How to select a trustworthy SAM solution

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I see an increase of SAM experts stumbling over each other with messages to the market where they think a huge SAM battle needs to be fought with expertise. And it must be mind boggling to all those people looking for assistance to select the right expert to help them out. The more I look at it, the more I see three different streams in experts:

The tool driven expert
The process drive expert
The combined expert
As organizations are not aware of the real SAM issues ahead, they tend to follow the stream that’s most heavily marketed, or screams the loudest. And currently, that’s the tool driven stream. Lots of consultancy organizations are backed by some very aggressive marketing-operating SAM tooling providers. These tooling providers are not really different from the software publishers: they live by the licenses sold and the annual maintenance and support fees! If you think about it, it’s a very strange situation. The SAM tool publishers are fighting their direct colleagues with the same strategies they used before….

I do understand consultancy organizations supporting these publishers, as they help them to market, and get their brand out there. The problem is that they’re now dependently selling the same solution for every problem, a one size fits all. When you have bought this one size and try it out, you’ll see that lots of those buyers aren’t that happy about the fit or function. Not every organizations needs a sledgehammer, some need a big wrench, others need a brush and some need to redefine and re-tool everything.

The second group of experts are the consultants that solve everything with a well-designed process. It’s a start, but still there’s a big flaw in there: you’re missing out on reliable data as the human factor is still the center of the process. It can work, although it mostly ends up with lots of steps and checks and uncertain positions. Without a solid tool you cannot strive to full reliability and you’ll need a big department with expensive license management specialists.

The group of experts that really look at their client and define what processes need to be altered, implemented or removed and what kind of toolset fits best for the organization seem to be the solution. But the independent consultant is hard to find, as the SAM industry has become a part of the Software publishing industry, with all the perks that come with that.

If you want to start independent, you could consider following the ISO19770 standard to build your processes and select your best fit tool set. The standard is currently very quickly adapting to reality and easier to understand and to comply to. And if you think that this only applies to enterprises, you’re wrong. Most standards are now also adapted for VSE’s (very small entities).

Where to start? Go to your national representative, or send me a ping to help you out.

Nico Blokland

SAM expert, evangelist at, Dutch representative for ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 7-WG21 (ISO19770).

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