By Sean Robinson
The demands upon a modern enterprise are ever-growing, from the need for higher IT security in response to more sophisticated cybercrime, to cross-location protection as more of us work remotely. Add in the financial strains caused by a global pandemic, and there is also a building pressure to operate at maximum efficiency at all times.
This is where Software Asset Management (SAM) process and services need to step up, offering a more agile solution that responds to business demands as and when they present themselves.
While traditional managed services offer up-to-date licensing assistance that can help a business understand whether they are compliant or overspending on software, often it leaves little room for acting upon the recommendations made by your SAM specialist. And it’s these recommendations that can have the biggest impact both operationally and financially.
A more agile SAM service focuses on targeted optimisation; prioritising the actions that are most likely to return value to the organisation, rather than pursuing a formulaic approach to the workload. It should be completely customisable in order to target projects, roll outs, audits and digital transformation across different departments.
And crucially, we need to revolutionise how software asset management is actually consumed. Typically it would be the SAM managers themselves involved, alongside IT teams, whereas a more agile solution should engage stakeholders from multiple departments, including IT, SAM, finance, procurement and C-level. Making SAM more accessible and flexible, as well as finding more effective ways to display the outcomes all play a role in helping to increase stakeholder engagement.
The flexibility necessary to support modern enterprises comes from agile solutions
Applying an agile approach to a SAM service allows managers to switch priorities as new challenges arise. Having a shareable, user-friendly backlog of activity, as well as a clear and continuous view of what needs to be done, makes it easier to change course if something more pressing comes up.
It’s vital that organisations can quickly re-scope and re-prioritise those actions which will provide the most benefit with immediate effect. On review, a planned project may need to be put on hold, and a backlogged action may not seem as important, in which case, a critical service can take priority.
With the current challenges all of us are facing, and with workforces continually switching from office locations to remote working, it’s especially important to be able to react quickly, and benefit from a SAM service that enables you to understand licensing structures and work out which vendor and product is most suitable for your needs and budget.
We’re also in a time where flexibility over cost is going to be in demand too. Having a model where SAM activities can be stepped up or dialled back as and when they need to be, is key.
Measuring and sharing the benefits of SAM should be simple and straightforward
With a need to prove efficiency and cost savings at every twist and turn, it’s never been more important to seek buy-in from stakeholders. For those in IT departments, the necessity of SAM is obvious, but for those in different departments, it can be difficult to understand and quantify the benefits of license management, and yet it is something that impacts all teams.
To achieve this, a SAM tool should be accessible to all, and provide (only) the information certain groups need, when they need it, in a way that’s easy to digest.
Finance and procurement teams, for example, can understand the precise costs of each piece of software, who needs it, and make sure they’re being used correctly across different departments. Similarly, directors should be able to login and see immediately what is being spent and what savings are being made, as well as how the program can generate savings for the business year-on-year.
From C-level to smaller teams, an agile Software Asset Management program should bring peace of mind to an organisation.
Cultivating an essential SAM culture
By increasing the visibility of SAM, we can begin to turn the relationship between the SAM team and stakeholders on its head.
Stakeholders can now also request SAM activity to be carried out based on their own priorities at a time that suits them, whereas traditionally it would only be the SAM team making requests for work to be undertaken.
As more areas of the business become aware of SAM and the role it plays, it should become an increasing priority, with everyone within the business taking it seriously and using it to its full effect.
The unpredictability of today’s software industry calls for efficient, effective software license management without the rigid schedule that comes from a traditional SAM Managed service. It’s time for the industry to deliver that.
Sean Robinson is Solutions Director at License Dashboard, who specialise in Software Asset Management and licensing expertise for large and fast-growing organisations