Interacting software systems are similar to a biological ecosystem. Software systems within an ecosystem rely on one another and affect the overall health and stability of the business. These systems grow organically over time, as additional needs are identified that cannot be met by current applications. Unless controlled in some manner, these ecosystems will become redundant, expensive and ultimately too fragile to modify.
Software asset management provides an ongoing method for a company to maintain the health of this ecosystem. There are three primary aspects to SAM: review, reconciliation and re-engineering.
Step 1: Review
Establish a full inventory of all deployed software (it’s also smart to create a SAM team to oversee the process). In theory, it’s possible to collect this information manually from end-user computers and servers, but in practice it’s typically done through the use of an automated SAM tool.
A small organization with less than a dozen controlled software programs will not need as sophisticated a management and oversight tool as a Fortune 500 company. In many cases, it will be necessary to run multiple scans to ensure that all systems are captured in the initial baseline.