Are You Merging Your Business? Check Your Software Asset Management

By Tracy Toth

There is a lot that needs to get done following a merger or acquisition and, unfortunately, software license management usually doesn’t rank high on the to-do list.

But ignoring software assets post-merger is a mistake — software facilitates workforce productivity and the failure to properly manage software assets can bring productivity to a grinding halt, jeopardising the organisation’s ability to achieve targeted goals and business objectives.

At Datacom, we regularly guide enterprise organisations through the process of addressing software assets post-merger. In our experience, there are at least five software asset management tasks that need to be performed immediately following a merger or acquisition:

  • Software Audit. Right out of the gate, the organisation should perform a comprehensive software audit. By auditing the enterprise’s current software, licenses and related assets, the organisation gains visibility into the existing enterprise software environment and sets the stage for an informed strategy development process.
  • Policy Review. A comprehensive software policy review should be another post-merger priority. Whether the organisation realises it or not, there are likely discrepancies in the way software assets are being utilised in the two organisations. If those discrepancies aren’t resolved, it could result in internal confusion, productivity losses and other negative outcomes.
  • Role Review. In addition to reviewing the organisation’s software asset policies, it’s important to review the roles and responsibilities that are connected to software asset management across the enterprise. In some cases, it will be necessary to assign individuals to fill gaps in coverage; in others instances, it may be helpful to combine redundant roles in order to create a more efficient SAM system.
  • SAM Assessment. It is absolutely imperative for the organisation to perform a full-blown SAM assessment post-merger. Assumptions that existed when the organisations operated independently may no longer apply and it’s likely that the merger will create opportunities for additional software-related efficiencies, which can be accessed by evaluating and adjusting the organisation’s SAM plan.
  • Desktop Support. Finally, ongoing desktop support must be delivered without interruption. While it can make sense to rationalise and consolidate the help desks, the initial priority must be on ensuring that all workers are able to productively contribute to the business via their hardware and software assets. Moving too soon on desktop support consolidation, without a well-structured plan, is not advised.

Software Asset Management Roles and Responsibilities

By Tracy Toth

Software Asset Management (SAM) optimises the value of Microsoft volume licensing and other software deployments in complex, enterprise-level organisations.

Yet many SAM plans fall short of delivering desired outcomes because internal stakeholders focus exclusively on the technology and fail to discern the roles and responsibilities associated with a robust SAM strategy.

In general, SAM roles and responsibilities can be broken down into two broad categories: (1) The role of the SAM owner, and (2) Local roles and responsibilities.

The SAM owner, or the individual(s) responsible for the governance of software and related assets across the enterprise, plays a pivotal role in the development of the organisation’s SAM plan and the deployment of the resources that will be necessary to ensure its execution.

As high-level stakeholders, SAM owners shoulder the final responsibility for the MS volume licensing compliance, the achievement of targeted software asset management outcomes and seamless SAM coverage across the enterprise.

Local SAM owners and stakeholders, on the other hand, play a more granular role in the software management process. Typically, these individuals are responsible for documenting software assets and assigning management activities to specific individuals in the organisation.

In most enterprises, local SAM stakeholders are also responsible for the implementation of SAM policies and procedures, the management of vendors, contracts and internal customer relationships, MS licensing needs assessments, and other essential software management functions.

In our experience at Datacom, effective software asset management boils down to planning and strategy. By carefully delineating SAM roles and responsibilities, and communicating them clearly across the enterprise, you can lay the foundation for optimised software deployments and SAM success in your organisation.

How Software Asset Management Gives Companies a Competitive Edge

By Tracy Toth

Software is a key competitive element in complex, enterprise organisations. Highly optimised software assets equip the enterprise with the resources and efficiencies it needs to compete in the global marketplace, while poorly managed software programmes limit the organisation’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and competitive pressures.

Software asset management (SAM) methodologies inevitably enhance the enterprise’s ability to compete by providing information that is critical for timely decision-making. Leveraging a strong SAM programme,Microsoft volume licensing and related software decisions can be made more rapidly and with better information than the competition, allowing the organisation to exploit opportunities in the marketplace.

SAM also allows enterprise organisations to achieve a scalable approach to MS software deployments. Since software is closely matched to the enterprise’s actual business needs, deployments are more efficient — but increased software capacity and functionality can be quickly achieved should the enterprise find itself poised for rapid growth or expansion.

In enterprise-level organisations, mergers and acquisitions are part of a normal growth process. But in many cases, mergers frustrate the organisation’s ability to compete in the short-term due to IT and software challenges. Software asset management enhances the organisation’s ability to compete by targeting software-related challenges and helping the organisation make better use of its existing software assets.

Finally, organisations that leverage SAM methodologies and technologies are better able to compete because personnel are focused on business activities. Rather than wasting their time on Microsoft licensing issues or IT snafus, workers can dedicate their time to core competencies and functions that generate additional revenue for the organisation.

Out to Pasture: Planning Software Asset Management (SAM) Retirement

By Tracy Toth

Most organisations are heavily invested in the process of acquiring and implementing enterprise-level software solutions, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to MS volume licensing and software deployments.

But what happens when it’s time to deactivate software and hardware? Does your enterprise have a plan in place to effectively retire critical and non-critical IT assets?

At Datacom, we’ve discovered that many enterprises don’t — and it’s an oversight that can have important ramifications when it comes to asset redundancies, the purchase of Microsoft volume licenses and system functionality.

A robust Software Asset Management (SAM) retirement process involves the development of approved policies and procedures for retiring software as well as the hardware on which enterprise software has been installed.

It’s important to make sure that your software asset management programme and your software asset retirement plan cover all the essentials, including the possibility of Microsoft license redeployments, asset transfers, the proper disposal of assets that can’t be redeployed or transferred and the creation of a software audit trail that documents the disposition of retired assets.

Datacom consultants frequently assist enterprise clients in the development of SAM retirement plans. In many cases, optimised asset retirement planning results in significant cost savings as the organisation’s existing software and related assets are utilised more efficiently.

How Do You Maximise Enterprise Licensing Fees? Get Started with Software Asset Management

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.