10 things you should know about Software Asset Management

Kick-Starting your Software Asset Management program starts here:

1.  Governance:

Your Software Asset Management Programme needs an ethical heartbeat to ensure widespread adoption, and to underline any senior management buy-in that will be required.  Gain approval for a Software Asset Management Programme from as high up the organisation as possible.  Clear business and IT goals will help keep SAM in step with the rest of the business.  A Corporate Governance Process should assist here, producing an SAM/ ITAM Policy Document that acts as a strategic hub for all SAM/ ITAM activities.

 2.  Scope:

An ill-defined Software Asset Management Programme could see to it that you never reach the Software Asset Management Maturity goals and objectives the programme was originally set.  Have documented goals and objectives.  See the new ISO 19770-1: 2017 publication for details on how best to define your IT Asset Management scope.  Additionally, maintenance of the scope should be enforced through a Scope Verification Process – which looks to compare two trusted sources of data to verify that physical devices are not randomly added (or forgotten about) as time goes by.  Knowing where your platforms (Operating Systems) are is a key foundation for good SAM.

 3.  Roles and Responsibilities:

Ensure that all personnel are fully aware of what is expected of them, and when – not just in project state, but also BAU.  Please feel free to consult our whitepapers page (See SAM Starter File for details) to obtain a copy of a RACI chart which will help you identify stakeholders and the roles they fulfil in SAM.  As you review your processes through your SAM QA Process, a review of your RACI Chart could help identify individuals better suited to tasks from when the processes were first designed.

 4.  Data Sources:

Understand how you are going to capture inventory data, and what is involved in comparing that to licensing data.  Have an understanding too, that merely because you have a software contract, that does not automatically make you licence compliant.  Understanding what you are putting into your SAM Suite in support of creating an ELP will help you define, refine and refresh those sources.

 5. Licensing Models:

Having made that basic comparison, do you understand the finer points of licence optimisation that makes use of Product Use Rights/Contract rights? And in alignment with data sources, do you know what third-level metric data you might be required to gather to support licence consumption?  Top tip:  development licences are managed differently from one software vendor to another, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking they all operate in the same way.  Having a SAM Competence and Training Process should help enforce with your licensing team the need to stay on top of licensing changes as they occur.

 6. Tool Selection:

Ensure you fully understand the business requirements that shape the criteria you use to select the software to support your Software Asset Management programme.  Once more, your Corporate Governance Process should call upon a risk assessment to help determine what risks SAM/ ITAM can address, but of equal importance is identifying the business and IT goals that SAM/ ITAM should be looking to resolve.

 7.  Policies and Procedures:

Consider what documentation is needed to manage the life-cycle of software through your organisation, and the interaction of those policies and procedures with your Software Asset Management Programme.  A point worth noting is that when SAM is typically implemented, a SAM suite will be bought and a SAM manager will be appointed (or even added as a role to an existing job spec).  Over time, what he or she does to satisfy the SAM portion of their job stays within their head – we have a knowledge-management issue to address here as well as one of workload:  a SAM Manager will not be the Governor of all the data required to create an ELP, so an instruction-set all the company can abide by will be needed.

 8.  Implementation:

Have very clear targets to ensure what is and isn’t acceptable once systems are embedded, personnel are put in place and processes are adopted.  Understand too, the point at which an implementation moves from project to Business As Usual (BAU), otherwise SAM/ ITAM will start to feel like a perpetual project as you seek to ascend the SAM/ ITAM maturity curve.

 9.  Continuous Review/Improvement:

Having recognised what your acceptable results are at (8) make sure your Software Asset Management programme keeps pace with the changes experienced in your business to stay relevant.  Wherever possible, use your SAM QA Process to establish what baseline results are acceptable and then implement a programme of refinement/ improvement from there.

 10.  Maturity Assessment:

Change is the enemy!  Once you arrive at a point where you believe your SAM function is in a go-live position, you will find that it has to cope with the changes that the business and IT estate undertakes.  A periodic maturity assessment/ health-check will help keep you honest in respect of your longer term SAM/ ITAM goals and ambitions.  SAM Charter happily offers a free/light assessment to offer you an indicator of where you are on your SAM journey.  For a deeper dive of where you stand and where you want to go with SAM/ ITAM, then email info@samcharter.com to discuss what our deep-dive options can do for you.


If you are struggling to get the message of SAM across to the C-suite because they feel SAM is too technical for them, then we can help!  We have an awesome explainer video that qualifies a use-case of bad practice too-often seen in companies across the world


If you would like to learn more about these founding principles within Software Asset Management to kick-start your Software Asset Management Programme then contact SAM Charter and book your place now.

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