It has become quite clear that Software Asset Management (SAM) is absolutely necessary when looking to adequately manage software entitlement for large enterprises. However, at an industry level, one factor has become very evident, while yet another factor seems to have been left behind. The item of clarity being that a well-managed SAM practice finds significant time/resource savings for any vendor walking through your door to audit, true-up, or negotiate maintenance, whilst the latter factor – that which was left behind – is the ability to efficiently and continually manage the effects constant technology change has on software waste.
Now, that’s a pretty bold statement about time and effort savings when it comes to vendor entitlement policing. But it is honest and personally I have yet to see an instance where the entire workload/cost associated with this necessary practice returns positive financial dividends. Responses to this statement have been made stating that there used to be a significant time and effort impact before setting proper SAM practices into place, which is accurate and vendor interactions are expedited, but at what cost? A replacement of utilizing systems management tools to perform entitlement footprint assessments, gathering large teams to devise a vendor response which results in numerous discussions with said vendor, and then finally coming to an agreement as to how much is owed due to growth and seeking to avoid misinterpretation of entitlement conditions is costly no matter how quickly you address it. This experience is not pleasant for anyone (except for the one who walked away with a penalty or true-up check, then the experience is very pleasant actually), but the proactive SAM practices provided in response are equally, if not more costly to stand up, staff, and facilitate on an ongoing basis. Not to mention a minimum two year implementation and systems/process adaptation track when adopting said SAM practice and tool-set. So then what is the return on investment for instituting this necessary component? There is some cost avoidance long-term for penalties not incurred but these are unacceptable expenses to begin with. It is very hard to consider this a strong value-add for the business.
This brings me to the second item of what has been largely left behind (note I do not say forgotten or missed, but left behind), that being proactive management of software waste. By proactive management I don’t mean reactively taking a look at what software is no longer being used and still part of growth forecast/maintenance budgeting on a semi-regular basis. I am talking about true proactive software waste management. What the industry really requires today is the ability to continually monitor software usage and take instant action in an automated fashion, no matter how software was deployed/supplied to a device based on policy. This is the other half of the equation which software vendors are not as happy to experience when walking into a SAM armed environment. That being said, in case you have not noticed, most heavy SAM solutions are a component of, or tied to, a major software vendor in some way/shape/form, and this may not be a coincidence when you consider the clarification of my above mentioned “left behind”. In the end you may be looking at spending more money to come to the same costly conclusion a bit faster than before, minus a penalty or just a bit less of a penalty.
This is where 1E lives, empowering our customers as the advocating driver of greater IT efficiency. We are primed to compliment your existing or scoped SAM practice by allowing this overall effort and investment to influence enduring value and savings. This puts you in a position to devise entitlement strategy knowing what you have deployed is providing good value for money. When you take an honest look at this concept, you come to the conclusion that SAM without software waste management is doomed to throw large sums of money after poor or negative value propositions; leaving a SAM team in the position of missing out on the opportunity to fuel cost savings back into the business. In essence, proper software waste management over the entire IT estate (server AND workstation) pays for proper entitlement management for the progressive SAM team.
The only complete answer to this challenge today is AppClarity as it is uniquely capable of linking software usage to a normalized listing of installed applications. Additionally, AppClarity is the only tool of its kind which can automate reclamation of installed software no matter how it was provisioned, in an agentless fashion. To learn more about this independent product, visit https://www.1e.com/appclarity, and for more on 1E’s Software Audit Defence offering see https://www.1e.com/software-license-optimization.