Nicole Oliveira, Software Services Business Unit Lead at Altron Karabina
Software asset management (SAM) is critically important to help organisations reduce spend on software, operations and support. Yet, many decision-makers are reluctant to embrace these tools. But if a company is to evolve into a cloud-centric entity that will meet the digital requirements of doing business in the fourth industrial revolution, a new approach is required.
Make no mistake, SAM is a significant exercise to undertake especially if the organisation has never had any real control of what was happening in its IT environment. What makes executives especially nervous is the daunting process doing so from scratch will entail. Implementing SAM takes a concerted effort and resources that many businesses feel they can rather spend on things that deliver more strategic value, at least from a perception level.
The reality is that those who have not yet gone through a SAM exercise will inevitably either get burnt during an audit process or reach a stage where their software does not deliver the value required to enable organisational growth.
One of the biggest problems in not going the SAM route is that eventually software will reach their end of support stage. And, while some might argue that all that is required is buying new solutions, it turns into an expensive exercise, especially if the software was not used to its full potential before. This will see the organisation then sitting with a similar kind of solution where it invested heavily and is only leveraging 10% of its capacity.
Furthermore, many software providers often change product names and features on an almost annual basis. Just keeping track of this becomes a full-time job, never mind an embattled IT department trying to keep the lights on.
This is where a SAM partner becomes an indispensable ally to help companies understand the solutions they currently have, but more importantly, what will be required for the business to grow.
However, SAM does not operate in isolation of what is happening in the rest of the business. So, by integrating a SAM approach into the broader company strategy, decision-makers will get visibility into how software can empower them to reach their company goals.
Having a trusted partner becomes essential as they would have to understand where the business wants to go and how it needs to evolve from a software perspective to reach that point. For example, if the company is transitioning to the cloud, the partner will be able to bring an understanding of what software is required and tweak it as the organisational needs change.
Additionally, the partner will also ensure the existing investments the business has made into software will not be wasted, but can be applied to enable the solutions to still deliver future value.
The onus is also on partners to approach how they position SAM differently. Companies do not want to have a compliance discussion unless they have fallen foul of the regulator. In this case, they will automatically be turning to a SAM approach.
Instead, businesses must be made to understand how embracing SAM will enable them to deliver on strategy, become more agile, and get visibility on the solutions they have at their disposal.
By its nature, this visibility will result in improved compliance as there will be a better understanding of what is currently installed. In doing so, the business will have better cost optimisation and control over the solutions its employees use and can also more effectively manage risk.
This all points to enabling strategy and delivering value. For this to happen, it is imperative for the organisation to start taking SAM seriously.
Service provider considerations
When selecting a partner to assist the company on the SAM journey, choose one that shows interest in understanding the business. This extends beyond the strategy, but also includes the customer pain points as well as where the organisational strategy is headed.
It is about delivering the most value possible using software as the tools to do so. A partner must be invested in where the business is headed and then plugging SAM into that to facilitate this journey.
Working with a partner that understands the nuances of the cloud must be prioritised. These service providers will have the tools in place to optimise the potential productivity gains to be generated by moving to the cloud and maximise the use of the software that has been purchased.
When SAM becomes entrenched in the business, it will enable everything from migration to modernisation, right-sizing to consolidation.
A cloud service provider is about more than just selling products but optimising solutions. It is as much about helping customers make the right purchasing decisions as it is about helping them manage their choices well.