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Get More From Your Software Asset Management (SAM) Tool

Essential Principles and Best Practices to Succeed with Your Software Asset Management Technology Solution

Now available on-demand!

Do you feel like you’re getting the most value possible from your SAM technology solution?

If the answer is no, you’re not alone. We meet people all the time who don’t feel like their software asset management tool is completely doing what they bought it to do, they are not achieving their organization’s projected goals.

Join Mandi Sue Bleau, Director of Microsoft Licensing here at Anglepoint, as she presents on how you can get more from your SAM tech solution and how to address common challenges that you may face in the future or are dealing with in the present. With a mix of both strategic and tactical tips from the trenches, she will show that you can achieve successful outcomes and ensure positive ROI from your software asset management tool.

Here are a few points we cover in the webinar:

  • The features & capabilities your SAM tool NEEDS to have
  • How to ensure your data is as clean and actionable as possible
  • The most common SAM tool challenges our clients face & tips to overcome them
  • And more

If you have specific questions, please reach out to us at

Get More Insight On Software Asset Management Tools:

Interested in a SAM Tool health check? Contact us today to learn more.

Webinar Transcript


All right, welcome everyone to this webinar. Get more from your SAM tool. We’re really excited to be doing this today and we’re really excited and grateful to have Mandi Sue Bleau presenting for us also known as MSB is a director here at Anglepoint. She leads our Microsoft licensing practice.

And she has years of experience doing SAM and licensing and SAM tooling and all sorts of that stuff. So we’re really grateful that she’s taking the time to present to us today. And without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and pass it over to her.

Mandi Sue Bleau:

Hey, Braden. Thanks so much. And thanks, everybody, for joining.

Like Braden said, I’ve been doing this for multiple years now. So I’m going on 20 years, believe it or not. And today we just want to take you through the presentation that we have regarding the SAM Tech tools and the solutions that we have. Really, this is focused around keeping the end in mind.

So what you want to think about. As you’re progressing forward and getting your sample, right? So that’s our little introduction, but in the agenda, we’re going to go through keeping the end in mind, internal responsibilities, the life cycle of the tool management, any considerations guidelines. And then we will have some Q&A that you can submit to us as well.

Next slide. Perfect. Excuse me. When you are keeping the end, the introduction for this piece right here is you can have all of the fancy tools. But if your data quality is not good, you are nowhere. And Beda Rawat Bawa has said that. And I’m sure all of you have heard that garbage in, garbage out. So you do need to make sure that you are keeping that in mind.

It doesn’t matter which SAM tool that you’re using or looking to use. Like Snow, ServiceNow SAMP, USU, Ericent, even Excel. Shockingly enough, you do want to make sure that you’re keeping things in mind. You do want to make sure that your data sources are updated and accurate when you’re looking to implement a SAM tool.

When we’re keeping the end of mind, let’s look at what you need to actually keep the end in mind. On the fly reporting, excuse me, on the fly reporting is probably the biggest piece that people are looking for. That’s going to turn into your effective license positions, compliance positions, true up workbook creations, renewals and co terms. Now some of that workbook could be Microsoft related, but as you notice here, we have Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle. So we are covering all those publishers. One of the other big pieces here, and we get asked about this all the time is the remediation recommendations for hardware and software.

What’s installed? How am I optimizing it? What can I get rid of? What can I reclaim? What can I change? Those are things that you do want to also keep into consideration. How is the tool going to track this information for me, making sure that you’re working with those vendors to say, hey, this is what we do.

Now, show me how it’s going to work in the tool. Might work the same way, or it might be a little bit different. depending on the outcome of what the tool can provide. Also looking at budget spend. Again, this goes to the hardware and software. Your SAM tool should be able to do this for you. Making sure that you are capturing everything that you need if you are looking for budget spend.

Microsoft, Oracle, I know they can get a little tricky, depending on when you’re purchasing. Microsoft, again, is for the customer price sheets, it’s yearly pricing, but what if you have to do a true up? What if you’re doing a migration? So taking those things into consideration for the refresh rollouts.

You have your hardware, are you when you’re rolling out your hardware for that refresh? How are you going to handle that? What’s the extent of that going to be? As well as software refresh rollouts, if you’re upgrading. That’s our clients. Are you going to be able to capture what’s currently installed and what you actually need to update?

Those are a few of the key considerations. And then the last 3 right here really go down into the software piece. Software application migration, say that you need to migrate from 1 application to another for, it could even be in that refresh or changing the applications. How is that going to work?

How are you able to track all of those machines that you want to change and what has been changed? And how do you track that percentage rate monitoring that software? Installation can also help you decrease your audit risk. Knowing what’s installed, but not license. Those unlicensed installations are key.

Also, if you’re working through any type of true up information, you want to make sure that you’re capturing that so that you are not at a lot of risk. And then lastly, which also could go up onto that on on the fly recording is the software consumption and that usage trending. It’s great to see what you’re consuming and if it’s on the machine, it’s being consumed.

Or is it only consumed when you log into it. So making sure that your SAM tools going to be able to do that software consumption and you should trending. You should trending is getting such a hot ticket right now. We’re really seeing a lot of that. And where can we remove those. Or help you understand where to remove those applications that are not actually being used.

All right, so for this slide here, what we’re really looking at are the internal responsibilities. I get asked all the time who is responsible for what. And how does it play into what we need? How many people that we need? How many hours that we need? When you’re looking at getting a SAM tool implemented.

It obviously is 1 of the 1st 1st seems that you go to. And internally, they’re going to be dealing with hardware data validation hardware management as well. The same tool, they’ll be managing that as well. And within the same tool, it’ll be supporting that SAM tool. Any of the back ends information.

Building the connectors and the adapters to pull in the data. Help carrying out remediation recommendations. So if we’re saying, hey, let’s remediate. These 20 machines. Having a plan in place for that. The next piece are going to be your procurement people. So if you don’t know what you own, then you’re not able to manage it.

So they’re going to be providing purchase orders, audit letters, order forms, contract information, and then they’ll also be part of that contract negotiation as well. Within the same tool that you’re choosing, you can do you want to manage contracts? Do you have another source that manages those contracts?

Do you want to document the use rights and rules? And then within that, you will be uploading purchase orders. To complete the validation, the next piece of this, our product owners. We do work with quite a few companies that still do not have product owners. It does become a little messy. So getting product owners assigned is key. Not crucial, but it is key and it helps ease the transition. Internally they’ll manage application installations and work with it. They’ll consider those use rights and rules as well as they’re working through these. And then they’re also going to help carry out remediation recommendations.

So they’re going to look at the applications and say, Hey, it, we’re gonna go ahead and transition these machines. To a different version or a different application, we need you to go ahead and reclaim these installations and redo this installation within the same school. They’re the ones that are going to validate the consumption on the device.

And then they’re also going to make those recommendation, remediation recommendations. When they’re validating the consumption on those devices, they’re really taking into consideration. That the information is the golden source as well. What I mean by that is you can have multiple adapters pulling in the data and you want to make sure if this, then this, if this, then this.

And the way that they combine or overwrite each other. You do want to make sure that the consumption on the device is accurate. Where if the tool is saying, Hey, by the way, I have SQL server here. But when you really dig into the device itself, it says, no, you actually don’t. How is that being captured?

And how are you going to validate that? That is the job of the product. The product owners also work with the next piece here and the responsibilities. And those are the publisher SMEs. So those publisher SMEs are crucial to this. They’re the ones that are going to understand how the products are installed.

Reviewing with procurement, the contracts, how many purchased. What are those specific use rights and rules as well? So they’re able to really help do validations and make any remediation recommendations. Down on the same tool piece again, they’re going to validate those license rules. They’re going to optimize the consumption.

Not all SAM tools can do full, complete optimizations. And then they’re going to make those remediation recommendations and manage the publisher within the same tool as a whole. Again, everybody works together as a team, so you want to make sure that you do have a cohesive. Team members within the IT procurement product owners and the publisher estimate.

So the last piece that you do want to take a look at is finance and security. It was really brought up to me, maybe security should be in the front. And so I think I’ll take a, another round of this. With security, it’s really important because they want to make sure that the SAM tool is secure.

So they’ll be working with IT. They want to make sure that the agents, if you have a SAM tool agent, and you’re not just using like an SCCM, they want to make sure that those are rolled out and the deployments are secure as well. They also will review the connectors that are going through. So if you’re Going to like the Adobe SaaS, or if you’re going to the Microsoft 365 portal or IBM’s portal, they want to make sure that those connectors are secure.

They’re also then going to provide an ongoing support and they’re going to be testing it. Finance can also be involved as well. And they could possibly fit underneath procurement, but they do or they are a little bit different. They’re going to supply any of the inputs for those true ups, renewals co terming and budgeting.

You really want to make sure that they are a part of the conversation as well, so that they understand what’s going on, how they’re going to be a value, what reports they need, and by having them included in this. You’re going to get more use out of your tool.

So for this next slide this should look pretty familiar to a lot of you. It is the life cycle of the of tool management. So it doesn’t matter where you are in the realm of things. It’s an ongoing circle I have as a square here, but it’s an ongoing circle. It’s a life cycle. So one of the big things that we’re looking at here is, do we start with reporting positions?

Do we start with collecting POs? Do we start with validating the hardware data? They’re all important pieces. One of the key places to start actually is to have conversations with stakeholders. As I mentioned on the last slide, you do want those team of people to be cohesive and you want them to be involved.

You want to also make sure that you are internally promoting this project. If you do not have buy in, then you can have people who are pushing their heels and saying, hey, we’re not going to be part of this. Without that, you will not get a true compliance position. Once you have the sign off in the green light and ready to go, then that’s where you’re going to start collecting those POs, audit letters, and other entitlement documentation, contracts things like that, order forms, things like that.

You can use purchasing systems. The only difference with the purchasing systems I’ve seen a lot of times, Ariba is one of them, where it says, Microsoft purchase order 1. 2 million. Would you buy it doesn’t list out everything for you trying to get as much information as you possibly can from the PO’s is going to be key for you, especially using the SKUs.

A lot of the tools use this fuse in order to help create the license records for those entitlements as well as any back end updating then you’re going to go ahead and move and you’re going to validate those entitlements. You want to make sure that what you’re receiving is accurate. You want to make sure that you didn’t follow include anything that was transferred out.

If you with Microsoft, you can transfer documents you with Oracle, you can not include them on orders have them drop off. So you do want to make sure that those entitlements are validated. Then you’re going to go ahead and look at the application installation data that you have within the tool, it should collect all that information.

So if you’re using, let’s just say a SCCM and you’re putting that data in that data connection into the tool. Okay. You do want to make sure that information is accurate and is also matching back to your entitlements. It’ll also help you with the unlicensed installations and starting recognizing those.

Then the next piece is going to be validating the hardware data. So it’s going to really help with that. Sometimes what we see is the core information is not correct. You might be missing a specific piece of the hardware data. A country might not be reporting in where you’re not able to get to the servers.

How are you going to do that? Can you do it manually? Can you do an upload? Some of those are some of the key questions to ask. Then putting all of those together, then you’re going to be looking at the data remediation. So you’re taking your entitlements, your installations, your hardware, and you’re looking into that data remediation.

What do we want to clean up? What do we want to look for to remediate, to optimize? How are we going to do that? And that plays right into that hardware and consumption optimization as well. Once those are applied, through those pieces of the data remediation, that’s where you’re really going to get that good compliance position.

Then the next piece there is going to be budgeting for your true up and your renewals, looking at what you have installed what you paid for all those entitlements what you’ve optimized. That’s really going to get you to your budgeting. And then the last piece is reporting positions. So that’s where you’re able to spit out that report, any of those reports that are on the fly and actually be confident in the data that you have provided.

So looking at this as a whole, there are some key considerations. I always get asked, what do I need to think about? What do I need to look at when I’m putting in a new SAM tool? As I mentioned earlier, the connections and the adapters. Documenting that golden source of truth is huge. It is one of the key pieces.

Garbage in, garbage out. I know I’ve said that before and I’m sure everybody has heard that. Your golden source of truth could also be four sources. And that’s the next line that’s down there. When you’re looking for those multiple data sources, make sure that you’re reviewing the overrides and what you’re considering.

Do you want to take ServiceNow information and say, okay, this is our golden source of truth and feed it into your SAM tool? Or do you want to take your SAM tool information and feed it back to? Service now, those are some of those options that you can do. You also want to make sure that they are continuously running.

If you have an adapter or a connector that stops, then obviously your data is not going to be accurate. You do want to make sure that you’re working with the team to make sure that they are continuously running. Sometimes we will go in and run a report and all of a sudden, all the numbers are out of whack.

And that’s the 1st place we check are these connections and adapters. And sometimes it’s just a quick password change. They change every 30 days. We’re not aware of it. VMware is good for that. They always seem to change quicker than we think that they do. And then that provides a lockout. Also, if the tool is going to be upgraded, determine what you need to actually recreate that connection, that connector and adapter.

One of the other pieces too is, what if the website’s updated? Microsoft just did a switch from the VLSC website right into the 365 portal. So those are some of the other considerations that you want to make sure from the hardware perspective, you want to make sure that within the tool itself, all of those data fields are populating.

You want to make sure that you have the course, the operating system, processor counts, the environment. Environment is one of the key pieces of an ELP. If you can’t tell me your environment, then it’s going to be assumed production. So you do want to make sure that’s there. The naming convention of the hardware really helps out if you have a dev and it’s dev or test and it’s tst.

Prod is prod generally. So taking a look at your hardware will really help when you’re putting the data back into the tool. You also want to make sure that your virtual machines and clusters are captured as well. We have some tools where we’re looking at it, and it’s just virtual machines.

Nothing’s clustered. There’s no hosting. You want to make sure that information is being captured and then you also want to identify the managers of the devices. That’s pretty important. That’s coming up more and more as we’re doing EOPs here at Anglepoint. We’re noticing, okay, who’s responsible for this device and how are we going to fix it?

So identifying those managers and devices is getting pretty key. The next piece here is purchase orders. Before loading all of your purchase orders, review what can be used in order to create that baseline in getting into your home position. A baseline for those of you who don’t know is doing a snapshot in time.

So drawing that line in the sand and saying, I know, as of this time, I own all of this. I can give you a good example. I went to load somebody’s Microsoft’s position for them. I did a baseline. It was about 125 lines. They turned around and said, no, I actually want all of our purchase orders loaded. It was over 26, 000 lines.

We didn’t end up processing it because as you’re processing it, you’ll know I’m processing stuff for like access 2000 or access 2002 and that kind of noise doesn’t need to be put in because that product was no longer being used. So you do want to make sure that you’re doing that review as to what you need make sure that you review your PO system.

If you are going to use like an Ariba in one of your connections to just load it for you automatically. You do want to make sure that the line items have a description for it. It’ll really help ease when processing the entitlements. Also make sure that you’re using publisher SKUs and not the reseller SKUs.

A lot of the times especially for Microsoft, it’ll come in and say dash A for level A or dash B or C or D. I understand that Oracle does not have SKUs so you do want to make sure that the description of the products is in there so that it is easy to create those entitlements. And you do want to pull in as much data as possible from that purchase order.

If you’re able to say who signed it, if you have an invoice number, if you have an invoice date, you can capture all that information. The next piece here are having those publisher SMEs. You want to make sure that they have a clear understanding of the applications, the contract, the use rights, and the rules.

They’re able to go in and say, hey, wait a minute, this is a four core and it needs to consume two licenses. But if it’s on a virtual host, and all the VMs are free, you want to make sure that you do have that information and understand those considerations. They’re going to also help you understand how to optimize a consumption position.

If you’re looking at a tool where it’s not fully optimizing, is there a way for you to say, okay, I want to only consume these four machines under this entitlement. How do I do that? How can I allocate it so that’s where everyone consumes there? Or I have a specific license that is country specific or region specific or location specific.

How am I going to be able to attach those as well? And consume those and lastly here is you want to establish a relationship with the publishers. This will help you keep up with any of the changes in the licensing. And upcoming product releases if you don’t have a relationship with the publisher and then make sure that you at least have a place to go and get this knowledge.

Making sure that those changes are also captured within the tool. I know some of the tools will give you like a recommendation for a license change based off the skew because they know that a change has come down. Making sure that you’re really looking into that. For the SAM tool.

So guidelines. If you remember, we were talking about that circle. That’s a square getting the buy in from the stakeholders, making sure that you are saying, Hey, this is the same tool that we really want. Here’s why we want it, making sure that you have all of those, all of that documentation. So you want to make sure that you have the buy in for the stakeholders.

Obviously, it’s C-level security. That’s going to be key because if you can’t pass security, it’s probably not going to let the tool in the house procurement and contract management. You don’t need to do every single publisher that you own, but maybe start with the top 10 and start with the top 5. You want to make sure that they’re going to give you access to the purchase orders.

You want to make sure that they’re going to give you access to contract management as well, or contracts themselves. Product owners, get them on board. They might be doing all of this in a worksheet or a word doc or even access an old database. You want to make sure that you’re getting them on board and giving the feedback to you.

What else do they need? What do they see? What do they want? What’s going to make their life easier? Same with the publisher SMEs. How is that going to make things easier for them? So getting that buy in, but also getting key.

And then the SAM tool implementation. So you want to look at the types of connectors and adapters that are needed. Obviously, AD, HR, those are key. You’re going to need access to that. Again, we’re going to look back at and take into consideration what is the golden source. If you want to make sure that you have a golden source, get that golden source cleaned up.

I can’t tell you how many times we see three users, but they’re the same user. So where’s it coming from? So HA AD would have one, SCCM could possibly have one. There could be a third one that has it. So you do want to make sure that you are getting those golden source of truth. Same with how you’re actually getting your data.

So SCCM, any of your other data collection sources. Any of the other CMDBs, you want to make sure that you are looking at those. Again, Goldman Source. RV Tools, VMware. You want to make sure that you’re able to connect to those, pull that data in, and make sure that it’s relevant with the hardware that you have.

Any of the publisher portals. I talked about Adobe’s portal, the LWS, I, the Microsoft 365 portal, IBM’s portal. You want to make sure that you actually can get access to them as well. And you want to do a data collection validation. One of the things that I have seen in the past from clients is, yep, so we have all these connections, I go in and say, okay, where’s this.

Oh we didn’t connect that. Great. So now you got to go back to the connector and you got to take a look at it and the adapter. Where is it pulling from? How are you matching fields and columns to fields and columns within the tool and definitely set up a run book. You want to document what didn’t work.

A lot of people just document how you’re going to proceed forward. But also document what you’ve tried and doesn’t work, because then if something breaks, you don’t want them going back to what didn’t work. So I like to also make sure that people document that, but you also want to keep that SAM tool up and running.

So a diagram, for instance, of how everything is connected, you do want to make sure that you have one of those. It makes it a lot easier. So when I raise my hand and say, Hey, wait, where’s this user data coming from? Hey, wait, are we using calculated user or assigned user? Where is the RB tools coming from?

What connector is that coming from? Are we using the portal? For 365 so make sure that you. You document that and then the. Hardware validation, any of those connectors that are bringing in that data. You do want to make sure again that you’re looking for the course. The processor, the model, those can all affect how the license works depending on the processor could be the speed, you can be calculated differently what it was installed.

When it was 1st seen as inventory, that’s another piece. They want to make sure it’s being collected and the environment. I can’t stress this enough. It is so important to connect. To get the environment. It’s also known as a role of the server generally, but also if you have anything on your desktops, where it is a test machine in a conference room.

Market as a test machine in a conference room so that they know, hey, this isn’t a true machine. It’s just really a test machine. I’m getting those filled out. The other piece that I probably will add to this as well is also getting like locations, cost centers things like that, looking into where they are.

Generally that information is previously populated, but you do want to make sure that’s captured as well. And then down on the right hand side, we have a good example of the SAM governance structure. So you can go ahead and take a look at that and figure out how everybody comes together.

This is a great representation of showing you, it takes a team to do this. This is not a one man show. This is definitely a team that you need to get this done.

The other piece that we have here, apologies is the installation versus the consumption as well. So managing those licensable products. Could freeware include freeware and components. So what could be free to you as a person is not free as a corporation. So you do want to make sure that you’re looking at those as well.

Components. Is this component only on its own? Or is this component actually a licensable component? SQL has licensable components. You don’t need a full version of SQL installed only. Games. Games are huge. Games are also great. A liability or home and student products. That’s another thing that creates a liability.

If you have these things included, you do want to make sure that you are managing those licensed products. You could also do like a blacklist to say, Hey, here’s everything on our blacklist. One of the other pieces here within the blacklist is also looking at, do you want to do the newest version, minus two newest version, minus three, or just the newest version.

Those things are things to look for again, set up the run book. You want to make sure that those compliance positions are updated. We call them task lists so that we know. How it’s going to be run what’s taken into consideration what the end output is. And what we need to do to recreate this, whether it’s every single month, once a quarter, once a year purchase orders.

Another thing to keep in consideration is, again, do you want to do the baseline or do you want to do a full entitlement upload? Looking at Oracle, I’d say full entitlement upload. You want to make sure that you’re capturing that information. Generally, you’re doing a full rebuy and you can have multiple coterminous contracts.

With Microsoft, you’d probably just want to do a baseline. You want to just look at what’s current in the CPS, what’s current in your MLS, and what’s actually being consumed. Like I said, I’m not putting in Access 2000. If nobody’s consuming it, why would I bother managing that license record? You do want to make sure that you’re looking at your full your full entitlement position.

With that concludes our webinar. I thank everybody for reviewing this. If you do have any other questions, you can definitely link in with me on LinkedIn. Send me any questions. And then we also do have access to a complimentary Gartner research as well. So you can go ahead and click on that link.

And that is the four keys to unlock SAM’s strategic value.


Awesome. Thank you, MSB. Thanks everyone for watching. We appreciate it.


Have a great day.

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