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Are You Getting The Most Value From Your SAM Technology?

Selecting a SAM tool for your organization’s ITAM initiatives can often be a long and drawn-out process. With dozens of options in the market, you may be wondering—How do I know if I will get the maximum value out of my SAM technology?

As the not-so-old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out." This reminds us that SAM technology is really only as good as the data it is fueled by. But you’ll need even more than good data to successfully implement a SAM tool in your organization.

In this blog, we explore some of the common challenges our clients face with SAM tooling and some of the capabilities your tool must provide to be effective in your organization. Getting the most out of your SAM tool will help lay the foundation for successful SAM initiatives both now and in the future.

Learn more about optimizing your SAM techology solutions in this on-demand webinar.

Beginning with the end in mind 

The first thing to consider as you evaluate the effectiveness of a SAM tool is how it impacts your organization’s projected goals. Is it providing the successful outcomes and positive ROI that you originally anticipated? 

These key considerations provide an overview of what capabilities are necessary to reach your ITAM goals. If your tool fails to deliver on these features, it is time to reevaluate:

  • ‘On-the-fly’ or ‘snapshot-in-time’ reporting to deliver ELPs and true-ups: This is one of the most important things to be aware of when selecting a tool. On-the-fly reporting will take data at a specific point in time and turn it into your ELPs, true-Up workbooks, compliance positions, and co-terms.
  • Data analysis for remediation recommendations (hardware/software): Another common area our clients ask about is remediation. It’s important to consider what is installed and how you are optimizing it, as well as what you can discard and what you can reclaim. Additional considerations should include working with the vendor on how exactly the tool is going to track information specific to your organization.
  • Budget spend (hardware/software): It is important to also review how your tool will capture budgeted spend for your organization. For example. will it look at one-year spend, three-year spend, software only, or maintenance only?
  • Refresh rollouts (hardware/software): When evaluating both your hardware and software, you should consider how to handle refresh rollouts. Do you have visibility into what’s installed and what needs updating?
  • Software application migration: How will you be able to track and efficiently migrate from one application to another? Are you able to review applications that have redundant uses, and can you track them?
  • Decrease your audit risk: Understanding what is currently installed but not licensed is key to decreasing your risk for audits. Applying the knowledge of the use rights and rules of the applications and contracts will help understand licensing implications. Additionally, you want to be sure that you are fully capturing any true-up information to mitigate your risk.
  • Software consumption/usage trending: Like on-the-fly reporting, is your tool able to track what you are consuming? Is it only tracking consumption when you are on the machine?

 For guidance on writing RFP’s that work, see our RFP template

Internal responsibilities: who to involve?  

When a SAM tool meets these initial criteria, then consider the people involved in the tool’s implementation.

Successfully implementing a SAM tool within your organization requires buy-in and support from people across multiple departments. Questions often come up in this process like, who is responsible for each implementation aspect of a SAM tool, and how many people need to be involved? How large is the time commitment and will there be available resources? 

When you are implementing a SAM tool, the natural first step will be to connect with your organization’s IT team. Internally, they will be managing hardware data validation and hardware management. Additionally, they will be supporting the SAM tool and the background information that feeds into it including building connectors to pull data as well as helping carry out remediation recommendations.

The next step involves the Procurement Team in your organization. Simply put, if you don’t know what you own, you will not be able to manage it. Internally, the procurement team will provide information on purchase orders, audit letters, order forms and contracts. They will also take charge of contract negotiation. Within the SAM tool of your choosing, your procurement team will assist in managing contracts, document use rights and rules, as well as uploading purchase orders and completing validation.

The diagram above shows how the use of a SAM tool should incorporate multiple teams and people to be successful. 

Assigning Product Owners is also key to easing the transition and implementation of a SAM tool. Product owners will work with IT to manage application installations and carry out remediation recommendations. Within the SAM tool, procurement team members can validate consumption on devices and make suggestions for remediation.

The product owners willalso work closely with the Publisher SMEs. These experts play a crucial role in the successful implementationof a SAM tool. They understand how the products are installed and the specific rules and use rights for the application. Additionally, these experts will manage the publisher within the SAM tool and help optimize consumption.

Finally, the Security team will work closely with IT to ensure that the SAM tool is secure. Through testing and extensive review, the security team members validate that any agents being deployed, and any connectors being used are secure. Finance can be involved as well by supplying input for true-ups, renewals, co-terms and budgeting.

Altogether, including each of these departments in the deployment of your SAM tool makes for a cohesive and internally-aligned SAM initiative.

Tool management lifecycle

It can often be difficult to decide where to start within the lifecycle. Do we start with collecting purchase orders? Do we start with validating the hardware data? They are all important pieces.

The real place to start is by initiating conversations with the important stakeholders we’ve covered here. 

If you do not have buy-in from key teams, you will not achieve a true compliance position. While it may require some internal promotion on your part, once you have the sign-off from stakeholders, you can proceed to the other essential pieces within the tool’s lifecycle. 

What do I need to consider when implementing a new SAM tool?

In addition to supplying your SAM tool with high-quality data, it’s crucial to evaluate the integrity of your data sources, hardware connections to ensure complete field population, the accuracy of purchase orders, effective communication with publisher SMEs, and the cultivation of strong relationships with the publishers.

What to review as you implement a tool
AreaWhat to consider
  • Documents the “golden" source of truth
  • When pulling from multiple data sources, review the over-write’s and what to consider
  • Validate that they continuously run
  • Review password changes and lockouts
  • If the tool is upgraded, determine if you need to recreate the connection/adapter
  • Validate all data fields are populationg (COREs, OS, Processorcs, Environment)
  • Report Virtual Machines and Clusters
  • Identify managers of devices
Purchase Orders
  • Before loading ALL PO’s, review what can be used to create a baseline/full position
  • Review your PO system, validate that the line descriptions have the SKU description
  • Use the publisher SKU’s, the the reseller SKU’s
  • Pull in as much data as possible from the PO
Publisher SMEs
  • Have a clear understanding of the applications and contract use rights and rules
  • Understand how to optimize a consumption position
  • Establish a relationship with publishers in order to keep up with changes in licensing and upcoming product releases

Bringing it all together

Selecting and implementing the right SAM technology for your organization is crucial to the success of your ITAM program. There are many moving pieces and individuals involved in the process. By reviewing and adhering to these guidelines and considerations, you will be better equipped to select the perfect tool for your SAM needs. 

If you need further assistance or want to explore this topic in more detail, don’t hesitate to reach out to us below or refer to our webinar on tips for SAM Tool implementation.

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