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What is Software Asset Management?

Software asset management has started to become noticed in recent years as research from Gartner has shown that organisations can use it to cut spending on software by as much as 30 percent. But what does software asset management, or SAM, actually entail?

Most people would think of SAM as simply the administration of software licenses. However, it’s much more than that. It’s a wide ranging field covering the purchase and installation of software, optimisation of software configurations, software licence recycling and budgeting for licences.

Who needs it?

Every organisation that uses computers has software installed. Software isn’t not just complex tools such as Adobe Photoshop. It includes your operating system (such as Windows or Mac OS) or programs such as Word. Even an app on your phone is software.

As practically all businesses today use software, SAM can benefit companies of any size or type. No matter the organisation, managing software licenses is something that can save you money. For example, why continue paying a monthly subscription for outdated software you have replaced?

What are the benefits?

The most obvious benefit is that you will reduce software costs. Costs can be reduced both immediately and continually over a longer period. This will also be the easiest way to encourage upper management to kick-start a good software asset management regime, by demonstrating the significant savings that can be made.

By starting the process with a software audit, you’ll be able to match your organisation’s license purchases with actual use. This will most likely show an immediate cost saving to your company as you clear out the old software and apps you no longer need installed.

In the longer term, the organisation will stop paying for monthly support packages for products which have been uninstalled. Updates will only be needed for software that is in active use. By getting all staff in the organisation on board with the process, you won’t be purchasing duplicate software or more programmes than are required by your employees.

You can use a streamlined process for obtaining software and being organised to ensure that you only purchase the best software to meet requirements. A SAM specialist will ensure the security of installed software, preventing unknown or unauthorised software from ending up on your network.

If you keep on top of which computers have certain programmes installed, you’ll be able to save even further by recycling software. By removing licences from some computers when staff leave or have no need for it any longer you can transfer the license to another employee instead of repurchasing the product.

By keeping tight reins on software, your organisation can also rest assured that you won’t be using unlicensed software, which can in turn save you from having to fork out for potential fines or litigation.

Who would look after it in an organisation?

This depends on the size of the organisation. In smaller companies, there may be an employee who looks after SAM as part of their remit. They may manage a number of licences, perhaps using a spreadsheet to keep them all under control.

In a medium or large organisation there may be dedicated staff or a whole team to look after the software licences. Typical team roles for those in SAM would be software asset administrator, software asset management specialist, software asset manager or director of software asset management.

How do I learn more about SAM?

ICS offers a 3-day training course to help you become a Software Asset Management Specialist. Learn best practice in software asset management with our course, designed by the experts at ITAMorg. Find out more and book your place here.

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