Effective Third-Party Support for Software Asset Management Programs

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The many complexities of Software Asset Management (SAM) have led organizations to increasingly utilize software asset management tools. But with the constant changes in software licensing models, vendor agreements and metrics, the responsibilities of software asset managers have become more diverse and challenging, which has led to more software asset managers utilizing third-party SAM services and consultancies. According to the Gartner research, Software Asset Management: Understanding the SAM Services Market for Effective Third-Party Support, “By 2018, the SAM skills shortage will make 50% of organizations — who have implemented, or are currently implementing SAM — dependent on managed SAM services.”

On the same study, Gartner differentiates four types of SAM service providers — resellers, tool vendors, consultancies and outsourcers. Specialist vendors focus on specific products or platforms with more complex licensing terms and compliance metrics. Examples include iQuate (data center), Xpandion (SAP), Easyteam (Oracle) and Open iT (engineering, manufacturing, energy and mineral exploration applications). For the organization each type of provider has their own strengths and challenges. Thus software asset managers must assess which type of service provider would suit their organizational needs; that is, what type of provider is the best match for the level of SAM maturity and characteristics of their organization. Regardless of the type of service provider, software compliance liabilities cannot be reassigned to these external providers, and governance must still remain with the organization. A complete outsourcing of all aspects of software asset management may be an option for organizations to consider, but stakeholders must understand that liability cannot be outsourced.

For organizations who are just starting to implement SAM, or even for those who already have an existing SAM implementation, SAM tool vendors provide numerous benefits in improving SAM processes. Gartner research recommends selecting a tool vendor that provide solutions that can fit well with the organizations’ existing SAM processes and leverage the organization’s existing tools. Gartner further recommends selecting a tool vendor that can support many complex vendors, rather than supporting just some of the more popular software vendors. Finding the right SAM tool that can fill these requirements can be a challenge for organizations that want to retain complete governance over their software assets.

There are many types of SAM tools in the market, catering to different needs and phases of the organization’s SAM process, but the best way to start with SAM tools is through deploying software usage metering tools. Software usage metering tools are essential part of SAM. These tools measure how much and how often software assets are used, which allows software asset managers to know if the assets are being used efficiently.

Metering tools enable software asset managers to understand their organization’s actual software usage,; to identify over-licensing of software, to make informed decisions to cut surplus licenses and increase licensing where needed, and to stop paying for unnecessary maintenance and support. Armed with accurate data on software usage, software asset managers can plan and budget more proactively.

Incorporating a usage metering tool into the organization’s software asset management program is easier and faster than to completely outsource SAM services. Usage metering tools have a very fast ROI. Furthermore, the cost savings realized by using a metering tool can help pay for additional people to manage software assets or other SAM budget items.

Open iT is a software asset management solution that can meter and report on how individuals or groups utilize applications, servers, storage, databases and services across an enterprise. Open iT works on multiple platforms and supports more than 20 license managers including FLEXlm / FlexNet, IBM LUM, Reprise License Manager™ (RLM), LM-X, Sentinel RMS, MathLM™. With this extensive compatibility Open iT supports metering of the broadest set of license-manager enabled applications. It also supports metering of a large set of applications that run without license managers. Open iT allows organizations to manage their entire software asset portfolio across the enterprise.

Open iT can be integrated with organization’s existing tools, such as SAP, Active Directory and LDAP. It allows the software asset manager to view software assets with respect to the organizational/staffing structure.

The powerful and flexible reporting capabilities of Open iT not only reports on a single metric but allows the software manager to analyze all of the data in many different ways and different levels, such as enterprise level, group level and user level. It allows mapping by product, group, location, project and feature, which makes it easy to integrate with the organization’s existing SAM implementations.

All these characteristics are essential in choosing the right software tool vendor for your organization’s SAM program. Open iT metering and reporting tools and numerous other asset management solutions, such as automated license management and showback and chargeback capabilities, make Open iT a unique and effective solution for organizations looking for third-party support for their SAM program.

Learn more about Open iT products and SAM solutions.

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