The wily dog Martin Thompson of The ITAM Review was recently at a BCS Software Asset Management Networking event, and asked of Greg Holmes (Flexera Software) what was the difference between Software Asset Management (SAM) and SLO (Software Licence Optimisation)?
In amongst the boisterous crowd at the BCS that evening, many people were leaping in and steering the conversation away from letting Greg answer properly (It’s amazing what the absence of alcohol will do to a crowd of IT professionals!).
I think it’s worth investigating the terms more closely prior to highlighting the distinction (if any).
Software Asset Management 101: Software Asset Management is the right blend of people, systems and processes to manage all software and software related assets through each and every stage of their lifecycle (to an agreed scope).
That last bit in brackets is my addition; scope is far too often not given the time of day and should be used mantra-like to prevent project/programme creep.
This definition is often physically embodied by the production of an audit and reconciliation report – i.e. the number of installs vs. rights to use evidence/licenses etc. which can then be haggled over between a client and a vendor. Such a report was traditionally referred to as an Effective License Position (ELP).
Legacy approaches to the counting of licenses and the absence of Software Asset Management suite sophistication, saw to it that “one install = one license” was deemed fit for purpose (yet whilst effective, is not terribly efficient) And indeed, if you were to follow the Microsoft (MS SOM) approach, it takes you down a path of reconciling license fees owed, prior to applying processes and practices that could lower those license fees! (tut-tut!)
So as to distinguish itself from other players in the marketplace, Flexera devised the phrase SLO (software license optimisation) which highlighted how their tool did have the requisite technology in place to conduct the work around extracting use rights such as multiple install rights, second use rights, downgrade and upgrade rights etc. (specifically a Product Use Rights Library – PURL, in conjunction with an Application Recognition Library (ARL) and a SKU database)
Many in the room that evening (as Software Asset Management Professionals) might apply those rights manually or with Software Asset Management suites at their disposal (FNMP is not the only product that can do this) and so would struggle to distinguish between Software Asset Management and SLO.
However, I want you to put a marker in your diary for next week’s blog – as I put forward an idea that SLO is not the pinnacle of achievement in Software Asset Management.