SAM: synonym for compliance, efficiency and agility

March 25th, 2020  by Bruno van Marsenille

For a company, the implementation of a software asset management (SAM) solution has many benefits in terms of compliance, efficiency and agility, not to mention lower costs, time saving and risk reduction – all of this with better governance. Too good to be true? Not so sure…

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A software asset management (SAM) solution aims to manage and optimize the purchase, deployment, maintenance and use of software within an organization, as well as the disposal of unused software or software purchased without the approval of the IT department. Although the first implementation of a SAM program may seem insurmountable for a company, a large-scale deployment is a major challenge. Nevertheless, the consulting company Deloitte estimates that the implementation of SAM allows to reduce by 25% a company's annual software expenditures, as from the first year onwards. Given that, according to Gartner, the expenditures for software licenses and maintenance amount up to 22% of a company's IT budget, it is probably not superfluous to acquire such a SAM solution at a time when budgetary savings are more than ever on the agenda.

However, a study performed in 2018 by IDG Research among CIO’s indicates that 72% of the organizations don’t have a real SAM strategy, that 74% of them haven’t implemented a formal SAM structure and that 83% don’t consider SAM as a strategic initiative.

Multiple benefits

One of the most obvious benefits of SAM is of financial nature, of course. Indeed, SAM allows to identify obsolete software which will subsequently be replaced by more modern or more efficient programs, or updated – if necessary – in order to guarantee optimal productivity, or even just disposed. In other words: we must avoid the overconsumption of software, given that it has been estimated that 36% of the software is underused or even not used at all. Sometimes there is also an underestimation of the number of users using software, and thus of the number of licenses to register, leading to financial risks. Similarly, the use of the cloud and shadow IT favors the emergence of unlisted solutions whose use isn’t entirely controlled by the IT department. (Shadow IT is the phenomenon whereby applications escape from the visibility, control or management of the IT department, because they have been purchased on an employee’s or a department’s own initiative, without prior consultation of the IT department.)

Another major interest of SAM: time saving for the IT department. Indeed, the software landscape can be established more easily and more quickly (number of licenses, location in the infrastructure) and subsequently managed more proactively, while adaptations and modifications will be easier to perform.

Moreover, simplified management implies risk limitation. Indeed, a controlled software environment will reduce the risk of attacks (the software is known, updated and patched correctly), while the software not authorized by the IT department, should disappear.

In terms of security, it is obvious that the use of the cloud in particular or the use of unauthorized licenses significantly increases the risk of (cyber)attacks. Similarly, good governance requires the exhaustive mapping of all programs as well as the most transparent management of the software assets.

Finally, the decision-making process will allow to (better) understand the use of the software and data by means of a precise centralized inventory of the resources, and thus to optimize their use.

Involving the business

Apart from the benefits for the IT department, SAM will also be interesting for the legal department, by means of a more precise visibility on the software fleet, which will allow to respond to any possible audit. The purchasing department and the financial department will be able to better control the software purchases and to better negotiate the contracts with the software publishers. The human resources department will be able to ensure user governance with regard to the directives and regulations of the company, as well as the optimization of the software resources in relation to the employees.

To put it briefly: if the IT department triggers a SAM project, all departments and business users must be involved, under the supervision of the general management. If so, they must rely on a trusted partner, capable of assisting the organization for the preparation, deployment and follow-up of the software asset management. Preferably, this partner should understand the IT structure of the company and propose a data collection and analysis methodology, before suggesting any improvements or adaptations to optimize the software management and to offer a return on investment for the project.

Aprico Consultants is a leading consultancy company that guides the strategy and transformation to boost the performance, productivity and competitiveness of your organization. We combine cutting-edge expertise with a perfect understanding of the customer's context and experience, as well as an end-to-end approach in all sectors, from consultancy to the deployment of solutions. Therefore, we can offer tailor-made and pragmatic solutions oriented towards efficiency and profitability.

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