In the first place, the multiplicity of vendor pricing methods considerably make software management more complex: named licences, floating licences, per-core, per-processor/hardware, per-site licences, company licences, per-number of connections to "pay per-use" servers, subscriptions, cloud, and more.
The software base is also constantly evolving: either because new contracts with software houses are being signed (new solutions, bundling, updates to new versions, maintenance contract revisions, changes in pricing, changes in the metrics used to calculate requirements, territoriality) or when new rights are being allocated.
It’s also necessary to deal with recurrent requests from end-users or their representatives about the provision of various - and sometimes redundant - solutions (demand management), while mastering all the changes made to production environments (change and release management). These constant changes and the complexity of management pose major difficulties for companies wishing to maintain control of their application base.
Faced with this growing complexity, the initial challenges of Software Asset Management are aggravated. What are they?
There are four main challenges:
Cost rationalisation and optimisation are major challenges: when to reduce IT department costs and to involve mastering verification processes? How to get the view on the use of technologies.
Compliance with the BSA and the vendors or with accounting standards (Sarbanes Oxley, IFRS) is also a very important aspect. Financial sanctions can be very significant and the image of the company and the CIO can be deeply impacted.
Security is also crucial. Implementing a security policy for your information system (IS) also means possessing very precise knowledge of the existing software on your workstations and servers. IS security requires the implementation of viable and sustainable processes for software monitoring.
The order of priority given to these objectives definitely shapes the SAM project. If the focus is on controlling compliance or rationalising costs, a software licence management approach should be made a priority. If greater emphasis is placed on securing environments and productivity gains, priority will be given to implementing an ITIL (change and release management) project. Securing server or workstation environments is of course a foundation of information system management.
Finally, whatever the objectives are, a SAM project is always with 3 dimensions: organisational, process and solution. Bringing these 3 factors together is a necessary condition for the success of such a project, together with a precise and thorough audit of the existing situation beforehand, which will make it possible to guide the SAM implementation project by focusing to a greater or lesser extent in each direction.
Once the SAM project is completed, the result for the IT Decision Maker is clear: total control over the application base and simplified management, with an organisation and processes that allow him or her to keep up with, and no longer suffer from, technology and software upgrades. And let’s not forget cost rationalisation, a more than priority objective for companies today.