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By Libby Bagley, Community Manager at License Dashboard, who specialise in Software Asset Management and licensing expertise for large and fast-growing organisations

Software asset management (SAM) is an ideal way of optimising your software usage to reduce procurement costs, minimise time away from business, as well as reduce risk of non-compliance in the event of a dreaded software audit.

Not only is the return on investment for SAM, across the board, typically around 30% in your first year of implementing an effective solution, but ongoing savings can be made month-on-month that target specific areas of your IT estate.

But whilst traditional software asset management services offer an up to date and effective monthly solution for understanding whether your organisation is compliant or overspending on software licenses, typically they don’t leave much room for acting on the recommendations SAM specialists suggest.

A modern business demands a much more flexible approach to software asset management in order to meet today’s challenges, including the need for higher IT security, remote working, and increased financial pressures. A more flexible approach to SAM would allow managers to switch priorities as new challenges arise, allowing organisations to increase ROI, whilst only being charged for the activities undertaken.

The art of prioritising SAM activity to get the most from your investment

The flexibility of being able to change direction at the drop of a hat can’t be underestimated during a time where the future looks uncertain, workforces are continually switching from office locations to remote working, and it can be difficult to plan too far ahead. With a more agile approach to SAM, if a more pressing issue should arise, focus can be altered, and resources can be shifted accordingly.

This means that the work being carried out is always what’s truly needed, rather than working formulaically through a checklist of items, and it’s this approach that will allow you to demonstrate the full value SAM provides.

Part of what makes this possible is having a clear and continuous view of the work that needs to be undertaken. This list should take into account a risk assessment for each vendor used within the IT estate, as well as the individual goals outlined by that particular organisation. Having this increased visibility on what needs to be worked on also means SAM activities can be stepped up or down as and when needed.

Increased visibility and an agile approach will also see software asset management develop into an area that different teams become more and more involved in. Instead of only being on the radars of SAM managers and IT departments, the impact on other roles such as directors, finance and procurement teams will become more apparent.

A more effective way of measuring and sharing the benefits of SAM

Alongside different areas of a business becoming more aware of the SAM activities being carried out, there also needs to be an emphasis on making the benefits of it as clear as possible to all stakeholders. Managing multiple software licenses can be challenging, but being able to demonstrate cost savings through avoiding duplicate software deployments, over-licensing and avoiding fines through staying compliant, goes a long way towards shining a light on the benefits of license management.

It’s also important to think about how this information is digested. Rather than complicated monthly reports that may be difficult to understand, holding all information for all parties, a modern SAM tool should be accessible to everyone, allowing individual users to log in and find the data most important to them.

For example, whilst the IT department might simply just want to know what software is currently being used, finance and procurement teams will be more interested in the precise costs of each piece of software and who needs it. Directors will benefit from understanding the initial impact of software spend and where immediate cost savings can be made, as well as a wider view of the savings it can generate year-on-year.

By revolutionising the relationship between the SAM team and various digital stakeholders, a new culture can be cultivated whereby software asset management is a more collaborative process, and one that is highly valued and prioritised.

The unpredictable nature of today’s software industry, coupled with the demands facing a modern enterprise, calls for efficient, effective software license management without the rigid schedule associated with a traditional SAM Managed service.

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