Software asset management

What is software asset management (SAM)?

Software asset management (SAM) is the business initiative for reclaiming budget by maximizing value through actively governing and automating procurement, usage and deployment of software licenses and subscriptions. This includes acquiring, installing, maintaining, using and eventually retiring software applications within an organization. In essence, SAM helps organizations maximize the value of their software investments while minimizing risks and costs associated with software acquisition and usage.

The relationship between SAM and IT asset management (ITAM)

SAM is a specialized subset of ITAM because software is a type of IT asset. SAM focuses exclusively on managing software assets, whereas ITAM deals with a wider range of assets, including software, hardware, network equipment and other IT resources.

Why is SAM important for an organization?

There are several compelling reasons why you should pay attention to SAM:

  • Cost savings: SAM helps organizations identify underutilized or unused software licenses, allowing them to optimize their software spending. By understanding which licenses are actually needed and renegotiating contracts or consolidating licenses, you can avoid unnecessary costs
  • License compliance: Non-compliance with software licensing agreements can lead to legal and financial repercussions. SAM ensures that organizations are using software in accordance with their licenses, reducing the risk of costly legal disputes and penalties
  • Strategic decision making: Accurate SAM data provides insights into software usage trends, enabling organizations to make informed decisions about software procurement, upgrades and retirement. This aligns IT investments with business needs
  • Audit readiness: Organizations may undergo internal or external software audits. With SAM in place, you’re better prepared to provide accurate records of software licenses, usage and compliance, facilitating a smoother audit process
  • Sustainability: Effective SAM reduces unnecessary software waste and contributes to environmental sustainability by promoting efficient resource allocation and minimizing electronic waste

What do SAM tools offer?

SAM tools generally offer a range of features and functionalities to help you effectively manage your software assets throughout their lifecycle. Common offerings of SAM tools include:

  • Software discovery and inventory: SAM tools can automatically discover and inventory all software applications installed across an organization's network, providing an up-to-date view of software assets
  • License management: SAM tools track software licenses, including the number of licenses purchased, used and available. This helps manage license compliance and optimize license usage
  • Usage tracking: SAM tools monitor software usage patterns to identify underutilized or unused licenses. This information assists in reallocating licenses and reducing unnecessary software spending
  • Compliance monitoring: SAM tools ensure that software usage aligns with licensing agreements. They provide alerts and reports to indicate any potential compliance issues or overuse of licenses
  • Vendor contract management: SAM tools help organizations manage vendor contracts, terms and renewal dates. They provide insights into contract terms and conditions, enabling organizations to plan and negotiate effectively
  • Integration with IT systems: Many SAM tools integrate with other IT management systems, such as IT service management (ITSM) and configuration management databases (CMDBs), providing a holistic view of IT assets

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