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 of 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 use, 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 from 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% or more merely by having technical staff at the end of a phone "just in case."