Below was his response…
It is no wonder there is a talent shortage in the SAM sector given all of the demands SAM managers endure on a daily basis. Some of those issues (I’m sure you will think of others) include making sense of vague licence agreement terminology, ensuring license compliance, reclaim of unused software, vendor audits, shadow IT and let’s not forget, supporting the daily demands of the business. Perhaps the shortage is due to this growing list of issues related to SAM – and discouraging interested people from entering the field (or causing them to leave).
At the time that I was asked to write this, I received an email from a SAM manager expressing frustration about his management and view of SAM. In that email, he says, “it seems as they [my management] doesn’t realize how important IT Asset Management really is until the ultimate Software Audit.” I got back to this SAM manager but haven’t yet heard back from him.
I believe the talent shortage is principally due to lack of management understanding of how important IT Asset Management and the SAM manager is to the business. Let’s look at this in three different ways, starting with the recent email.
1) Lack of management support for a SAM Management is always concerned most with growing the business, and in the case of a public company, returning value back to shareholders. SAM doesn’t fit that concern. It only will when the vendor returns with a high dollar demand for unlicensed software that management gets interested in SAM. Even then, in my experience, most organizations would rather pay the demand to get the vendor simply out of their business and forget about the value a SAM program can deliver back to the organization. As any SAM manager knows, this is not an effective strategy as the underlying problem leading to unlicensed software is never addressed (or if it is, does not get proper management support).
2) SAM managers themselves not communicating how their efforts save money (and documenting the same). I have spoken with many SAM/ITAM managers asking them how they show their value to the organization. While many will say they are working to reduce the cost of their licensing, or overall risk, I’ve never heard of a quantified number (e.g. reduce the cost of our Adobe licensing by a certain percent). Perhaps SAM managers are quantifying the savings behind the scenes, but they need to make far more noise about how their talents and skills are reducing cost (or risk).
3) Looking beyond simple inventory tools. An effective SAM program consists of the right mix of people, process, and technology. If we have a SAM talent shortage, it makes effective process and technology all that more important. On the process side, are the processes aligned to the ISO 19770-1 standard that outlines best-practice? On the technology side, are the tools you are using empowering the SAM manager to look beyond inventory data and inform them of unused software that may be reclaimed by a product like 1E AppClarity for others? According to 1E data, nearly 35% of all installed software is unused (defined as not used over 90 days) or rarely used (defined as not used in 30 days). Based on the 1E study, unused software amounts to an attention-getting $224/PC. Multiply that figure by the number of devices you have – clearly opportunity exists.
There is no panacea for a successful SAM program or a successful SAM manager. However, the SAM manager, with proper training from groups such as IAITAM, BCS, and Purple Griffon, among others, is a way to build credentials and address the talent shortage in the SAM sector. Delivering and proving value whether that be in the form of reduced cost and risk, and demonstrating that to the organization, is a sure-fire way of letting the organization know more resources must be placed in the SAM managers hands. These resources will always be a combination of people, process, and technology.
P.S. Just to check myself, I recently went to Monster.Com and searched for “Software Asset Management”. The search revealed 19 openings. When looking for “IT Asset Management”, the search showed 45 positions. It seems that with all of the demands on the SAM Manager, there would be more positions listed as there is tremendous value to be had from a SAM/ITAM manager. Organizations need to wake up to the value that a software asset management program can bring – allowing the organization to meet its goals that always include increasing value back to the organization and its shareholders.
About the Author
Peter Beruk | ITAM Subject Matter Expert at 1E | Connect with Peter
Peter Beruk has been in the IT Asset Management (ITAM) space for over 25 years. During that time, he has worked for software vendors including McAfee (now Intel), and vendor focused trade associations including BSA. Peter has advocated throughout his career that there must be a better approach to software management. While at BSA, he joined the ISO working group responsible for the ITAM standard (ISO 19770), where he advocated the tiered approach to ITAM (19770-1:2012). At 1E, Peter is an ITAM Subject Matter Expert responsible for building and promoting ITAM processes so that organizations maximize overall IT value and decrease risk. He also serves as secretary of Working Group 21 (19770). Peter lives outside of Washington, DC and enjoys travel, getting out and walking with his two dogs.
1E’s mission is simple: to enable our customers to automate the full software lifecycle across their business. Through Software Lifecycle Automation employees become more productive, the business becomes more agile, and their IT departments more reactive to change – able to automate more processes, and save money. Our customers remove unused software, servers and reduce network bandwidth while providing their users with the software they need when they need it. As a result, our customers save millions on hardware, software, energy, and people.