When it Comes to SAM, Speed Doesn’t Kill!

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When implementing a Software Asset Management solution, only one thing REALLY matters…how fast you can start demonstrating a return on investment (ROI).

Demonstrating ROI is a critical aspect of any IT project, but perhaps even more so in Software Asset Management (SAM).  Demonstrating the value of your SAM program requires you to be nimble and flexible so you can accelerate the ROI and make a positive impact to your organization’s balance sheet.

As we all know, there are a number of components that make up the SAM process, including:

  • Hardware and Software Discovery and Inventory
  • Software Identification and Data Normalization
  • Software License Entitlements (POs and Contracts)
  • Business Data, including User and Organizational Data
  • License Reconciliation and Optimization

Not to mention negotiation with various lines of business, as you work to integrate your solution across the enterprise.

The challenge is— how do you navigate the deployment of new technology – at WARP SPEED!

To achieve this, you may need to adjust your mindset.

How many times do we venture into a project – fully aware of the various elements needed to be pieced together and integrated, but are stymied by “analysis paralysis” or wanting things to be perfect, so that we only do it once?  In this era of instant social media, a 24-hour news cycle and easy access to the internet, we’ve grown accustomed to having instant access to information.  And…in most cases, it takes several iterations of that news cycle to get an accurate picture of the headline or item of interest.

This is the model we should adopt in our Software Asset Management deployment strategies!

So, why wait for things to be perfect?

Some people call this methodology Agile or Conference Room Pilot (CRP).  It’s anything but the traditional waterfall (SDLC) method.

Vendors don’t come to the table with a pre-configured system due to the varied complexities found in each customer’s IT environment.  We also can’t come with a blank slate and start from scratch formulating requirements leading to a functional and technical design then building your solution. And, we understand that you have dependencies that enable other aspects of the solution to be achieved.  In deploying a Software Asset Management solution, you should leverage components and concepts from each of these methodologies to find the best approach.  You may not reduce the effort, but the goal is to reduce the time to ROI.

It used to be… a chain of serial steps, with each step addressing a dependency that feeds into another phase of the project:

Gather Requirements –> Discover Software and Hardware Inventory –>  Import Business Data (Contracts & Entitlements, Users, Locations, Enterprise Groups, Assets, Suppliers) –> Once Inventory is complete and Business Data is imported, start your license reconciliation process –> Optimize Your License Position –> Integrate with the CMDB –> Implement Additional Use Cases (Software Reclamation & Automated Software Request & installation) …


Figure 1: SAM Serial Process (where each step has “perfect” data)

In this scenario, you may not really see anything come together for at least 12-14 weeks.

Now…adjust your mindset and philosophy to understand that you do not need perfection to deliver value in an accelerated manner.

  1. Gather all of your Software Asset Management program requirements. Engage multiple stakeholders to get their input into this process.
  2. Have advanced discussions involving the deployment of technology and environmental requirements. A series of these technical discussions, leading up to a Design Workshop, serves to address concepts and questions ahead of a face-to-face meeting with the SAM vendor, so that you are then confirming both tool requirements and infrastructure requirements and streamlining the discussion.
  3. Start working parallel work streams so that your plan represents several parallel tasks all converging at the first “business value point”—an initial license position for one or more of your target vendors. This could entail integrating to existing inventory tools and 3rd party applications, compiling and loading software license entitlements, contracts and other business data.

Figure 2: Parallel SAM Process with Data Improvement Iterations

4. At this point you have incremental software inventory with software license entitlements. You perform a license reconciliation and begin to compile license compliance data.  It’s not complete yet, but you can start showing early results.  As inventory continues to improve, so does your compliance picture.  You will get to an Effective License Position after a few iterations of the process. All the while, you can be socializing results with the Executive Steering Committee – demonstrating a path to ROI, which was the basis for investing in your SAM Project in the first place.

Of course, you have to be prepared to work collaboratively with your SAM tool vendor to gather the data in a proactive manner and address difficult technical issues early in the engagement.

Being able to show the end-to-end Software Asset Management process as early as 4-5 weeks into the project and being able to socialize this with senior management helps with engagement across the organization. It also speeds sustainability of your SAM program, and leads to more rapid Return on Investment.


To learn more about how you can achieve faster ROI with your SAM program, view our on-demand webinar:

Be Faster! SAM Best Practices that Drive Business Value