Six steps to SAM

Software asset management (SAM) doesn’t have to be a daunting process. It can be very simple and rewarding if implemented properly. Here are six necessary steps to a successful SAM program (tongue twister eh?):

1.     Know and understand your SLAs for all your software vendors (not all licensing agreements are created  equal), the terms and conditions, and if you have questions, ask your rep or a consultant to explain them to you. Now this seems basic and it should be, but I would be remiss not to mention it here as the first step.

2.     Take an inventory of all of your IT assets – software and hardware. With Oracle entering the hardware business, companies need to be aware that this may be of significance to future ITAM. Keep track of what is currently in use, who has access to it and where it is being used. Is it being access remotely? How many employees are using it at the same time? While this sounds simple enough, take step 2 and tie it back into step 1.

3.    Compare and Contrast your inventory to the most up-to-date software purchasing records to determine whether or not you have assets that are out of compliance. This should also be checked against employee usage – perhaps more than one employee is using the same licensing which does not comply with your SLA on that program.

4.     Fix the problems  once you know what the problem is, uninstall software that is not compliant,  buy additional licenses and re-negotiate your contract(s). You must plan for the needs of the business over the next 12-18 months to determine whether or not additional licenses will be needed in the near term.

5.     Further planning is needed now that you have a clean slate and have fixed compliance issues. Now is the time to implement a plan for the future, which may include developing a repository for assets, purchasing SAM software with an automated discovery tool, or bringing in outside help. It is always a good idea to assign a group of internal managers to oversee the process and of course, get buy-in from the management team (which can be done by showcasing cost savings associated with a proper SAM program). You will also need to develop and market a new set of policies and procedures across your organization that will keep employees from misusing licenses.

6.    Keep it up! After a plan is in place; policies and procedures have been created and communicated; and licensing is up to date, the last step is maintaining the SAM program. Remember to:

  • Continually run reports on your IT assets to ensure that you are remaining in compliance as business  needs change
  • Re-educate employees on IT policies as turnover occurs and/or the business changes.
  • Guard your assets – for example – when an employee leaves the company, be sure that they don’t have copies of your software on their home computers or have a burned disk of your software. You are liable for the terms and conditions, not the ex-employee.

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