One of the biggest questions facing IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) in the modern corporate environment is where exactly they belong within a company’s organisational structure.
Guest starring Rory Canavan from SAM Charter and Rachel Ryan from AstraZeneca, this question was recently debated among panellists on the ITAM Review podcast, and revealed the surprisingly diverse range of opinion that the question generates.
The question arises because ITAM and SAM seem to simultaneously straddle IT, legal, procurement and finance departments and so theoretically an organisation could appoint their CFO, CTO, CIO or CLO as the responsible party for their ITAM policy.
AstraZeneca themselves have recently shifted their SAM department from procurement into IT as they believe that to achieve the best results from SAM, it’s best for SAM to be embedded into the IT process whenever possible. According to Ms. Ryan this change has partially come about due to support from both the CFO and CIO who recognise the importance and benefits an effectively run SAM program can bring to an organisation.
Rory Canavan built on this point of C-suite level enthusiasm to present his opinion. He believes that SAM and ITAM can, in theory, work effectively within any of the previously mentioned departments, provided there is a high level of support allowing ITAM and SAM the ability to work to its fullest potential. However, he believes that SAM most effectively belongs within procurement but that the best location is really dependent on the individual circumstances of the company in question.
Conversely, Martin Thompson of the ITAM Review supported the idea that IT asset management belongs in IT, however in his ideal scenario he believes it should exist as the ‘sidekick’ for enterprise architects. This is possibly because of the business intelligence that ITAM and SAM provide and the usefulness of that information towards business planning.
The combination of AstraZeneca’s decision and Martin’s belief in the importance of SAM and business intelligence is a perfect way to highlight Livingstone’s approach to SAM. By embedding SAM into the IT process, an organisation can allow for the fullest amount of data to be harvested about their software estate. For Livingstone, this allows for the provision of accurate and clear information to the decision makers of their clients.
Ms. Ryan herself also highlighted the benefit of outsourcing SAM to a managed service provider like Livingstone, as they found that by having an outside organisation handle the administration of SAM, they had more time to focus on the analysis of the information that their SAM provides.
From this discussion it is evident that the logical and sensible approach is for SAM to belong with IT, allowing for a close relationship that can lead to extracting the most information possible on a company’s software estate. However, this position can be best enabled with an outsourced SAM service provider that allows the internal SAM teams the time and knowledge to analyse, focus and successfully act upon the information they receive.
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.