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Software asset management: how to achieve efficiency
Today, when the costs of software can account up to 30% of your IT budget, it is vital to properly manage them. To avoid excessive costs, including licensing, deployment and support, companies need to manage their software assets. Otherwise, they put themselves at risk of heavy fines by software vendors, as well as inefficient purchase and use of software. Frequent involvement of technical support experts for software management at user workplaces means business downtime and additional indirect losses.
To use the software to support the business, not to burden it with unnecessary financial costs, the IT assets management process should be used. This is especially true for the processes in medium and large companies with over 100 employees.
You need a constantly accurate picture of the software used in the company to effectively manage it as an asset. It is also desirable to have complete and accurate answers to the following questions:
- What software is installed in the company?
- Who uses it and how?
- What versions and revisions are available?
- Is this software licensed?
Today the state of IT assets is constantly changing, therefore change the answers to such questions. Software cost optimization becomes an extremely time-consuming task that requires a lot of effort concerning process area, software license inventory, interaction with vendors and key application users.
What is SAM?
Software Asset Management (SAM) is a methodology aimed at reducing the legal, financial and reputational risks and optimizing costs associated with the management of a software base.
Software Asset Management includes not only a one-time software and license inventory, but also a process approach to ensuring a constant level of license compliance, cost optimization and normalization of software assets. If the process is well-established the company always knows exactly what software is installed where, how it is used and whether it is licensed. The company has a clear strategy of effective acquisition and software lifecycle management. All this is impossible without proper IT asset management (ITAM) processes that refer, in particular, to design, development, application and support of the Configuration Management Database (CMDB).
SAM allows not only to avoid financial and reputational losses due to fines from software vendors, but also drastically optimize the IT budget through:
- careful planning of software acquisition, which is possible only with the implementation of SAM;
- reduction of software support costs due to the normalization of applied software, its versions and editions;
- rationalization of unused licenses;
- reduction in the number of incidents and problems associated with the software.
As a consequence of SAM implementation, a company can reduce its software base by dozens of times, thereby reducing the time for its maintenance and increasing end-user productivity. This will allow them to focus on their business and improve their working environment. SAM enhances the reputation of an organization as one that follows the principles of licensing purity and respects the legal right to intellectual property.
Implementing is based on the concept of software asset management maturity levels. Thus, the lower base layer of SAM includes:
- simultaneous inventory of software assets;
- normalization of the information received;
- compliance check of the software base with available licenses.
Experts from ICL Services take all necessary steps and provide the customers not only with the report on the level of license compliance, but also with a plan to improve it.
The transfer to more mature levels of SAM allows the company to prepare for audits and significantly save on software. Upgrade of SAM to rationalized and dynamic levels of maturity means obligatory creation of a configuration database, IT asset management (including hardware), regular inspections of the level of license compliance and actions to prevent potential mismatch with the purchased licenses.
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