourcing in the SAM function. Many organizations large enough to warrant multiple dedicated resources have none, there are a minority that appear to be well resourced.

The supply of SAM skills remains dwarfed, by potential demand if all organizations were well resourced

The data challenge

Investing in capable tools for many may appear the key to making progress, and taking on the SAM challenge without them is an ever mounting undertaking. Whilst tools eliminate a significant degree of manual effort, and enable tasks, total automation is yet to be achieved – an absence of adoption of data standards* by software publishers (including cloud service providers) potentially being a key inhibiting factor.

For software asset managers, significant effort must be applied to data management as an ongoing task across a broad range of titles in order to reach an acceptable degree of trustworthy data. Addressing data quality, including factors of completeness and accurate representation, can be daunting when considering the sheer extent of what is represented – thousands of application files across thousands of devices resulting in millions of lines of data.

Delivering value

More stimulating perhaps are the activities which make us of that data. Interpreting and assessing options for optimization and risk mitigation. As challenges of lock in, shelfware, sprawl and toxic consumption have materialized in association with cloud computing, the role of the software asset manager has become even more critical in managing out cost and waste.

Without the skilled and experienced software asset management function, benefit realization will be inhibited, or may be nullified. A well-resourced SAM function will be enabled not only to facilitate trustworthy data, but the effective use and application of that data, interacting with stakeholders across the organization to empower cost optimization initiatives and support endeavors to weed out vulnerabilities.

Conquering the supply issue

Key for CIOs will be access to resources. Resources that are dramatically short in supply. The future success of SAM is dependent not just on the CIO imperative, but a closing of the skills gap.

Communities that share knowledge, facilitate and enable the development of practitioners’ skills may be key to enabling more organizations to reap benefits of effective SAM.

These communities where most needed will likely be virtual and perhaps facilitated by the likes of tool vendors, the success of whose business depends upon the supply of software asset managers required to make productive use of their wares.

As an alternative, in the absence of capacity to recruit skills, the C Level may turn to SAM Managed Service providers, who can grow and leverage their skill base.