SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes

Rory Canavan, Software Asset Management Consultant, SAM Charter | 9/26/2013 | 16 comments

Rory Canavan
This summer, I was lucky enough to speak about software asset management (SAM) at the IBSMA SAMSUMMIT conference in Chicago. It was a great event, but one thing that struck me as quite odd was the general feeling that the primary driver for SAM is software licensing compliance -- that somehow, adherence to licensing terms and conditions was the guiding light for instituting a SAM program in the first place.

SAM is the right blend of people, systems, and processes required to manage your software and software-related assets through each and every stage of their lifecycle, so it is certainly a key part your software licensing compliance efforts. Yet, while compliance is a laudable goal, it’s not what pays the bills... and it’s certainly not what is going to get the CFO excited.

What will get a CFO excited is saving money. If your SAM program is not, at the very least, covering its expenses in license utilization, then perhaps it’s time for you to check the job sites for vacancies nearby -- but SAM can do more for your finances than merely pay its own way.

A good SAM program ensures that a company knows how many licenses it has at its disposal, so that it doesn’t waste more money buying unnecessary software. SAM can also see when any software hasn’t been used after a set period of time and see that it is removed and recycled for potential future use. Such software can go back in a license pool and save a company having to purchase new software.

It also ensures that the right versions and editions are being correctly used in your company. Just because your company car has four wheels and an engine, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice of vehicle for off-roading or NASCAR -- the same can be said for software.

Software asset management helps you make sure that support and maintenance is only paid on those titles that actually require support and maintenance. Software vendors can augment their bottom line by 20 percent or more merely by having technical staff at the end of a phone “just in case.”

SAM also provides the extra muscle you might need to detach yourself from the legacy software that’s holding back your company. If you’ve let yourself get too comfortable with software titles that are no longer supported, then you may be bowing to unnecessary financial challenges merely because the prospect of change is thought to be too great. SAM makes it easier to see the true risks of being so averse to change.

Finally, SAM can help you make certain that the architecture meets with the terms and conditions of the software. I mention this because organizations up and down the land seem to have rather naively wandered into the assumption that since a software license gives them the right to access the executable, and that it also gives them the right to install the software in a virtual environment -- but it most definitely does not. Installing the software in a virtual environment is a privilege, and one the software vendors typically expect payment in kind for.

It’s also worth expanding on IT architecture a bit. For those not in the know, various IT scenarios can be implemented to ensure continuity of service in temporary business blackouts or even disaster recovery scenarios. Such back-up and disaster recovery solutions are not by default covered by an existing production license -- each title has its own unique kinks that must be addressed prior to the prospect of any impending software vendor audit.

To say “it’s all about the money” is an over-simplification, but it is an argument that should not be lost when seeking to justify a SAM program. Are you using SAM in your organization yet? Have you seen the cost-saving benefits I've mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below.

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Susan Nunziata   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   10/23/2013 11:40:09 PM
Re: under-utilized software
@Rory: Thanks, great feedback there. I love the comfy-slipper analogy.

I have a friend in higher ed IT who has to deal with some professors at his university who still insist on using an old-fashioned chalk blackboard. Talk about comfy slippers.

What if they're not motivated by either guilt or the opportunity to learn? Are their other motivational tactics that have been used successfully to get the unwilling to accept change? 
Rory Canavan   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   10/23/2013 4:03:05 PM
Re: under-utilized software
Hi Sarah, Within education I have known lecturers try to hang on to seven year old software due to the "comfy slipper" feeling it gives them when teaching. We have had to highlight to such folks that they have an academic "duty of care" to teach students on the latest available software to enhance their job prospects when they enter the marketplace for the first time. For those non-educational hangers-on, it might be worth pointing to dependencies in the IT hierarchy such as compatibility with new operating systems, or upgrading to a version of the legacy software that works on 64 bit processing - try throwing in the temptation of some training for the die-hards if all else fails.
User Ranking: Blogger
Susan Nunziata   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   10/22/2013 1:57:24 PM
Re: under-utilized software
@Certero: thanks for the product overview.

While the information is helpful, it doesn't really address the core real-world questions as far as the challenges of changing mindsets.

Do you have any practical advice for CIOs and others in IT, based on your experiences with clients? Not looking for a sales pitch here, just real-world stories that our community might be able to apply to their own enterprise environments.

Certero   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   10/2/2013 10:45:06 AM
Re: under-utilized software
Hi Susan,

It can be difficult to change user attittudes, however the benefits of modern Software Asset Management technology often outweigh the negatives.

Solutions such as Certero AssetStudio an provide a transparent view of any software estate which can help you to justify investment and gain support from senior management to ensure that IT is continually run as a business. Whereas outdated systems and processes are likely to cost the business more in time and resources.

You can find more information here Hope this helps.
Susan Nunziata   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/30/2013 7:58:45 PM
Re: under-utilized software
@Zaius: Ah, yes, the old "but we've always done it this way" argument. What do you do when you encounter such legacy software (and legacy attitudes from the people who use it)? Do you have any advice for IT professionals on how they might convince such users that it's time to switch to something new?
Rory Canavan   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/29/2013 5:47:14 PM
Re: under-utilized software
@Sara - The primary perk of perpetual licensing is that you only pay for it once; whereas subscription licensing is a continuous cost.  So companies really need to perform a cost/benefit analysis of which IT model suits their business requirements better.  I wouldn't necessarily attribute changes in licensing at the door of SAM, but rather in computing trends generally (cloud computing/virtualisation etc) and how software vendors will seek to maximise licensing revenue from those computing models. 
User Ranking: Blogger
Sara Peters   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/29/2013 4:40:22 PM
Re: under-utilized software
@Rory  Reading about how much SAM can do, it makes me wonder why anyone would even agree to a perpetual license anymore. Do you think that licensing practices are changing, and if so, do you think SAM can claim any credit for that?
Sara Peters   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/29/2013 4:37:36 PM
Re: Re : SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes
@Anand   It sounds like your organiation is getting the most out of its SAM solution. Do you think that most other organization's are using their SAM tools as effectively and efficiently.
CurtisFranklin   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/27/2013 10:06:39 PM
Re: Re : SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes
@Anand, one of the things I believe a company could learn is not that they have too few licenses (though that's possible), but that they have too many. In that case, why not cut down on the number of licenses in inventory, still remain legal, and reduce software cost? I think that's critical, and could be a financial reason to have SAM technology in the first place.
Zaius   SAM Saves Cash, Not Just Compliance Woes   9/27/2013 3:20:45 PM
Re: under-utilized software
"what are we using this for?" in many cases I have seen some legacy softwares being carried on and on without much use. When asked about the usage, the user groups come up withj, "Oh, that one? We use it not very frequently, but we need  it for xyz". In many cases, the users are equipped with better tools, softwares to to do xyz, but they are reluctant to let go the legacy software without any apparant benefit.
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