How to improve your Software Asset Management process?


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20-Mar-2018 09:07:00

In my last piece, I talked about Problem Management and how it is often confused with Major Incident management. In fact, while the two are linked, they are very different beasts. However strong your Problem Management, you must be ready for business critical incidents.

 The goal of Software Asset Management (SAM) is to drive cost-efficiency without having a negative impact on business operations and IT service levels. Good Software Asset Management (SAM) enables a business to gain maximum benefit from IT investment. Just as with hardware asset management, SAM requires the integration of people, processes and technology so that software licenses can be monitored, evaluated and managed accordingly.

Unfortunately, SAM is not always managed well, especially where individual user licenses are required.

Who is responsible for SAM?

Who is responsible for purchasing, deploying, tracking and optimising your SAM process? While this might vary according to the size of your business and organisational structure, for most it will look like this:


IT Support and IT Procurement need to have an agreed process for purchasing. Establish a set of guidelines that enable swift purchase and deployment:

  • Identify the people responsible for software acquisition and price negotiations
  • Create a pre-approved list of vendors
  • Decide whether employees can purchase any software directly and if so, provide clear processes for tracking

Tracking & Reporting

Ultimately, tracking and reporting fall under the IT Management category. In order to assess your current SAM process, you will need to clearly understand:

  • How much spend and labour is currently assigned to the SAM process?
  • What is your annual spend on software licenses and maintenance fees?
  • How frequently do you conduct software audits?
  • How do you track software usage and how confident are you in the data?

Setting targets

Again, this can vary according to the size of your organisation. You will need to decide how many people, which people and what budget you can dedicate to Software Asset Management -for some organisations, outsourcing might be a favourable option. Once you have your team in place, set measurable, achievable KPIs and give each one a deadline. Those KPIs might include:

  • Reduce license expenditure
  • Reduce time spent on internal audits
  • Increase software usage policy compliance

Tips and tricks for improving ongoing SAM

Software Asset Management is an ongoing process and you cannot rely on users to update you when they no longer use a particular piece of software. Use tools and technology to reduce some of the overheads associated with auditing. For example, you can run a script to check what has been used in the last 90 days to flag dormant accounts. Stay on top of perpetual licenses as well as annual licenses. Some perpetual licenses carry annual maintenance fees that can be overlooked in your budgets. Above all else, have the tools in place to catalogue software assets. Managing a library that is associated with your CMDB and align it with your joiners, movers and leavers process.

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Pete Canavan
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About the author

Pete Canavan

Pete Canavan is Support Services Director at Plan-Net. An accredited ITIL Service Manager, he has a proven track record in IT with special expertise in the Legal & Financial Services industries.

With two decades in the IT field, Pete has acquired extensive experience in business relationship development, service transformation, project and people management, training and client/supplier relations.

Pete's other passions, besides Plan-Net of course, are his family and football.

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