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What resources do you need to manage your Software Asset Management program?

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The responsibilities for managing a Software Asset Management program can vary depending on the organization and there is no easy formula to determine staffing levels required.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to determining the right amount of resources. The total number of resources required could be based on total software spend, number of devices (data center and desktops), number of software titles and/or software licenses to manage, along with the amount of business analysis work required to support the enterprise. Before an organization tries to determine the number of resources they need to support a Software Asset Management program, its best to understand the basic daily functions of any SAM tool and where the SAM team sits in the organization.

In some organizations, the SAM team resides within the IT organization and this allows for close alignment with core sources of information like discovery and inventory data, as well as hardware asset management, configuration management and service management processes. This also facilitates involvement in operational activities like problem/incident/change management that impact SAM processes and activities such as reclamation of licenses for unused applications, monitoring for unauthorized software installations and hardware decommission and disposal.

In other organizations, the SAM team sits in the Finance/Procurement department which allows a close working relationship with the procurement, sourcing and vendor management team. This can aid negotiation of software license agreements that best meet the needs of the business while also being manageable. And it can allow better communication of license entitlements across the organization to maintain license compliance.

There are several activities the SAM team will need to perform to ensure value is realized from the investment made in a software asset management tool.  Sources for inventory and business data connected to the SAM tool must be monitored and maintained, new software licenses need to be added, unauthorized software installations must be actioned, the usage of existing applications needs to be monitored to ensure they are being used effectively, and so on. The SAM tool is the hub for everything software and license related. Your software asset management resources will have to develop expert knowledge of the tool and associated SAM processes to ensure the organization gets the most out of its SAM program.

There are 3 functional areas that your core SAM team must manage in order to sustain SAM processes and tools.  These are:

Systems and Inventory Services
Systems and Inventory Services provides visibility and core monitoring of the deployed hardware and software that are supported by the SAM tool. System and Inventory Services are the technical tasks performed by the SAM tool administrator such as:

Systems monitoring and health management
System upgrades
Discovery and Inventory management, potentially including the full software stack (operating systems, virtualization, databases, middleware, and enterprise applications)
Inventory and Business import/interface maintenance—this includes the connectors that allow collection and import of license entitlements and contract information

These services provide the infrastructural foundation for the SAM tool to enable a healthy and stable environment so the other 2 functional services areas can be effective.