One of the most interesting questions received during our recent Get Visibility and Take Control of Your Software Licences webinar was “How significant is a software asset management program when it comes to SaaS and hosted software solutions?”
It’s a valid question. Guest speaker, Analyst Amy DeMartine from Forrester showed in her presentation that 29% of organizations are currently deploying SaaS solutions. By 2017, that proportion will have reached 42%. Given this huge growth, and the fact that cloud-based software solutions automatically provide customers with usage reports, it’s reasonable to wonder just where SAM will fit in over the coming years.
A long transformation
The first thing to consider is that while cloud-based software is seeing exponential growth and may eventually eradicate desktop-based software, this is likely to be a very long transformation. And, as Amy DeMartine pointed out, while many software products – even the majority of them – may move to the cloud, it still seems likely that we will continue to use desktop-licensed products for years to come – years during which period organizations will need SAM processes to look after and maintain their existing investment.
There are also other practicalities to think of. 1E subject matter expert Peter Beruk pointed out that while many of us in countries with mature networking technology tend to think solely in terms of the bandwidth capabilities available to us, it’s worth remembering that in many markets there simply isn’t sufficient network bandwidth to move everything to the cloud. For global businesses, this will create a need to maintain a hybrid environment in which both cloud-based and desktop-based software are managed and maintained seamlessly.
SAM in the Cloud?
Does this mean that companies that achieve a 100% cloud-based environment will no longer need SAM? Hardly. What it does mean, however, is that SAM will evolve into a discipline of consolidation. Think of it this way: a SaaS provider will furnish customers with usage reports for their products – reports that aren’t designed to be aggregated with reports for other solutions. Therefore, companies using multiple vendors will have many different reports to review across the business – and will struggle to gain visibility over them without a tool to pull them together. SAM processes will provide the necessary functionality to combine these reports with each other and any desktop software reports, providing complete visibility over vital information such as usage and TCO.
Ultimately, the shift towards cloud-based solutions means that SAM processes will need to become even more finely tuned and nuanced, with the ability to mine information from many different sources. It’s something every SAM professional needs to start considering – and we were pleased to shed some light on the issue in our webinar.
Did you miss the webinar? If so, don’t worry – you can watch the presentation on software licensing by Amy DeMartine and Peter Beruk as well as the Q&A session.