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A Programmatic Approach to Software Asset Management – Why It Matters

To realize the full benefits of Software Asset Management (SAM), a programmatic approach is vital. When SAM is treated as a project rather than a program, the gains are not sustainable and can be lost.

In our webinar, Software Asset Management & Application Portfolio Management, Better Together, Chris Hayes explained the importance of a SAM program.

Software Asset Management is all about People, Process, & Technology

Defined as the personnel (dedicated or not) and associated roles both directly involved with and supporting IT & Software Asset Management (ITAM/SAM).

Defined as the activities and workflows developed to implement policy and facilitate the ITAM/SAM strategy.

Defined as the software, tools, or systems leveraged to drive automation, scalability, and repeatability.

People & Process, No/Poorly Used or Implemented Technology: This is a SAM program that lacks scalability and efficiency. Without tools, it’s impossible to scale processes with existing resources to cover the entire enterprise efficiently. Your people will quickly burn out.

People & Technology, No/Poorly Executed Process: This is a SAM program that lacks consistency and structure. As a one-off project or approach, this could potentially be very effective, but SAM is not a one-off project. Not having processes or not executing them well results in a very inconsistent SAM program making it virtually impossible to reap long-term sustainable benefits.

Process & Technology, Without the Right People: This is a SAM program that lacks strategy and adaptability. The people component is essential because every SAM program needs the ability to adapt, which is something that only trained and capable people can direct.

People, Process, & Technology: This is SAM nirvana – a sustainable, scalable, and consistent program.

Software Asset Management is a Capability

It is essential to take a programmatic approach to SAM, it is not a one-time exercise. SAM needs to be built and continuously matured in the organization if you want to see lasting benefits.

Why Software Asset Management is not just a quick exercise:

Stakeholder and Senior buy-in and support.
SAM covers and interacts with so many different teams and lines of business; it can’t be done effectively without buy-in from the top.

This is critical. If you have a process- and policy-driven approach, the first time a process is not followed there should be consequence and escalation. This sets the tone in the organization and ensures that Senior Executives are supporting the mandate of a SAM Program in a real and operational sense.

Organizational budget and resourcing.
SAM needs continued budget and resourcing, which is why a SAM program is much more efficient than a one-time SAM project when properly supported by the organization.

Continuous improvement/continuous activity.
SAM is a discipline that allows you to continuously deliver value to your organization, that’s why it must be a program. The really significant benefits of SAM provide long-term value.

Leveraging of existing PMO capability.
If your organization has a Program Management Office (PMO), you can take advantage of this. This has been beneficial to many of our clients.

Can support mass change/refresh events.
A good Software Asset Management program enables your organization to be agile. You will know what assets exist in your IT environment and where those assets are located. The trustworthy data you’re getting as an output from your SAM program will support any mass change or refresh events.

Prioritized, managed, and coordinated initiatives.
A SAM program is not like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. With SAM, you need to take an analytic and structured approach to learn what should happen first, next, and after that to achieve short, medium, and long-term success. This knowledge leads to the increased success of your organization’s initiatives over the life of the program, and ensures that the SAM Program will support larger organizational strategy.

Business cases developed to support decision process.
To build a successful SAM program, you will be forced to develop a business case. What value is the program delivering to the organization? What will the return on investment be? Your business case will demonstrate the program value and support your initiatives.

Definition and maintenance of software and hardware standards.
Defining standards allows you to manage by exceptions, which saves time and can make your day-to-day job easier.

This all sounds good, but how do we do it, and what does success look like?

Successful SAM Program characteristics:

Creation/engagement of a Steering Committee with C-level support.
The most successful SAM programs have Steering Committees. These committees support buy-in and facilitate the strategy initiatives of the program, increasing your chances of success. The Steering Committee is a powerful tool and a hallmark of a successful program.

Access to data, contracts, agreements, tooling, etc. of project resources.
A SAM program ensures that everyone has access to what they need – data, contracts, agreements, tooling, etc. When the right people have the right data at the right time, good things happen.

Often, there are many siloes, and people are reticent to share data, but this just slows the organization down. When everyone can make decisions with correct data, your program is powerful.

Documentation of Risk Register with communication to business units that carry the risk(s).
The documentation of risks is crucial – if it’s not done well then everyone suffers. Even worse though is not communicating those risks – if you don’t own and communicate the risks then you’re wasting your SAM Team and organization’s time.

Creation of and adherence to an Audit Response Framework.
We recommend standard processes, procedures, and roles/personnel that respond to audits in a structured and sustainable way. When it comes to audit response, you don’t want to be reactive, but rather proactive.

For many organizations, audits cause a lot of problems – teams lose time, people get stressed and burnt out, often settlements are very high etc. An Audit Response Framework will take the stress out of an audit by providing a repeatable and standardized approach to defending your organization and mitigating risk.

Having an Audit Response Framework means that you know what roles are involved in a response, detailed process steps to take, aligned next steps, etc. It makes things very smooth and efficient. To learn more about creating a best-in-class audit response framework, meet with us.

Detailed long-term plan and budget with short term phases to establish and document program and plan, identify risk areas, establish processes and controls to then execute to eliminate risk areas.
Your long-term plan should to align with your organizational strategy. In the short term, look for opportunities and low hanging fruit that you can eliminate risk areas and leverage cost saving opportunities. So look to the long-term alignment potential, while also identifying and taking advantage of the quick wins to bolster support.

Education, training, and resources of ITAM staff to carry forward work completed in project phases.
When a SAM program is successful, staff can and should take advantage of industry knowledge and certifications. Anglepoint offers certification courses, check them out at Anglepoint Academy.

Process to support ‘single source of truth’ tooling and discovery.

SAM provides a view of what you own and where any potential risk may be. There is a big and important difference between the known unknown and the unknown unknown. When you know that there is an unknown area, you can isolate it and fix the issues. When you are unaware of your unknown areas of risk, your organization is in trouble.

Let’s start a conversation.