The challenges of effective SAM
Implementing SAM necessitates educating end-users, who must see the effect that their decisions about software purchases and the cloud have on organisational compliance and risk mitigation.
From licence optimisation to managing the complexities of software in a cloud environment, an effective software asset management (SAM) approach does not come without its challenges. But in the connected business landscape, these must be overcome if an organisation is to grow as effectively as possible.
Implementing SAM requires a careful balance of managing on-premises solutions with cloud offerings. This extends to implementing the policies and procedures required to integrate all aspects of the solutions, as well as establishing a SAM competency at the organisation.
However, this requires buy-in from leadership. SAM is not a tick-box exercise but something that must be taken seriously. It is a key process that can significantly improve business efficiency (not to mention reduce costs). Of course, implementing SAM also necessitates educating end-users. They must see the effect that their decisions about software purchases and the cloud have on organisational compliance and any associated risk mitigation taking place.
Crucially, if the C-suite does not accept the value of SAM, then nobody in the company will. Part of this entails gaining an understanding of the added value that SAM can bring to the organisation. To this end, the CTO must be convinced of the merits of a SAM approach, given the investment required, if it is to be implemented properly. Moreover, SAM has a knock-on effect through to procurement and finance, who must also get to grips with the approach and why it should be used.
Once a company has decided on going the SAM route, implementation will depend largely on its maturity cycle, especially when it comes to the legacy systems that are in place. Fortunately, it does not have to be a big bang approach. Instead, SAM can be done in a phased manner. Some companies even focus on a specific solution for SAM and gradually incorporate other systems and processes as they start to see the value.
Part of the challenge is the dual-cloud strategies that many local companies have started to embrace. Now, it is a case of not only understanding a specific vendor but multiple ones, and the varying software dependencies of each. While it will be a while before businesses in the country become completely cloud-based, more of them are adopting a hybrid model, thanks to the availability of local data centres.
A spin-off benefit of the cloud is that software licensing is changing significantly. Traditionally, companies would enter into three-year agreements when buying software. They had to ‘guestimate’ the number of users that will require the software, make a big capex outlay, and hope they use all the licences. This complicated (and complex) approach is no longer needed.
Thanks to SAM, decision-makers get visibility into all the software at their organisation and they can have complete control from a pay-per-use perspective. This is where the value of having a trusted partner becomes clear. In this instance, the partner will want to ensure that the customer is enabled to move to the cloud as effectively as possible. Fundamentally, it comes down to not wanting customers to spend more money than they should.
Furthermore, SAM enables the company to adopt innovative cloud-based technologies because the business can more easily identify where its current gaps are. There is a massive opportunity to grow SAM in the local market. While there are many traditional licencing partners, not many have true cloud capabilities. This is where a managed services-driven SAM approach can deliver significant value, not only for the customer, but for the service provider as well.