By Tracy Toth
Many organisations don’t fully appreciate the fact that software licenses are business assets that require effective management strategies like any other business asset.
Software asset management (SAM), as it’s known in the enterprise IT world, is the management, control and protection of software-based assets — and it is essential for organisations that want to get a better handle on their software assets.
According to current estimates, software licensing and maintenance expenses comprise more than 30% of enterprise IT budgets (on average). With that kind of investment at stake, the implementation of a strong SAM programme should be a top IT priority at every Australian corporation, government entity and educational institution.
Implementing a SAM programme typically makes organisations more productive and can lead to enhanced profitability. For example, a review of software assets might lead to the identification of significant cost-saving opportunities via Microsoft volume licenses. Alternatively, it might lead to the discovery of software assets that have been paid for but have never been deployed.
In addition to laying the groundwork for an efficient software licensing renewal process, a software asset management project helps organisations optimise their existing software investments, allowing the enterprise to accomplish more with the assets that are already in its arsenal.
Unfortunately, despite the potential benefits of software asset management, it’s easy to start down the SAM path and get sub-optimal results. In our experience working as software asset management consultants, we find that the best outcomes occur when SAM policies are crafted with executive-level backing and tailored to achieve buy-in from across the organisation.