The cornerstone of any software asset management (SAM) programme is good quality and up-to-date data from both inventory and procurement perspectives; this forms the basis of your effective licence position (ELP), a key milestone in any SAM programme.
However, the problem is that getting to this point can be extremely time-consuming and those responsible can become bogged down by transactional tasks, leaving little time to evaluate the intelligence gained and take action before it’s time to repeat the whole exercise all over again.
Very few organisations have the fire power to complete these transactional tasks in-house and then make time to implement policies, processes and optimisation exercises based on that data; these are essentially what makes a SAM programme successful.
Defining transactional tasks
To help quantify what is meant by transactional tasks, here is a short summary:
- Combining and normalising inventory data from multiple sources;
- Consolidating and identifying an organisation’s true licence entitlement;
- Piecing together historic software purchase information;
- Creating and managing a centralised view of an organisation’s maintenance renewals;
- Reconciling an organisation’s software installations and usage against their entitlements;
- Working out upgrades, downgrades and technology guarantees;
- Managing the compliance of an organisation’s virtual environment;
- Creating detailed management reports, including an organisation’s ELP;
- Managing an in-house SAM system;
- Software dictionary updates;
- System upgrades;
- Licence modelling.
It might not look like a long list, but these tasks take time and you can soon find yourself in a never-ending loop of crunching data day-after-day, helpless to take action and effect change.
What SAM & IT teams could be doing…
If you imagine that the transactional tasks outlined above are all completed and you have access to a wealth of in-depth reporting and intelligence, you could then spend your time on strategic thinking, implementing proactive change and other priorities which could save your organisation money and make your departments more effective. Here are some examples of what you could be doing instead:
- Saving your organisation money on its software spending by negotiating new software contracts and agreements, re-harvesting unused licences, and optimising the allocation of current entitlements;
- Completing projected licence-modelling exercises for internal projects and to meet organisational growth;
- Identifying, implementing and managing software processes and policies around software requests, procurement of licences, deployment of software, and end-of-life and technology refreshes;
- Working towards achieving ISO, FAST and ITIL standards.
Licence-management-as-a-Service (LMaaS) allows you to pass all your transactional licence management tasks to an experienced team. It takes away the laborious and time-consuming process and provides all of the licence management reports and intelligence you need to make informed decisions and deliver a truly effective SAM programme.
Compared with choosing an on-premise solution which you manage and use yourself, supporting a service is simple. With business stakeholders accessing reports securely through the cloud and because the technology used to deliver the service is maintained in a controlled environment, there would be no upgrade requirements and the diagnosis and resolution of issues becomes more efficient.
Referring to Orbit Group’s LMaaS contract with us, the housing provider’s technical services manager, Roy Evans, said, “We not only have the peace of mind that every single software licence is diligently recorded and accurately assigned to a piece of hardware should we ever be audited, but also that every pound spent on software is properly scrutinised before being approved. We now have complete control over our software spend without having to lift a finger, which leaves us free to add value to other areas of the business.”
All-in-all, by moving to LMaaS, you will save time and money, improve cost efficiency, be audit-ready faster and free-up your SAM and IT teams to do more exciting, more valuable activities.
Sean Robinson is an LMaaS and SAM expert at Phoenix Software.