Everything You Should Know About Software Asset Management

To put it simply, Software Asset Management, also known as SAM, is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization. Basically, SAM is used to address any potential software licensing issues. It includes all of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control, and protection of the software assets throughout all stages of their lifecycle.


Software Asset Management tools form a subcategory of IT Asset Management tools. They automate activities needed to ensure compliance with software license rights and regulate the software costs. This is achieved through capturing of license agreement terms in code, automation of the collection of software usage data, and calculation of cost implications. The end result being helping companies optimize software spending.


Capabilities of Software Asset Management Tools

As mentioned earlier, Software Asset Management tools are designed to ensure compliance with software licensing terms. They have a few different systems that serve different functions, which in the end come together to ensure optimization and compliance of software licensing.


Application Control Systems 

They restrict and manage software installations on the devices used by the company to improve security and minimize other risks. As much as this system mostly deals with data protection and fraud detection, Digital Guardian is one of the leading vendors that handle these issues.


?  Patch management systems

These ones automate the deployment of software patches to ensure that computers are up-to-date and in compliance with relevant security and productivity requirements.


?  License manager systems 

Such systems provide an insightful archive for license entitlements, which will help a company find out where they are under-licensed and thus at risk of compliance audit or over-licensed, in which case they are overspending money on unnecessary software purchases.


?  Product catalog tools

These tools are used to collect specific product details such as name, edition, version, and license agreement forms for the products used by the business. It helps with normalizing product naming conventions within the company and enables mapping between other development tools used in the composite SAM solution.


?  Request management systems 

They make it easy for employees to request for software applications using a standardized form. This way, companies are able to track software procurement and can then know whether there any additional licenses required to cover the new acquisition.


?  Software metering systems

They enable tracking of software applications usage within the network. Other than that, they can be used to give real-time compliance enforcement for licensed applications.

Other SAM tools include software inventory and software deployment tools, which collect software file details like title, product ID, size, date, direction, and edition from newly installed software and automate and track the installation of new applications, respectively.


Top Benefits of Software Asset Management

While most IT managers maybe implementing the use of SAM tools to ensure compliance with licensing agreements and avoid potential penalties, there are plenty of other benefits that could accrue from their use. 


?    Cost Savings

Software Asset Management enables companies to simplify their business systems. As a result, they gain greater control over costs as well as the knowledge required to direct future investment decisions. A company can shed off over 30% in software spending costs, but it highly depends on how decentralized IT buying is within the company and also the contracts negotiated with software vendors.


?   Frees Up Labor Resources

By automating the process of software licensing processing, a company can eliminate up to 50% of administrative activities. This will free up resources as well as the workload of the IT department, enabling them to focus on other activities that potentially add value to the company.

?    Decreased Compliance Risks

Most corporations get audit requests at least once every year. By using Software Asset Management tools, a company doesn’t have much to worry about when they receive this request. This is because they know they are well in compliance since everything has been sorted out by the SAM tools.


Over Licensing Issues That Software Asset Management Will Prevent

As it may have been mentioned before, software asset management plays a big role in reducing over licensing. This is because most companies are afraid of a software licensing shortage that they end up acquiring more licenses than they need. Below are some of the software licensing issues solved by software asset management.


?   Uncontrolled Installations

Some companies have put in measures to ensure that only certain people have rights to make installations in the computers used by the company (administrator rights). These can be sometimes inconvenient as it slows down the momentum when someone has to wait for an authorized person to grant permission for software installation. To avoid this, other companies would much rather give everyone the authority to make their installations, which can lead to the installation of unnecessary programs. With SAM, companies can control installations while still ensuring the workflow and momentum are not disrupted. 


?  Standardization of Contracts

More often than not, companies with a lot of software contracts have plenty of over licensing. With many contracts, it is hard to keep an overview of the organization's license entitlements. As such, you find a scenario where if there is a need for a new piece of software, instead of going through the hundreds of contracts to find if the software is covered, it is easier to just buy a new license. If this goes on, you find that a company has more licenses than they need. The right SAM tools can help avoid this.


Software Asset Management is a very important practice, and every company, especially large corporations, should adopt it. Not only does it make it easier to comply with license agreements, it also prevents over licensing, which in turn reduces costs and effectively improves the bottom line of the company, something that everyone wants. The secret to successful Software Asset Management is investing in the right technology and getting a team of experienced professionals to oversee the whole process.