5 Key Success Factors for Effective Implementation of the Software Asset Management Solution
Software Asset Management has gained significant importance to help businesses reduce IT costs, mitigate risk related to software usage and to increase the overall utilization and ROI. The key question to ask oneself is – Do we have control on our IT assets – What is available, what is being used and what isn’t? Are we exposing risk of being non-compliant? Can we save money by optimizing licenses?
The 5 steps which organization should follow for effective SAM implementation are –
#1: Gain the visibility
Ability to find all the assets (hardware and software) and how they are getting used is a key challenge. Unless we have automated discovery and software recognition/reconciliation (Application dictionary/catalogue) engine, it is very difficult to gain accurate view of our software assets. Without continuous automated discovery, you don’t get visibility on which software being used, who is consuming it and how it is getting consumed. The software asset management is very dynamic process as employees’ needs change constantly and periodic inventory is very important to stay compliant.
The key challenge is most of the organization use heterogenous IT assets and its gets complicated with the virtualization and more recent one cloud assets. It becomes important to manage physical assets, virtual assets and relationship between virtual asset and physical asset. Another key aspect is to detect hardware information such as core, processors, hyperthreading, physical sockets which impact few licensing model and specific software with licensing packs also plays vital role to decide on the compliance.
#2: Recognize and Normalize the metadata
The ability to discovery Software assets is one part but the next level is to recognize each meta data of application, normalize the meta data such as manufacturer, qualify it into right buckets such as whether the software is commercial or not. One should have good product dictionary or catalogue which helps to achieve this. The SAM product should help to detect standalone and software suite along with versions and more importantly ability to detect product use rights (PUR) such as upgrade, downgrade and second use rights.
#3: Capture license entitlements and complexity of licenses
Managing the business with complex licensing models and metrics is a significant challenge.
It is very important to understand the difference between license and entitlements. License refers to the terms and conditions of use of product. Entitlement refers to right of use. Right of use such as downgrade, upgrade, second use rights, users, maintenance.
Capturing all the details related to licenses and entitlements in single place and understand the license metrics/models such as device, core, CPU, user, qualified user, named-user, concurrent license with complete clarity plays very important role in deriving compliance position. For example, Microsoft provides Microsoft License Statement (MLS) which is a critical document which has all transaction made by any organization for several years can be used to capture the license and agreement records.
Finance/Procurement function should share all the records to IT team to manage the licenses to derive the compliance position.
#4: Identify underutilized and unused software
Organization is investing on new software purchases without analyzing current usage. Lack of strong process control which works in conjunction with SAM licensing governance functions. It is very important to identify underutilized software and detecting unused software. This helps the IT team to justify purchasing decisions and helps to show a positive ROI. So, application usage metering plays a vital role in purchasing decisions by recycling the licenses and with continuous monitoring avoid the risk of unauthorized software use.
#5: ROI – Effective license position (ELP) and optimization
Once all the above elements are addressed, there must be an automatic process which will help to reconcile licenses against inventory to provide the effective license position and then plan to optimize it by consulting vendor specific exports. This consultation is very important as though organization may be compliant against SAM but we could do optimization to avoid overspending and can transform vendor negotiation (For example: volume license from Microsoft) to reduce the cost for over and undersubscribed software licenses.
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