By definition, Software Asset Management (SAM) is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization.
To many of our customers, SAM is associated with software compliance, software audits, risk mitigation, risk analysis, and cost savings. All of these ring true.
My experience with SAM as a discipline spans all types of businesses, whether SMB, Corporate, Enterprise, all the way up to Government and Education. SAM, whether we realize it or not, truly is a subject that affects nearly all organizations at some point in time.
If you’ve ever been faced with a Software audit, or have been tapped on the shoulder for a “voluntary” compliance check by a Software Manufacturer, SAM is typically the discipline utilized to come the rescue.
Over the course of my 18 years in IT, SAM has been one of the top growth areas across the software segment.
Whether a small-mid sized or large enterprise, the risks and impact to the organization remain the same. Organizations who are found out of compliance can expect to be dealt heavy fines, whether from the BSA (Business Software Alliance) or the software manufacturer; negative internal & external exposure (especially for state/local government and publicly traded organizations); and in many cases I’ve seen, a loss in employment to those directly in charge of managing the software assets in question.
So, yes, SAM is a critical discipline. When we talk about SAM, as a starting point, we consider the following:
- Version number
- What licensing considerations apply (by user/device/processor/core/etc.)
- Whether or not the license is covered via maintenance
What we understand about SAM goes far beyond being under-licensed. I’ve seen many cases where legacy buying behaviors often reveal over-licensing. By understanding what you’ve purchased, whether or not it’s used, and how often it’s used, we create a business case for future purchases – Or sometimes the opposite: the case to support a NON purchase event.