Human Change Management – the Overlooked Aspect of a Successful Software Asset Management Program

The demand for Software License Opt imizat ion solut ions and consult ing services professionals is growing rapidly as enterprises grapple wit h new market trends. These trends include digital transformat ion, cloud based software delivery, virtualizat ion, and t he associated need for improved software governance. Next generat ion Software Asset Management (SAM) solut ions—referred to as Software License Opt imizat ion tools, have emerged in t he last several years to enable IT, procurement, and risk/compliance professionals to streamline asset management processes, control software costs, and reduce license compliance risk.

These professionals manage t heir hardware and software assets wit h a number of quest ions in mind:

  • What hardware and software do we have installed?
  • Can we readily demonstrate compliance in an audit ?
  • Are we maximizing t he ut ilizat ion of our software?
  • Are we fully leveraging our license ent it lements to achieve and maintain an opt imized posit ion t hat helps reduce software costs?

These questions form t he basis of a maturity model for software asset management programs. SAM programs leverage increasingly sophist icated tools and business processes as a company moves from one level of maturity to t he next. Bot h consult ing services professionals and client software asset managers must cont inue to advance their level of licensing and SAM process expert ise to keep pace. IT Asset Management (ITAM) and SAM industry organizat ions offer training and formal pat hs for certification.

The intuitive model follows a pat h from one quest ion and level of maturity to t he next. One might expect t he implementat ion of a software license opt imizat ion solution to follow a similar, waterfall approach. However, t he typical large enterprise project is a series of handoffs between SAM consultants and client personnel. The challenge is how to keep a project moving to realize the business benefits that come wit h answering each quest ion in t he maturity model. One key to addressing t his challenge includes mobilizing various stakeholders to avoid delays and prevent surprises - a classic human change management scenario.

For our purposes, human change management (HCM) is t he intent ional, proact ive management of expectat ions across a series of stakeholders around project effort, t imeline, sources of benefit, and size of benefit. Specific HCM activities beyond t hese tradit ional project management tasks include the efforts necessary to define or refine asset management policies, procedures, tool usage, and job descript ions. For SAM managers and IT procurement professionals, t he HCM activities may include the definition of software procurement policies, distribut ion processes, and expanded training on tool usage and vendor-specific contractual intricacies. The IT professionals are likely focused on installat ion mechanics, security concerns around distributed code, and controlling appropriate access to servers and databases. Finally, senior execut ives are focused on t he cost of t he project, expected savings from better SAM techniques, and t he reduct ion of license compliance risks.