When it comes to software asset management tools, there are many good options in the marketplace - ServiceNow, Flexera, Aspera, BigFix, Eracent, Snow, to name the major ones. Independent of whichever SAM tool that you select, there are certain principles you can follow to ensure that you have a successful software asset management tool implementation. Jeremy Pratt, Director of our SAM Tool Implementation Team presented a webinar, Keys to a Successful SAM Tool Implementation, and we've collected the notes here.
Software Asset Management Tool Selection
The real key to selecting the right software asset management (SAM) tool for your organization is that you must first have a clear understanding of your own environment and needs. Selection of a SAM tool will vary based on many factors, here are a few major ones:
- Publishers in focus
Your SAM tool needs can be very different depending on the software deployed in your environment. Certain tools are more equipped to manage certain publishers. For example, IBM requires that you use a tool that has been certified for IBM software - ILMT and FNMS are the only options. However, depending on the other publishers in your environment it may make more sense to go solely with FNMS or perhaps choose ILMT in combination with another tool.
- Organization IT infrastructure
Each organization has a unique IT infrastructure that will affect SAM tool choice. For example, some SAM tools are geared toward, or have historically been geared toward smaller organizations while others can easily handle enormous data inputs. Consider the organization’s count of servers and endpoints - how many do you have, what type are they? Additionally, some tools are geared more toward the cloud, while others may be better suited for on-premise environments.
- Existing software currently in use
Here’s a situation we see every now and again: your organization already uses ServiceNow for other functions. It may make sense to add SAM Pro to that existing implementation. Then again, it may be most beneficial to go with another tool so that the SAM team doesn’t report or require input from the team over ServiceNow.
Once you have a solid idea of your needs and whittled down your options to a few tools, you need to do the Request For Proposal (RFP). We won’t cover that process here, but here’s a very detailed article by Executive Vice President Kris Johnson covering the RFP process.
Software Asset Management Tool Implementation - Getting the tool up and running
Once you have selected a software asset management tool, you need to get it implemented. This stage is where most of the work takes place.
At Anglepoint, we start a SAM tool implementation with a system design workshop. The purpose of a system design workshop is to fully understand the organization. The workshop brings together all the right players and is a way to ensure that they have all the right information. Educating everyone within the organization is crucial to a successful implementation. During the workshop, everyone learns what to look forward to, potential issues that may surface, scheduling conflicts, and more.
From the system design workshop comes the project plan. The project plan is an outline and timeframe of the implementation. The project plan is detailed in each step, outlining what needs to be installed, how it’s installed, and who is responsible.
Example Project Plan
A crucial part of the project plan is the readiness checklist. The readiness checklist gives a clear view of everything that needs to happen before the implementation starts - for example, what are the stats and hardware requirements needed for the servers to be stood up. We also provide clients with logical views of how the tool(s) will be set up. This is different and unique to each organization.
ILMT Logical View
FNMS Logical View
Additionally, if your organization wants to do a proof of concept the readiness checklist details exactly what it will take to bring that into a production.
Implementing a tool is not a quick and easy process, it must be planned and executed with great detail and care.
Software Asset Management Tool Baseline - Getting to an initial license position
It’s common for someone to believe that the work is done once the SAM tool has been implemented. However, that’s not the case; the implementation isn’t complete until you have an Effective License Position (ELP). There are more steps after implementation that need to happen for the organization to reach a solid standing. Such as:
- Mapping & Normalizing Raw Data
In some instances, create new naming conventions to their installation packages. So, if the tool is looking for one thing and the organization has mapped it differently it’s vital to make appropriate adjustments so that the tool can recognize that data and account for it properly.
This step is crucial but can be very difficult for someone who doesn’t have experience with the software publisher. Having a licensing expert can be very helpful because they are extremely familiar with bundling and consumption details.
- Audit Preparation & Support
Once the tool has been stood up, you start getting significant amounts of data and it can be tricky to know how that data is applicable to the situation. Some questions that need to be answered are: what licenses are purchased, how is it reporting from discovery, how can adjustments be made to know that the tool is accounting for it appropriately, etc.
Once you have a tool running and you’ve generated an accurate ELP, it’s easy to feel like you’re done. However, there’s still more to be done. True, the most difficult and time-exhaustive parts are over, but effort is still required to optimize your tool.
Changes take place all of the time. Changes to your organization, changes to the software you run, and changes to the tool that you’ve installed are a few examples. These changes can cause you to come down from the peak, optimized level that you’re at. We recommend that organizations perform health checks semi-annually at least to stay on top of the changes.
Anglepoint offers managed services that provide regular health checks, updates, patches, fixes, data requirements, etc. With our health checks, we always provide recommendations on what can be done to improve. Below are examples of health checks for ServiceNow, Snow, and FNMS.
Discovery Health Check
Sample Discovery Health Check Recommendations
Health Check Example
Health Check Example
A software asset management tool may be crucial to the success of your SAM program, but it’s not a silver bullet. It is essential to bring together people, processes, and technology for sustained success. By following these four keys to a successful SAM tool implementation, you’ll be doing just that.