As part of this month’s SAMPanel debate, we are very happy to welcome back to the SAMPanel Niall Eddery, Senior SAM Consultant with Livingstone, who we asked, “Looking ahead, what are your predictions for the SAM market?”
Below was his response
Making predictions is always challenging, especially about IT. One of Steve Ballmer’s best known predictions from 2007 was that “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share”, and we all know how that worked out.
One prediction I am pretty confident about is that Software License audits are only going to increase. Vendors are continuing to be dependent on audits as a stream of revenue, aand vendors increasing audit volumes and introducing more tool based approaches. End user organisations will need to become increasing sophisticated in their audit responses, and companies that provide good third party audit support are well placed to grow their businesses in this area as the number of skilled resources in this growing niche area is very limited and companies are unlikely to have licensing specialists for all vendors.
In the area of tooling, SAM will increasingly become a Business Intelligence problem. Most large enterprises have many data sources with key data, such as multiple hardware and software discovery tools, Active Directory, virtualisation management tools, CMDB, application access control lists and so on. The ability to merge these data sets and produce trustworthy information to enable SAM professionals to provide accurate and reporting will become key. A standard license audit for a complex vendor such as IBM can involve data collection from dozens of sources, and we are currently seeing many of our customers struggle to collect virtualisation data from decentralised virtualisation deployments. The “Internet of Things”, license metric changes, cloud, BYOD and wearables and their impact on licensing will continually increase the complexities around reporting and management. Managed service providers need to be able to assist organisations with these complexities.
If SAM can get to grips with the BI problem, I think we will see SAM move out of the licensing administration space it has been stuck in for the last decade and become a key function for managing all software related business disciplines such as security, configuration management, change control and beyond. All of these processes rely on good quality timely data, and SAM professionals should be putting themselves in the driving seat to provide that data.
In the cloud space, I’m hoping to see end user organisations build “reverse audit” clauses into their contracts with vendors. When vendors can see the deployments and are responsible for billing for these services, SAM professionals need to be at the forefront of managing usage, change and costs. We should also start to see the first large wave of cloud to cloud and even cloud back to on premise migrations, which will involve a whole new level of licensing heartache for many organisations.
I’ll end with another quote, this time from the luminary of the open source world, Alan Cox; “I figure lots of predictions is best. People will forget the ones I get wrong and marvel over the rest”. Hopefully I’ve got at least one prediction right!
About the Author:
Livingstone provide an end-to-end software asset management solution for organisations looking to gain complete visibility and control over their software licensing spend.
Combining their unique approach, accurate inventory and entitlement data with experienced Software Asset Management (SAM) specialists, they understand their client’s software licensing needs and goals. They arm their specialists with vendor agnostic Livingstone technology to provide real time licensing transparency and control.