Today we launch the debut SAMPanel, a chance for SAM professionals to give their views and opinions on some of the big questions facing the Software Asset Management sector.
For our first SAMPanel we asked the question;
Now that we are two months into the year, what do you deem to be the biggest issues facing SAM in 2015?
Rory Canavan | Owner of SAMCharter | Connect with Rory
The biggest challenge I see facing SAM in 2015 is to effectively manage the transfer of value (be it licences and/or support and maintenance) from a distributed computing environment to that of a cloud service.
Software vendors will typically have a standard offering as to what they believe offers a good deal, but I would recommend SAM Manager to crawl over the fine print to ensure that they are getting a deal that represents true value – As my old man (an ex-salesman) used to say: “Never accept the first offer!” 😉
Robbie Richmond | Managing Director of EasySAM | Connect with Robbie
2015 should be a watershed for the adoption of software asset management, jointly driven by aggressive vendor audits and customer drive for cost and risk reduction. There are still some key challenges facing organisations looking at SAM, a selection of which can be found below;
* SAM tools – There is a difference between a basic inventory tool (which you might already have) and a full featured SAM tool. Inventory is a key part of understanding your compliance, but you need much more than just inventory. Software usage, optimisation, entitlement and processes all form a key part of the SAM effort
* Virtualisation – Virtualisation continues to ensnare many unwary organisations, as it can have a significant impact on licensing requirements. Enabling VM mobility can increase license requirements and cost by a factor of 20. Some vendors have restrictive terms when it comes to particular virtualisation platforms (for example Oracle and VMware / Hyper-V)
* User Mobility – As organisations support an increasingly mobile workforce, this creates additional challenges for licensing. Applications are deployed in many ways (local installations, terminal services, application streaming, web based applications) and across a wider range of devices (thin clients, tablets, mobile phones, as well as traditional laptops and desktops). Many vendors have responded by offering different licensing metrics (eg Microsoft with Office 365 user based licensing) but this also increases the complexity of managing these licenses. This also extends to bring your own devices (BYOD)
* Vendor relationships – Software vendors have 2 potentially conflicting requirements – they need to continue to improve their revenue, but also need to maintain a positive relationship with their customers. The drive to improve revenue has meant an increase in software audits, which has a negative effect on the relationship with the customer. From our experience, the level of interest in open source or alternative applications increases significantly following a vendor audit.
* Demonstrating cost savings – Many SAM providers or tool vendors promise significant cost savings by adopting their tool or services. This should be demonstrated as a tangible saving and not an unrealised aspiration
Alex Ashley-Roberts | Head of Global Marketing at License Dashboard | Connect with Alex
There are many challenges in Software Asset Management (SAM) today – from getting senior executive buy in and choosing the relevant supporting technology, to controlling software consumption as the internet of things explodes!
But in our experience, most organizations can boil their challenges down into a single headline obstacle; the struggle of getting past compliance and into the sweet spot of SAM. In other words, getting to the point that you can actually start saving your organization money and demonstrate a return on investment (ROI), which is crucial for securing initial and continued internal SAM sponsorship.
So, what’s stopping organizations getting to the most effective part of SAM?
Depending on your vantage point there could be any number of reasons, however we find that they can normally be summarized as follows:
1) Slow implementation of technology, teams and processes
2) Being bogged down with transactional License Management tasks
3) The complexity of software licensing
So when looking at SAM solutions, choose one which is fast to implement, does all the heavy lifting AND has plenty of supporting intelligence, all of which will leave you free to focus on cost optimization, process management as well as your other role responsibilities.
Jan Oberg | Managing Director for ITAMOrg | Connect with Jan
Getting more bang for your buck: For those SAM Managers who have already fended off a vendor audit, or perhaps have demonstrated some degree of success in harvesting software installs from their IT estate, the next question might be: What’s next? Best practice might have you believe that you are stuck in a never-ending loop of continual improvement performing the same tasks day-in, day-out.
However, SAM does not exist in isolation and so it’s important to look at partner disciplines within IT to see what SAM can do to help. Increasingly in 2014, we have seen the rise of the Service Management sector take an active interest in the benefits that SAM data can bring to Service Management. Such advantages might include:
* Knowing whether an install is a bona fide company purchase, or a retail version of the same title (that might not then warrant support)
* Understanding what software resides on a device to drill down on potential software conflicts that could lead to faulty performance
* Edition, version, release and patch/hotfix data for software titles
The challenge in this instance is not to fall foul of the PR spin that might come from Service Management companies that claim to do Asset Management. Their (typical) definition of asset management stops at recognition of the software that is installed. In the world of SAM, that is nothing more than inventory management. If a product cannot reconcile proof of entitlement against the reported inventory then it should not be claiming SAM capabilities.
Another aspect to address within SAM that is increasingly coming to the fore is that of information security, evidenced in the correct handling of data, and the up to date patching of systems.
Ask yourself and your business if you are ready to counter cyber-attacks through unpatched software, and thereby opening your business data up to theft? The consequences of which could be critical business data ending up in the wrong hands, with a vast financial risk as a result – either through the loss of competitive advantage or breaches of regulatory demands; or both.
Interested in contributing to the SAMPanel? Get in touch with our Editor Chris McColgan and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!