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About ten times a day someone tells me that Software Asset Management is so difficult and expensive. In my humble opinion, that’s totally wrong.
After all it is nothing more than using Common Sense, or horse sense!
When you are a company you’ll use ICT assets (I’d like to see one running its business without any!!), and you’ll have to perform some kind of IT or Software Asset Management. Depending on the size of your company and the importance of your brand this will cost you more or less effort.
Stating that you’re not at risk is passé; everybody in the professional world is at risk. And although Adobe seems to steer away from the audit ’violence’ statements, there still are a few thousand others (software publishers) remaining.
The base is quite simple: When using hard- and software, you’ll have to capture the usage and your entitlement. Nothing different from the bicycle manufacturer administrating frame numbers or a hospital administrating the hospital beds for different purposes.
It’s simply put an asset administration of the means needed to run your business.
Are you taking a risk neglecting this? Certainly!
This very basic administration needs two information sources: What’s installed (usage), and what is my entitlement (use rights).
This base can be extended with numerous variables. And depending on the software brand you are using, the variables are sometimes inevitable. It will be a tedious journey. Confucius already said this ages ago: every journey, no matter how far or how difficult starts the same: take the first step.
And the first step is measuring the usage. If you’re not a large organization, you could even make use of the free tools available to discover your IT environment. I consciously lead you towards electronic discovery as the manual method becomes more and more risky, with the evolution of hard- and software environments. When you’re in a medium business or enterprise there’s actually no valid reason anymore to not have the perfect discovery toolset. It’s been said before: how can you manage what you don’t know. So select the tool that suits your company best – and don’t be upset when you find that there’s no solution (yet) that fits all needs. Get some help from an independent expert who’s done this before.
After you’ve discovered your usage and built your inventory you can apply the applicable license rules and metrics and create your ‘Demand position’, or: how many licenses do I need for this usage.
The logical next step (or simultaneous) is to find out how many licenses (entitlement) you own. As every company, small or large, has and administration for the finances, logistics, etc. It shouldn’t be too hard to build an administration containing your license contracts. For larger companies, I would recommend a suitable license management tool. But if you cannot produce a solid, reliable administration because you’re lacking data/information, you could turn to your reseller(s) and ask for your purchase record.
Basically you should be able to detect now if you’re at risk or not, with your hardware and software assets. Just by reconciling the usage and the entitlement data, you should be able to verify your position. And if you’re not sure, hire a proper license expert to assist you.
Do this brand by brand, selecting the highest contract value first, next the most installations, next, etcetera, etcetera.
Not too big of an undertaking so far, I guess. Although I can hear the ifs and buts even before I published this story, and know they’re mostly very valid, I still think the focus should be on that first step on a journey with beautiful sights, dreadful depths and challenges, dark and sinister woods, bends, potholes and a glorious goal: being able to ascertain that your software assets bring real value to your company.
I’ll be writing a little more on the adventures during this journey in my next blogs (as I did before in earlier blogs) and hope to help you shine a light or simplify some tough looking challenges in licensing and software asset management.
When you thought to be clever and have taken a giant leap instead of first step, you probably already know that just following the first steps might have been the easiest way. Don’t be ashamed to back up a little and let us help you reach that mutual goal.
SAM is nothing but common sense when done step by step. It’s a journey that will enrich the insights in your company, and you’ll return as a richer person (some material, some psychological)