SAM, or Software Asset Management, is a system that tracks all of the software in play on a given network. It tracks what versions are in use, what is out there but isn’t in use (such as shelfware), and what’s installed that IT otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. It also helps the IT help desk by keeping track of when licenses are set to lapse. SAM can be the most helpful little friend the IT department has, and here’s how.
Identifying and Eliminating Waste
Has the company purchased software that never gets used? Are you paying for licenses for old versions of software that you have upgraded? SAM can help you identify what isn’t in use so you can quit spending money to maintain and upgrade software that nobody in the company has any use for. Shelfware (software that is bought, never used, and essentially “placed on a shelf”) is a major source of waste in IT departments.
Illustrating the Need for Additional Software Purchases
Are there gaps in the products your users need? SAM can help you identify these gaps and provide you with the leverage you need to lobby management for the funds necessary for additional software purchases. When armed with solid data, it’s hard to turn down these requests.
Reducing the Instances of Shadow IT
Shadow IT is software that’s acquired, installed, and used by the users that IT has not approved and does not manage. The dangers of shadow IT are obvious: it’s a security risk and leads to instability in the systems. SAM can help track down and eliminate shadow IT, as well as identify the gaps users are trying to fill with this unsanctioned software.
Improving the Security of Networks and Systems
SAM can identify known security issues with the software installed on your system, including risks associated with shadow IT. This leads to a more stable work environment and less chance that an intruder will exploit known security issues to invade your systems.
Assisting With Licensing Purchase Negotiations
Knowing when software licenses are up for renewal gives you the chance to negotiate better prices, more service or support, or additional features your workers might need. SAM lets you know of contract expirations in advance so you can decide whether to pay for renewal, negotiate a better deal, or find another vendor that has something more to offer.
Helping Compliance With Licensing Agreements
Licensing compliance is becoming a big issue, as more software vendors audit and fine companies found out of compliance. Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Oracle, and SAP are the worst to conduct audits and levy fines, but they aren’t the only vendors increasing their vigilance in this matter. It would be difficult or impossible to find a company around that isn’t using products from at least a couple of these companies, putting virtually all organizations at risk for audits. SAM identifies when more users are using software than you have licenses for, if any machines are using the software against the licensing agreement, and when those licenses expire.
Improving Employee Productivity
SAM helps assure that all your users are using the same version of software and that those versions are compatible with the various devices on the network. This improves productivity. SAM can also assure that users have the most current manuals and access to any support that comes with your software packages, also leading to greater productivity.
Reducing the Workload on Tech Support
When software is properly updated, no shadow IT is in play, and there aren’t any licensing concerns, IT has a lot less to worry about. Users have the right user manuals and training for the software they use, and there are fewer bugs and compatibility issues to contend with. This frees IT to do less troubleshooting and more productive work.
Is SAM in play in your IT department? Software asset management solutions are available via the cloud, taking even more stress off of your internal systems.
About Nicole Hollingsworth
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