The mistakes that make software asset management difficult and how to avoid...

The mistakes that make software asset management difficult and how to avoid them

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Sometimes SAM can be more difficult than it needs to be. We look at some of the mistakes an organisation can make when it comes to software asset management and how best to avoid them.

Software asset management (SAM) can be a time consuming task requiring many people to carry it out. It is difficult enough even when users do what they are supposed to do. Failure to compile and produce accurate installation information can lead to costly errors.

So what are the common errors organisations make when it comes to software asset management and how can these be avoided?

SAM is not a silver bullet

Many organisations think of implementing SAM as a quick fix or silver bullet that will somehow sort everything out there and then. While the tools on the market are great, it needs to be backed up with the right processes and the right people in order to make this a success.

Doing everything at once

Another mistake enterprises make is trying to do everything at once. Deploying a SAM solution is a journey and should be done bit-by-bit. All too often an organisation will spend vast amounts of their budget without anything to show for it. This can lead to such projects begin shut down by upper management.

Having a thorough roadmap is essential and the ISO 19770-1 standard can help in devising one. This demonstrates that the entire enterprise should support the SAM deployment and vice versa.

Making SAM too complex

A SAM project can get out of hand and become an untamed beast that is unwieldy and cumbersome. Getting this back on track requires the organisation to get back to basics. This means figuring out what sources you should use that are reliable and rebuilding the model from there. Implementing things such as automated approvals, financial chargebacks and software stack rationalisations are great but these need to be kept as simple as possible at the outset.

Forgetting about software in a merger or acquisition

Software is an asset that often gets overlooked when companies merge or get acquired. While it brings a lot of value to a firm, it can also create a lot of risk. Don’t assume that when purchasing a company, the software assets are thrown in. Even if they are included in the handover terms, you must document this. Licenses have to be novated to the new organisations and proof of this retained.

Don’t assume outsourcing means no responsibility for SAM

Outsourcing has become mainstream for many organisations but while you might outsource a lot of things in your organisation, software license compliance is never going to be one of them.

You need to ensure that you know the impact on your license risks from third party services and the decisions they make. Vendors will always expect you to account for all software usage and that you have the correct licenses to cover deployment. Even when you outsource SAM itself, compliance is always going to be that the buck that stops with you.

BYOD and your licenses

Users may think it is easy to bring their smartphone and tablet into work, but from an SAM point of view, things are a little more complex. Especially when it comes to Microsoft licensing rules. Do you need to license the software on someone else’s device when they bring it into the organisations or do you license access, such as when accessing email on an Exchange server? If so, its very likely you need device Client Access Licenses for devices provided you haven’t already purchased User Client Access Licenses.

Did you forget to re-harvest software licenses?

Many organisations forget that when PCs are decommissioned, there are still software applications on them with their associated licenses. You must not forget to take these back.

Another thing that is universally overlooked is software installed on machines that is never used. Go beyond simple deployment versus entitlement and use your discovery tools to see what is actually being used. Applications sitting idle on a machine are wasting tons of money. Run a report today and see what is and isn’t being used.

Phil is the Products & Services Director at Crayon and has been an integral part of the Senior Management team for over 10 years, having joined the business in 2005. With over 20 years of ITAM experience, Phil is credited with being the original architect of the Crayon SAM-iQ platform.