Chances are, I’m in the minority when I reveal that Software Asset Management has for years been a passion of mine. I am fascinated by the mere evolution of software licensing as it went from complicated, to super-complicated, to super-ultra-complicated. For the past 15 years, my personal mission has been to help customers understand the rules and then apply those rules in ways that reduce risk and save money. At face value, SAM can often appear very black and white. What I hope you soon realize is that there is much more that contributes to this strategy.
After numerous journeys with customers through a bewildering maze of scenarios, I’ve concluded that the pulse of a good SAM practice is the self-audit. And there are several tools, some very expensive, that attempt to automate all aspects of SAM. When coupled with the right human resources, capital, and executive support these tools can produce truly amazing results. If you have successfully implemented such a tool then congratulations, you’ve already reached the pinnacle of SAM! My guess is that universe is fairly small, so for the rest of us, myself included, let me address the struggle to find the best way to implement SAM into an environment.
For starters, think of SAM in the simplest terms as a ledger. On the left side of the ledger are the licenses you own (or on a trendier level, subscribe to as in subscription-based licensing). On the right side of the ledger is a list of what is currently in use. The SAM self-audit exercise balances the ledger: find where you might be under-licensed and also where you may be over-licensed. The goal is to license what you use and only pay for what you need. At PC Connection, we conduct these self-audits for customers as a SAM Engagement. The engagement provides a fantastic foundation for an organization’s overall SAM program. But that’s not the end. Of equal importance are regular self-audits on key major software publishers. Why? Economic urgency. Ongoing vigilance is imperative to maximize cost savings opportunities and penalty avoidance.