Let’s talk about the most important commodity that you should have at your disposal when it comes to Software Asset Management (SAM). No, it isn’t fancy technology or software. No, it isn’t the man-force you have tasked with the project. No, it isn’t even a working knowledge of licensing!
All these things are of course important in building a strong SAM practice. But the problem is that it doesn’t matter how many knowledgable and efficient people you assign responsibilities to, or what sophisticated technology/software you have invested in…if you don’t have the TIME available to dedicate to SAM, you will fail.
Organizations continuously underestimate the amount of time that is need to implement a proper SAM program, not only getting it up and running, but for maintenance of data, processes, procedures and policies on an on-going basis. Even if you out-source your SAM, time and resource is still needed internally to follow through on actions raised and to analyze and digest the results produced. You are going to want to pay close attention anyway when you outsource your SAM as the legal responsibility will remain with you, the organization.
So, how much time do you ask? Now although this is a bit of tricky question, as there are so many variables at play when calculating this, I can contribute some clear guidlines for you:
(1) Even the smallest organization shouldn’t spend less than 2 days a quarter wholly focussed on Software Asset Management (not including license balancing exercises).
(2) SME’s should allow on average at least 2 years to get a SAM programme fully up and running (including full client agent deployments & process and procedure creations).
(3) Every organization should complete a full review/license balancing exercise for there top 5-10 vendors every year at the least. Factors depending, this could take a small to mid-size organization anywhere from 7-31 full days. This time will need to be planned for and block booked in the necessary diaries.
(4) Even if you outsource your SAM, at least 1 day should be put aside each reporting period to digest/discuss the reports produced and deligate actions off the back of those discussions.
I hope a couple of these points have opened a few eyes in terms of prioritizing SAM and ensuring you have not only enough resource, but enough time to drive a mature SAM program. Time after all is the most valuable commodity of all.
Writer: May Turnbull