SAM - Software Asset Management
Software asset management (SAM) tools automate many of the tasks required to maintain compliance with software licenses, thereby controlling software spending. They facilitate the in-depth analysis of software assets by decoding software license entitlements, automating the collection of software consumption data, establishing independent software vendor (ISV) effective license position (ELP), and optimizing software value delivery and information sharing. SAM software manage entitlements from enterprise license agreements, purchases and other records to automatically determine and optimize license position against discovered software. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders use SAM tools for managing software entitlement, in lieu of using spreadsheets, due to the rising complexity of software-licensing schemes.
For many organizations, the goal of implementing an asset software program is very tactical in nature, focused specifically on balancing the number of software licenses purchased with the number of actual licenses consumed or used. In addition to software license management, an effective SAM program must also ensure that the usage of all installed software is in keeping with the terms and conditions of the specific vendor license agreement. In doing so, organizations can minimize liabilities associated with software piracy in the event of an audit by a software vendor or a third party such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The key business benefits of SAM software be summarized as follows::
Licenses. Licenses are assets that need to be managed. Each license contains specific conditions for how the software product can be installed and used. As a user, your job is to make sure your company is compliant with the terms and conditions of the license agreement.
Compliance is the bedrock of asset management tools. Software vendors don’t want you to use more software than you licensed. Even though SAM is much bigger than compliance, compliance is where license management becomes an essential part of your business strategy. And it’s the first goal for most companies when starting SAM.
Audits. To check whether you are compliant, vendors will perform software asset management audit to see how their product is being used, how it’s configured, and whether your licenses cover all of it. There are two possible outcomes of an audit: either you’re compliant, or you’re not. Non-compliance can result in unexpected fees, which, if you’re not careful, can cost you big. An audit also disrupts your business and can take months to complete without license management technology to support the process.
Optimization. Often businesses are over-compliant simply because they have more licenses than they need. They prefer to over-pay upfront to outsmart the audit risk. So, while they aren’t losing a ton of money at once for failing an audit, they are losing it slowly. It may not hurt at first, but over time being over-licensed costs more than failing an audit. When you fail an audit, you buy just enough licenses to close the gap, and often vendors demand you pay back-maintenance for the licenses too. It’s expensive, but the problem is a one-time cost — that can also be reduced or completely eliminated with software license management solutions.
F.A.Q about SAM - Software Asset Management
5 Reasons to do Software Asset Management
Cost savings. With a full overview of your environment and your software needs, you know exactly what you’re using and exactly what you need. So you purchase the right licenses from the start, saving you money on maintenance fees, and helping to ensure compliance. In fact, you can reduce your licensing costs up to 30%.
Time savings. Organizing your licenses and setting up software asset management process will save you time:
- Have a central database of your licensing terms and conditions, making it easier and quicker to get the information you need to make better software purchasing and IT budgeting decisions
- Be able to respond to audit letters within days instead of weeks
- Transparency means you can respond quicker to problems, sometimes even before they arise
Automation.Nothing says effortless like automation. Automating your processes frees you up to concentrate on other things. With alerts and regular reports, you don’t need to spend time watching out for problems and looking for areas to save. Just to name a few examples an asset management program tool can automate:
- Alerting you to over usage and non-compliance
- Informing you about high-risk configurations
- Suggesting optimization options
- Filling software requests with existing licenses
- Simulating your data center architecture and the resulting licensing costs
Software License Optimization. When you know what you have and use, you can go beyond compliance. You can compare your licenses. See what license schemes are possible and make the most sense in your environment—while easily keeping an eye on cost.
Strategy. Enterprise asset management system gives you transparency into your current and past software needs. This in turn gives you valuable insights into your software future. It can help you plan in advance on multiple levels from data center architectures to budgets and service-charging. There are strategic benefits for every department in the company.
Choosing the Best Software Asset Management Software
Software Discovery. Enterprise asset management software enables IT organizations to keep track of their hardware and software inventory and monitor license compliance. In the past, this was largely a manual process where IT operators would maintain spreadsheets with information about IT assets. Each time a configuration item changed, a manual update would have to be performed which made it difficult to determine if your SAM database was truly accurate.
Software and Hardware Inventory and Cataloging. Software and hardware inventory cataloging is one of the main drivers of software asset management. Without sufficient oversight of inventory within the IT organization, waste is inevitable as IT managers order excess licenses, servers, and workstations without any knowledge of viable alternatives that may already be at their disposal.
Software inventory is another key feature for SAM tools. IT organizations should look for a tool that tracks instances of software installations on the network and that can be used to determine exactly how many used or unused licenses the organization has for each application.
License Compliance Monitoring.Today's the leading software on asset management market include features that can help you proactively monitor your inventory of software licenses and detect non-compliance issues before they can ever be discovered in a software vendor audit. IT organizations can receive automated updates and notifications when a change in the system affects license compliance and take steps to correct the non-compliance.
Asset Depreciation. Software purchased for use is considered a fixed asset by general accounting principles, meaning that corporate organizations can depreciate purchased software on their taxes to obtain an income reduction and reduce their tax liability. Your software asset management system should track the total cost of any software your organization purchases and depreciate the software over time according to your accounting rules.
Geo-location. Software asset management tools provide IT organizations with unprecedented oversight into their hardware and software inventory and configuration items. The ability to detect hardware and software on the network, collect attribution data for those configuration items and organize that information into a searchable database that drives better asset management is already revolutionary for most IT organizations.
Audit Scheduling. If your IT organization purchases software licenses from a major software vendor, you should anticipate that you will receive at least one software audit request every three years. As your number of vendor partners grow, you may even receive audit requests annually. If you purchased the right software asset management application, you should be conducting your own software compliance audits on a monthly basis to truly verify your compliance with software license agreements.
User-Friendly, Automated Reporting. SAM tools with automated reporting features make it easy for IT managers and executive decision-makers to quickly access the high-impact information needed to make important decisions. Most software vendors have developed SAM tools that can collect software usage data or manage license compliance, but IT managers should also look at SAM tools with automated reporting features that promote ease-of-use and seamlessly deliver the information that users need from the system in a digestible and actionable format.