As ever, we can lose sight of what’s important in SAM, especially if we are chasing a rapid implementation to generate ELP’s for a collection of vendors we fear will knock on the door at a moment’s notice.
If your company is still at that point where a SAM tool is some way away, but you wish to do something that could help the mid to long term SAM situation, then a strategic approach could be adopted at the point of a software contract negotiation
A client I was recently working with talked about how they managed their software contracts; specifically, at the point of negotiation they would seek to customise the terms and conditions of the contract in their favour – nothing new in that per say; but the forward-thinking approach in contract customisation was more steered towards having one-eye on future audits. If the terms and conditions can be adequately customised, then there is a chance of off-setting the potential pain of a future audit. Not to the point where we look to sabotage a vendor audit, but rather where audits become non-standard.
Non-standard audits require a software vendor to deviate from their accepted protocols, and so may relegate a client to an “exception bucket” to be managed at another time. Additionally, the personnel re-drafting a software contract will invariably be different from the people who would conduct an audit in x years’ time – there’s more than a fair chance that those bespoke terms and conditions will not have gone through any sort of knowledge transfer from one department to the next.
This is proactive SAM in action – but a word of warning; not unlike the software vendor, the client ALSO has to ensure that knowledge-transfer of those bespoke terms and conditions takes place over the life of the software contract – otherwise such customisations could be for nothing.