Many talents of SAM: see what all it can do!

There is an opinion, both among our customers as well as analysts, that Software Asset Management (SAM) is difficult and immature. Even senior management sometimes wonders why their companies are doing SAM.  A vast majority of companies I deal with have SAM programs in place to reduce IT risk and be compliant and protect their revenue and reduce costs. These two objectives are very common for many other business types and initiatives implemented in business or IT. Let’s look at how SAM helps reduce IT risk and protect revenue in its own unique way.


Instead of looking at SAM simply as a tactical approach which is narrowly focused on satisfying vendors’ compliance, SAM is really about supporting many business needs. These include strategic, operational and financial and risk management needs. Therefore SAM needs to balance processes, people and tools. It is important to begin by defining and implementing processes, followed by hiring the right people and at the end implementing appropriate technology to automate your processes and make your people more efficient.


Learn how you can reap the rewards of software compliance.


SAM can increase strategy effectiveness through several processes:

  • Software lifecycle planning
  • Software recycling
  • Vendor management
  • End of service life planning

SAM also supports risk management via:

  • Compliance to vendor contracts
  • Compliance with internal standards
  • Software audits readiness
  • Security vulnerability tracking and remediation
  • Detecting unauthorized software

Operational and financial goals are achieved through:

  • Software maintenance renewals
  • Software rationalization
  • Change and configuration management
  • Budgeting for software as well as for hardware
  • Business case development and accurate TCO analysis for software acquisition, enterprise license agreements and all other options

The robustness of the processes you want to implement depends on your industry but even more on the risk tolerance of your leadership. In risk-adverse organizations you want to have processes that give you information at any time about what software is installed, where and when it was installed. You also need to know who the users are, how it is used and what the entitlements are. In the “roll the dice” type of organization you may not even need SAM at all; although this is typically not an official strategy of any company. Instead this type of culture is simply a consequence of very low maturity level and not knowing where to start and how to help themselves.


Successful SAM needs right people to perform the following activities (the list is all but not exhaustive):

  • Perform periodic physical and electronic asset inventory and reconciliation
  • Maintain global software electronic inventory
  • License contract management
  • Develop and maintain software assets reporting
  • Implement and maintain software asset management tool
  • Ensure data quality


Tools should automate your processes and people need to be very familiar with them when evaluating SAM offerings. To make sure this happens, keep your focus on the following attributes:

  • Comprehensive, continuous and automated discovery – You want all changes in the environment are quickly detected and reported, without the need for time-consuming manual interventions.
  • Automated license compliance calculation – The solution should provide enough content to automatically provide compliance status for your major software vendors and their software. You need a flexible, enterprise-scale tool which allows you to implement your processes.
  • Easy integration within your IT value chain – The last thing you want is another siloed solution that requires a massive investment in specialized implementations, deployment and training. SAM is a part of broader IT Asset Management discipline and if there are ITAM tools with sufficient SAM content for effective license compliance, you should consider such tools first. It shouldn’t be necessary to manage your hardware and software assets in different repositories.

SAM can protect your revenue by preventing costs during audits, right-sizing your license purchases and offering savings in software maintenance costs. The best method for mitigating risk of incompliance or software overspend is by effectively executing and managing your inventory, having complete data and proofs of entitlements and knowing your compliance status proactively for all your software.  SAM helps you reach your desired maturity through continuous process improvements and by delivering data for many financial calculations. An example of this is the net book value of your data centers or proper budget modeling for next year.


If you are looking to find more where you can harvest additional cost savings, I encourage you to read the 3 ways to save software costs whitepaper within our HP Toolkit for Optimized Software Licensing.

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About the Author
Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marke...

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