Holistic approach to SAM
Many companies still regard Software Asset Management (SAM) solely as a tactical measure in order to take the pressure off audits and compliance. But in the meantime such projects also have a strategic aspect: If companies take an integrated approach, then SAM contributes directly to value creation.
Virtualization, new licensing metrics and hybrid infrastructures make license management increasingly complex. This is why the pure accounting of licenses will remain important as they are the foundation for any further action. However, according to a current Gartner study the quality of IT processes and a concrete contribution to the value-add comes more into focus, a license balance report is no longer the only focus of SAM.
To make SAM more than just “counting, measuring and weighing” software licenses and users, one should look at the bigger picture. SAM has to move from an ad-hoc to a proactive strategic instrument. In particular, linking with the big IT issues of cloud readiness and security, as well as the very error prone database licensing (e.g. SQL), offers the greatest potential to generate value-add.
An integrated approach to SAM starts where the tactical measure ends: The license balance report, prepared by SAM experts, compares commercial and technical data with the applicable license metrics of the software producers and ensures a consistent approach for integrated data administration. The collected data can then be used for several IT trend topics, which at first glance do not have so much in common with SAM.
Results from the field
That the idea of creating value trough SAM is more than a theory proves a look at real-world applications. For example, SAM experts were able to reveal security gaps at a healthcare company by matching several data sources in order to find breaches of standards and security guidelines. Besides missing a sustainable antivirus program, Axians was able to detect shadow IT at the customer side: a whole environment, established for test purposes alongside the official process. With an appropriate IT security plan, these gaps were closed and a comprehensive security solution now ensures a secure and cost effective IT environment.
Furthermore, SAM data can help with decision making when it comes to the use of cloud services. With an integrated approach, the collected data can be used to develop a cloud concept, which is based on the employees’ needs and demands. To this end, basic information about existing infrastructure, capacity and possible compatibility with cloud products, helps to build a comprehensive decision-making base – on a technical, licensing and financial scale. Besides infrastructure and license data, it also takes into consideration the user application as well as existing or desired security guidelines. This way the company finds out whether the current IT infrastructure is pragmatic, efficient and geared towards the future business purpose. Furthermore, this enables the conception, establishment and implementation of useful security concepts.
In addition, if companies are already active in the cloud, SAM offers a benefit. As user demand for user-friendly services is constantly on the rise, many companies lack integrated usage concepts to meet demands and avoid uncontrolled proliferation – which can merely happen through the use of Dropbox as storage space or the use of business emails on personal devices via Office 365. An analysis of the SAM project data will expose why the respective activities are taking place. Afterwards demand-based reactions can be drafted and implemented, for example the consolidation of file storage systems or the definition of standard solutions for user demands. This leads to increased employee satisfaction, secure software usage and reduced costs for managing several solutions.
Challenging SQL licensing
Not only can unknown or cloud-based environments be a challenge, the field of databases also holds risks, but also potential opportunities. If, for example, a company is planning an SQL consolidation project, then finding the correct dimensioning and choosing the best license contract can often be a challenge. Detailed analysis and performance measurement shows utilization and database capacity information.
Due to the utilization of previously collected data, SAM cannot only cover licensing rights aspects, but also adds real value for upcoming IT decisions. Particularly when it comes to achieving savings through targeted consolidation. For this, a corresponding analysis of previously collected infrastructure data of a manufacturing company was carried out. Together with the company’s desired application, as well as licensing rights aspects, this information was used to develop the best holistic concept of infrastructure from a technical, economical and licensing rights point of view and a sizing and licensing plan was developed accordingly. As a result, the manufacturer was able to save approximately 21 percent in software costs and operation.
Win-win situation for providers and users
In summary, it becomes very evident that an integrated SAM approach is a value-added contribution toward IT and company success. A decisive success factor is the clever processing of existing collected data. A prerequisite is proper planning to design an integrated concept. This is the only way that SAM can become a targeted instrument, which is not only driven by outside pressure.