The proliferation of Software as a Service (SaaS) and increasingly complex software licensing environments have highlighted the crucial need for software asset management (SAM) software, especially in companies that are heavily reliant on IT.
Companies need robust SAM software to actively track software assets, license entitlements, software utilization to avoid overspending and always be audit-ready.
What is the SAM software?
SAM software enables you to automate the business strategy for software procurement, usage, and deployment of software licenses. Software is deeply ingrained in modern businesses, and it is a common challenge to maintain software compliance with the legal agreements the company has drawn with a number of vendors.
By adopting a SAM solution you can leave the errors and inefficiencies of manual management behind. Keep track of all your software assets, minimize software expenses, and optimize your business’s IT operations.
A reliable SAM software can:
- Reduce IT expenditures. Most organizations can cut their overheads by as much as 30% by implementing a SAM tool.
- Free up IT resources.
- Exponentially reduce non-compliance risks and mitigate under-licensing of software assets
- Optimize the usage of software throughout its life cycle.
The need for SAM software
Software procurement has evolved rapidly and instead of buying a physical copy of the software, companies now rely on subscription-based access to applications.
While this offers significant benefits of simpler up-gradation and easier budgeting, it does come with a few disadvantages. SaaS tools complicate an already intricate software licensing environment.
Every company uses various software from different providers with different requirements, licensing agreements, and payment contracts. Companies then dedicate a significant amount of manpower to manage these environments which is an expensive and inefficient strategy.
This is where you need SAM tools. Let’s discuss in detail the benefits of SAM software.
1. Reduces software overspend
Companies that heavily rely on IT spend approximately 35% of their IT budget on software consumption. However, when not utilized properly, the over or under-utilized software can add to the overhead costs. According to BMC, the average cost of unused software is $259 per system which can quickly consume your IT budget.
Implementing a SAM solution gives you complete visibility into which software is available in the company and how it is being used. This information doesn’t only enable you to find and re-deploy unused software but also empowers the IT management to make strategic software procurement decisions.
2. Increases automation
Automating your software asset management processes via SAM software doesn’t only increase efficiency but frees up resources as well. According to a Gartner report, 45% of the companies are in a reactive state when it comes to software asset management. They only respond to vendor audits when they happen or work on SAM processes during the contract renewal time.
With regular reports, alerts, and updates in real-time, you can take on a proactive approach to software asset management. A robust SAM tool alerts you in case of license overuse and non-compliance and suggests optimization options accordingly.
Not only that, but you can also automate the software request processes in case of license up-gradation and renewals. Adding this automation to your software asset management processes saves you a lot of time and resources. You can now focus on making strategic decisions based on the data your SAM software collects.
3. Prevents unanticipated audits
Inconsistency in software purchasing, poor history of compliance, and failure to complete a self-assessment make your company a likely target for an emergency audit. According to Gartner, your organization has a 63% chance of receiving at least one software audit request during the next 12 months.
SAM tools enable you to take a proactive approach towards minimizing the disruptive costs and potential fines for being non-compliant. By adopting a software asset management tool, you can centralize contract data, define and document software usage policies, and record licenses centrally to reconcile them against their usage.
4. Enables software lifecycle management
Buying software is a big e-investment and most companies design IT strategies to optimize this sizable investment. Implementing SAM software means that you would be able to get greater visibility into the lifecycle of each license, from its initial procurement to its use, up-gradation, renewals, and so on.
Tracking a software’s lifecycle also enables you to find unused licenses, re-distribute them for better utilization, and avoid surplus purchases on licenses. A reliable SAM software will ensure that your software inventory is all-encompassing and accurate at all times.
SAM Software Best Practices
With the common challenges of increased overheads, disrupted SAM operations, and unreliable tracking of software assets, there are a few SAM software best practices that should be implemented to ensure success.
1. Create strong policies
To combat the effects of unorganized procurement and licensing protocols, you must establish and enforce strong policies. This way your departments will have to go through proper protocols during the acquisition, usage, and renewal of software licenses.
These policies can be automatically enforced through a SAM tool which will ensure that all purchases are aligned with overall business needs and will be managed throughout the entire software lifecycle. Not only that but they will help you keep the licensing information up-to-date and eventually minimize the overlap in the capabilities of new and existing solutions.
2. Set defined controls
With the help of a SAM solution, you can set enforceable controls regarding software used within the company and outline relevant policies and guidelines. This way, you can authorize only relevant people to purchase and install specific software and restrict the ability to download or install software for users who don’t need these to carry out their responsibilities.
Due to today’s mobility revolution and end-user app stores, unauthorized downloads and software installs have become a pain point for companies. Strongly defined controls and their implementation through SAM software can help you combat this challenge.
3. Establish governance
Define roles and processes to manage the software license cycle. Define roles for employees who are responsible for renewals, acquisition of new licenses, and manage the software asset policy.
4. Automated audits
Before another vendor comes in with an audit request, make sure that with the help of your SAM software, you are performing regular checks and the latest software updates. These processes can also be automated on an ITAM solution where you can get alerts when there is a software update available or when there is a compliance issue to be resolved.
5. Track software usage
A reliable SAM software gives you a 360° view of how software applications are being used in your organization and who is using them. You can integrate your SAM software with your onboarding and off-boarding processes so you know when to grant and revoke access to the users.
Provisioning automation for end users will not only allow you to record the software usage and users but also help you to record and compare trends in software usage.
6. Contracts database
To get a clear understanding of your licenses, you should integrate your license contract database with your SAM software. This will keep you updated on the license types, quantity, usage, renewals, and expiration dates.
7. Measure your success
According to Forrester, roughly 10–20% of software costs increase from the lack of proper controls and measurements in place. Therefore, by utilizing your SAM software, you should set fixed targets and measure progress against license cost-saving goals to get a quantifiable measure of your success.
Software being a huge asset to any company delivers the most value when it is utilized properly. SAM software gives you a holistic understanding of your software asset environment. In order to adapt and succeed in the business world today, SAM software should be considered an IT priority.
Read more: What is Software Asset Management?
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