The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Mid-Market SAM Software Review Guidelines

Mid-Market Software Asset Management Software Group Test

In our first group test we reviewed Mid-Market Software Asset Management (SAM) Software. The software reviewed in this group…

  1. Includes software that has been specifically designed to help organisations discover, identify and reconcile their software installations against software purchases.
  2. Is ideally suited to organisations of between 500 and 5000 hardware assets.

For clarity, the software reviewed had Mid-Market characteristics but are not limited to the Mid-Market. In fact many of the software tool sets assessed in the review scaled from small SME installations to tens of thousands of assets.

Mid-Market Characteristics:

  • Software that is relatively straightforward to install
  • Software that is relatively straightforward to configure and maintain
  • Has ‘Out of the box’ functionality
  • Does not involve intensive amounts of consultancy to start delivering results

Software Asset Management is defined by ITIL as

“All of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets within an organisation, throughout all stages of their lifecycle. “

With this as our guiding principle software was assessed using the following guidelines;

Asset Database 15% of Overall Score
15% of the overall score is attributed to the asset database within the software asset management tool. For a SAM tool to be successful in the longer term it is vital to for the user to have confidence in the data and its accuracy.

  • Accurate view of all assets
  • Assets on the network that have not been audited
  • Assets that are no longer responding / Removed
  • New assets added to the network
Software Recognition 30% of Overall Score
30% of the overall score is attributed to the ability of the software asset management tool to recognise software installations and present them in an organised and recognisable format. The first challenge is to convert the raw installed executables and associated files into a readable format and then to determine whether that application requires a license. This has the largest percentage weighting of all of the features reviewed because it is arguably the biggest headache for software asset managers and is the most time consuming of tasks.

  • The percentage of software recognised
  • The percentage of software recognised as ‘Licensable’ out of the box
  • Normalise / organise software publishers
  • Varied sources of evidence for recognition
Software Reconciliation 20% of Overall Score
20% of the overall score is attributed to the ability of the tools reviewed to assist users in pairing what is installed on their network versus what they have purchased.

  • Automation of the reconciliation process
  • Management of complex licensing rules
  • Manage licensing in virtual environments
  • Storage and Retrieval of Licensing Documents
  • Management of key data for renegotiating contracts
  • Optimising use of licenses
Reporting 15% of Overall Score
15% of the overall score is attributed to the general reporting functionality of the tool sets and the ability to faciliate other key processes within the software asset management lifecycle.

  • Availability of data for other uses
  • Integration Points / Use of Existing Infrastructure
  • Reporting Flexibility
  • Reporting Depth
General Features 20% of Overall Score
Finally, 20% of the overall score is attributed to the general features of the toolsets, namely ease of use.

  • Cultivating Best Practice Work Flows
  • Ease of Use
  • Automation of Routine Tasks
  • Documentation and Support
  • Deployment
  • Operating System Coverage

Scope and Limitations

Please note that the review of these toolsets is intended as a guide only. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to software asset management and every tool set should be reviewed with regards to your specific environment and requirements. Similarly our reviews were conducted over a limited number of systems over a relatively short period of time so do not take into account issues such as network performance, scalability and long term usage; all of which are critical to the long term success of SAM tool implementation.

We recommend benchmarking tools in a test environment against your specific criteria before making a purchase decision. Perhaps most importantly, it is a common misconception that software asset management tools will be a silver bullet that will solve all of your licensing and compliance woes. A good software asset management strategy (As with any other IT Project) is a blend of tools and technology, processes, policies, education, training and senior management buy-in. Or in simpler terms the ITIL adage is PEOPLE, PROCESSES and TECHNOLOGY.

If you have any feedback or comments on our review criteria or the reviews themselves please do not hesitate to contact us.

email

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment