The global IT Asset Management community is set to descend upon Olympia London this week for ITAM Conference 2016, and we can expect lots of fascinating panels and presentations. However, an observer would be forgiven for asking – when it comes to Software Asset Management (SAM), is there anything really new worth discussing?
With SAM, everything can appear stuck in a state of familiar, semi-stasis. And despite all the SAM experts, how many can offer anything like what customers really want and need – a simple, transparent, appraisal of their licensing entitlement with their various vendors?
The times, though, may be a-changin’. Certainly this is the message that 1E will be bringing to the ITAM community this week.
At the heart of 1E’s message is the new SAM standard ISO 19770-3 (ratified on April 15th after years of development). Jason Keogh, 1E’s SAM Product VP, edited the standard, and is keen to communicate why it’s such a potential game changer – you could even say potential disruptor – to the ecosystem.
“SAM is ultimately about counting up what you’ve bought and what you own,” explains Keogh. “So, counting up out what license demand you have based on the software you have deployed. In theory, when you take one away from the other, you should be left with your compliance position. Do you have more licenses than you need, too few, or are you in the Goldilocks zone?”
The reality, of course, is that the relationship between license demand and software is by no means clear. “They’re not the same units,” says Keogh. “It’s like trying to subtract five dogs from six yellows: it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Some licenses, for example, might have the metric ‘processor’. You might think this would make it as simple as counting how many CPU’s are in machines running the software, but this is a level of simplicity that typically doesn’t exist.
Oracle, for example, has a complex definition of a “processor” license, whereby it isn’t uncommon for a single CPU to require multiple “processor” licenses. In addition, when customers buy something off a re-seller or vendor, there’s rarely a meaningful record of what’s been bought. You might have a procurement record, receipt and invoice saying you bought 50 licenses from Oracle, but in almost all cases, you simply won’t have the necessary level of detail needed to understand your compliance position, or to respond to an audit.
What’s innovative and significant about 19770-3 is that it provides a standardized schema for data relating to software license transactions.
Keogh explains how it works:
“You can have any metric you want, but you put the name of this metric into a field called ‘metric name’, and what type of metric it is in a field called “metric type”, and you define what that means. All of the definitions go into standardized and known places in the schema.
“The introduction of this standard means you can record the details: the product, the vendor, the quantity, the metric, the definition of that metric, the rights, the limitations, the valid versions, the valid editions, maintenance, maintenance expiry dates, the type of licenses, whether it’s a perpetual subscription, etc. – all of that stuff is defined in standardized ways.”
As vendors and re-sellers start adopting this standard, customers will be empowered by a standardized set of data which can be read in the same way by every SAM tool.
Right now there’s only one SAM tool on the market that reads this standard – 1E’s AppClarity.
This, however, is set to change. In the meantime, 1E is making a call to action to every company in the world that, whenever they buy software from any vendor, they request that that vendor supply them with a 19770-3 compliant tag.
If you’re attending the ITAM Conference 2016, talk to a member of our SAM team. Won’t be joining the Software Asset Management pros in London this year? Contact us to learn more about ISO 19770-3 and AppClarity.