Software Asset Management: Organizing Dispersed Assets

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Calender
May 10, 2024
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As per current reports, managing software assets at the workplace has become a lot more chaotic.

According to a study by Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet, unauthorized software usage, tracking license compliance, and maximizing software utilization are major issues that organizations face.

As a result, this could lead to soaring costs, security vulnerabilities, and potential legal repercussions.

This is where software asset management (SAM) tools come in. Implementing a strong SAM strategy will bring order to the disarray, optimizing your software investments while mitigating risks.

Imagine having complete visibility and control over your SaaS stack, ensuring you manage your assets effectively and track them with workflows.

Read on as we show you how software asset management can help bring order to the chaos, guiding you through best practices and everything else.

What Is Software Asset Management?

Software asset management involves keeping track of your digital assets like licenses, subscriptions, contracts, and SaaS renewal dates.

In other words, it's about organizing and managing the software you've purchased or subscribed to. With SAM, you gain complete control over these assets, ensuring you use them effectively without chaos or confusion.

Why Is Software Asset Management Important?

Maintaining compliance with software licensing agreements is critical to effective software asset management. Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions set by vendors can result in severe consequences for your organization.

Monitoring and managing software licenses ensures your organization remains fully compliant, safeguarding it from the detrimental impacts of regulatory violations and protecting your reputation in the industry.

Additionally, SAM enables you to optimize your software spending by eliminating redundant or underutilized licenses. Here are the other reasons why SAM is crucial:

  • It provides complete visibility into your software stack, so you know exactly what you have and where it's deployed.
  • It helps mitigate security risks by identifying unauthorized or outdated softwares.
  • It streamlines software procurement and renewal processes, ensuring you never miss a renewal date.
  • It helps you to accurately forecast software you might need in the future software, based on usage data.

What Are the 3 Pillars of Asset Management?

The three pillars of effective asset management are:

1. Inventorying Assets

To manage your assets effectively, you must first have a comprehensive inventory of what you own. This involves meticulously cataloging all your software licenses, subscriptions, and digital assets.

Additionally, you need to track details like purchase dates, expiration dates, assigned users, and deployment locations.

Having an up-to-date and accurate inventory is the foundation for making the best possible decisions about your assets.

2. Assessing Conditions and Hazards

Once you have a complete inventory, the next step is to assess each asset's condition and potential risks.

For instance, you should identify outdated or unsupported software versions that pose security vulnerabilities. You also have to regularly review license agreements to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.

This pillar involves proactively identifying hazards and taking preventive measures.

3. Maintaining Assets

The final pillar is maintaining your assets to maximize their value and lifespan. This includes tasks like renewing licenses on time, reassigning underutilized licenses, and decommissioning obsolete software.

You have to implement processes for software updates and patches to keep your assets secure and up-to-date.

Regular maintenance ensures your assets remain in optimal condition and serve their intended purpose.

These three pillars - inventorying, assessing, and maintaining - form an interconnected cycle.

By diligently following this cycle, you will effectively manage your software assets, reduce costs, mitigate risks, and maintain a well-organized SaaS portfolio.

Challenges of Managing Diverse Software Assets

It is never an easy task to manage a diverse software asset. You will likely face many challenges that can quickly spiral into chaos if not appropriately addressed. Let's see some of the major hurdles you might be facing:

Complexity of Licensing Models

SaaS vendors offer various licensing models, from perpetual to subscription-based and even concurrent user models. Navigating through these complex licensing agreements is not an easy task.

You must understand the nuances of each model and ensure compliance across your organization. This is extremely difficult, especially when dealing with multiple vendors and licensing terms.

Lack of Visibility and Control

Without a centralized system, maintaining an up-to-date inventory of your SaaS assets is one of the hardest things to do. You might have limited visibility into who uses what software and where it's deployed.

This lack of visibility and control will lead to you struggling to track who has access to what licenses, where they are deployed, and when they expire. You will have compliance issues and spend excessively on unused or redundant assets.

Fragmented Tools and Processes

Many organizations still rely on manual processes and spreadsheets to manage their software licenses and renewals.

Not only is this approach error-prone and time-consuming, but it also makes it challenging to integrate with other IT systems.

This fragmentation can lead to inefficiencies, missed renewal deadlines, and excess spending on software you're not using.

Budgetary Constraints and Cost Optimization

Balancing software procurement with budget constraints is a delicate dance. On one hand, you need to ensure your team has access to the necessary tools to remain productive and competitive.

On the other hand, overspending on unused or underutilized software licenses can drain your resources.

Finding the sweet spot between operational efficiency and cost optimization is a constant challenge.

Auto-Renewal of Contracts and Rise of Unused Licenses

Imagine this scenario: you've procured a SaaS license, but due to changes in your organization's needs or employee turnover, that license goes unused.

Unfortunately, many contracts have auto-renewal clauses, which means you could be stuck paying for software you no longer need. These unused licenses often go unnoticed, leading to excess spending and wasted resources.

You must implement a strategic and proactive approach to it asset management to address these challenges.

Implementing a strong SAM will streamline processes, increase visibility, and ensure compliance across your software landscape.

Effective software asset management brings order to the chaos. It helps you optimize your investments, mitigate risks, and focus on driving your business forward.

Benefits of Software Asset Management

1. Cost Savings

With SAM, you gain complete visibility into your SaaS portfolio. This visibility will allow you to identify and eliminate redundant or underutilized licenses.

This optimization ensures you don't overspend on software you don't need, resulting in significant cost savings for your organization.

2. Compliance and Risk Mitigation

Failing to comply with software licensing agreements can lead to hefty fines and legal issues.

SAM helps you stay compliant by providing accurate license metrics tracking and usage monitoring. Additionally, it helps mitigate security risks by identifying unauthorized or outdated software installations.

3. Maximized Software Utilization

By having a centralized view of your SaaS assets, you can ensure they are being used to their full potential.

SAM enables you to reallocate licenses and optimize usage, preventing wastage and maximizing your SaaS investments.

4. Streamlined Procurement and Renewals

SAM helps automate the procurement and renewal processes. It ensures you never miss a renewal date or accidentally let a crucial software license expire. This streamlining allows you to save time while minimizing disruptions.

5. Informed Decision-Making

With comprehensive data and analytics provided by SAM tools, you can make informed decisions about your software investments. This includes forecasting future needs, identifying trends, and making the best choices that align with your organization's goals.

Implementing a Software Asset Management Program

Implementing an effective software asset management program is an ongoing process. It requires a structured approach and commitment from your organization. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Appoint a SAM Champion and Team

The first step in implementing a SAM program is to appoint a dedicated SAM champion and assemble a cross-functional team.

This team should include representatives from IT, procurement, finance, and other relevant departments. Having a SAM champion ensures accountability and drives the program forward.

2. Conduct a Software Audit

Next, conduct a comprehensive software audit to establish a baseline inventory of all your IT assets.

This includes identifying installed software, licenses owned, and their respective usage patterns.

A thorough audit is crucial for gaining visibility into your current SaaS stack.

3. Define Clear Policies and Procedures

Once you have a clear picture, define policies and procedures for software acquisition, deployment, and usage. These guidelines should align with your organization's goals and industry best practices.

Well-defined policies ensure consistency and compliance across all departments.

4. Choose and Implement a software asset management tool

After establishing policies, choose and implement a robust SAM tool that suits your organization's needs. This platform will be the central repository for managing your software assets, tracking licenses, and generating reports.

Investing in the right SAM tool is essential for streamlining processes and maximizing the benefits of your SAM program.

5. Ongoing Monitoring and Optimization

Finally, ongoing monitoring and optimization are crucial for the long-term success of your SAM program.

Regularly review your software inventory, usage patterns, and license agreements. Identify opportunities for optimization, such as reallocating underutilized licenses or renegotiating contracts.

Continuous improvement ensures your SAM program remains effective and adapts to your organization's evolving needs.

Conclusion

Effective software asset management, in addition to SaaS management, is no longer an option—it's a necessity. Implementing a robust SAM strategy will bring order to the chaos of managing your organization's SaaS assets.

SAM has many benefits, from streamlining software license management, cost savings and compliance to maximized software utilization and informed decision-making.

Take action now to ensure you're on the right track. Review your current processes, appoint a dedicated SAM team, and invest in the right tools.

Continuously monitor and optimize your SaaS stack to meet your evolving needs. When you embrace software asset management, you will unlock the full potential of your software investments while mitigating risks and reducing wastage.

Don't let unmanaged software assets hold your organization back. Embrace SAM and take control of your digital resources today with a SAM tool that has the right capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the role of a software asset management analyst?

A software asset management analyst's primary role is to track, manage, and optimize an organization's software licenses and usage.

2. What are the types of software assets?

The main software asset types include purchased licenses, subscriptions, cloud services, and internally developed software applications.

3. What is the software asset management lifecycle?

The software asset management lifecycle typically involves acquiring, deploying, maintaining, and retiring software assets over time.

Written by
Joel Platini
Content Writer and Marketer, CloudEagle
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