By Tracy Toth
Software asset management (SAM) is a critical business activity for enterprise organisations. The inadequate or unsuccessful management of software licenses and other software-based assets can have a crippling effect on the enterprise, resulting in operational rigidity, inefficiencies and impaired returns on software investments.
If it’s done well, SAM also mitigates many risks typically associated with enterprise-level software deployments, including these four enterprise IT software risks:
- IT service interruption risk – Since SAM leverages a coordinated, strategic approach to software, it is less likely that the enterprise will experience IT service disruptions that can occur when software is utilised in a random or haphazard fashion.
- Risk of deterioration in the quality of IT services – Interruptions are one thing, but it can be equally or even more damaging if software resources are available but there are quality issues. With a properly executed SAM plan in place, software tends to do what it’s supposed to do — facilitating business operations and never putting organisational quality at risk.
- Legal and regulatory exposure – In many enterprises, the labor-intensive demands of legal and regulatory compliance can jeopardise the integrity of the organisation’s software licensing programme. A robust SAM agenda, on the other hand, promotes full compliance and organisational efficiency by leveraging technology to automate the enterprise’s licensing environment.
- Risk of damage to public image – Perhaps the most important way that software asset management reduces enterprise risk is by protecting the organisation’s most valuable asset: brand reputation. When software and IT assets function poorly or fail to comply with regulatory requirements, there is a very real risk that the brand will sustain a blow to its public image — an outcome that can be easily avoided by prioritising a software asset management programme across the enterprise.
In addition to addressing these critical risks, SAM lowers the financial risks related to the acquisition and licensing of enterprise solutions. By matching licenses and software deployments to the organisation’s precise needs, SAM allows the enterprise to avoid the risk of overbuying licenses or purchasing software that won’t be adopted across the enterprise.
For organisations that are positioned to leverage Microsoft volume licensing, enterprise risk may be further reduced by maximising the value of software deployments through access to Microsoft or third-party desktop support/technical support.