New Breed of Software Asset Management Solutions Can Save You (More) Money

Steve Schmidt
If you haven't taken a second look at your software asset management practices lately, you may be throwing millions of dollars out the window. Today's brave new world of on-demand licensing, virtual environments and cloud-based access to software adds even more complexity to the already-difficult task of managing your software estate. Enterprises typically spend in the range of 20 to 35 percent of their IT budget on software licenses and maintenance. So, software represents an area of the business that warrants a mature management process. Many organizations have taken up the challenge, to varying degrees, but typically much more can be done to implement a fully optimized software asset and license management program.

One recent estimate pegged the amount of money wasted on maintenance for unused software and shelfware at $15.3 billion in the United States and United Kingdom alone. While this number is significant, it fails to take into consideration license entitlements that can be leveraged to further reduce software spend. Needless to say, steps can and should be taken to minimize spending on unused software. But an optimized license management program can also apply entitlements to ensure that license consumption is minimized. In addition, it can help select appropriate license models to meet organizational demands while reducing ongoing software costs.

A software asset management program can help recover up to 30 percent of software spend in the first year and five to 10 percent per year thereafter, according to estimates by Gartner Research. An optimized solution should be able to exceed these rates of savings.

The first step is to understand the maturity and effectiveness of your existing asset management processes. By reviewing the policies and processes already in place, an organization will be able to identify areas for improvement and/or resource gaps. This in turn will facilitate corrective action to reduce the costs and risks associated with the management of IT assets and promote adoption of methodologies for improvement. Organizations should follow this four-step process for software asset management assessment and improvement:

  • Assess your current software asset management processes.
  • Perform a �gap analysis' between current processes and best practice.
  • Decide on a strategy for improvement that will offer the best possible ROI.
  • Continue to make regular assessments and analyses of your processes.

Identifying where strengths and weaknesses lie within the organization requires maturity assessment modeling. An organization should devise a set of key questions around various aspects of its IT processes to measure their maturity. Key stakeholders should then be asked to answer these questions independently of each other.

Typical questions include:

  • Is there a written software asset management policy?
  • Do we have a senior executive sponsor with the organization?
  • Is there a policy for authorized software?
  • Do we purchase software centrally?
  • Is there a central license repository?
  • Do we collect an accurate inventory of hardware and software assets?
  • Are unused licenses re-harvested?
  • Are staff allowed to install their own software onto PCs?
  • Do we have a tool for managing and optimizing software licenses?
  • Do we have an authorized vendor/supplier list?
  • When a computer is retired, are the associated licenses re-harvested?

Once the answers have been collated, then a series of weighted measurements should be used to determine where the key issues lie.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 5, 2011 6:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Lepide Software Asset Management is an enterprise-wide software license and compliance management tool, which is designed to control organizational investment, meet software license compliance, optimize software licenses, keep legal issues miles away, increase ROI, and enhance employees satisfaction. It list software installed on multiple workstations throughout the network, optimize software licenses, organize licenses, and save money with Lepide Software Asset Management Tool. Reply
Aug 9, 2011 2:08 PM Scott Braden Scott Braden  says:
Thanks Steve, this is a good SAM 101 overview. I agree that entitlements optimization is where many of the benefits of SAM convert to real cash savings... but the pitfalls are many. For example, your comment regarding secondary use via Microsoft Select Agreements is a bit misleading / outdated. This is not a ding on you, since the terms are so complex and constantly changing that even full-time experts like me are constantly double-checking terms and use cases. This is one reason we advise clients to seek outside help in dealing with licensing suppliers; very few full time IT or ITAM staff have the depth of knowledge to win a terms argument with a supplier like MSFT. Cheers, Scott Reply

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