The ITAM Review

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INTERVIEW: Bjorn Westerlund, “Building the Business Case for Software Asset Management”

Bjorn Westerlund can be credited as one of the driving forces behind the development of the International Standard for Software Asset Management, ISO19770. Now semi-retired, he has kindly shared his views with The ITAM Review and, in particular, his recommendations for building a business case for SAM.

Q. ITAM Review: How did you find yourself in the SAM market?

In 1994 I started to work for Pharmacia where I started with the responsibility for their new Select agreement with Microsoft. This lead to me starting a License management group which took real “speed” when we became Pharmacia & Upjohn 1996. I moved from IT into procurement and had the title Sr. Procurement Manager and was mainly responsible for our software contracts. I was also a member of our global IT procurement council where we laid the ground for effective and ethical IT procurement processes for the Pharmacia & Upjohn corporation on a global basis.

Together with my colleague Roger Schweitzer we started to get interested in SAM. We were a little worried as we were signing software contracts for millions of dollars and then just let the business and IT departments use these contracts without us knowing if they really following all the terms and conditions in those contracts. To start with I made a pilot SAM project for Pharmacia in Sweden. This project started in 2001 and for this project I brought in two consultants, Måns Frambäck and Roger Wittlock. Mårten and Roger are the two people who started the whole initiative to create the SAM standards and I was asked to join them in their effort. Pharmacia sponsored my ISO/IEC work so I had no problems in joining the ISO/IEC Working group 21. It was very hard in the beginning, when we attending the first plenary meeting in Busan in South Korea there were only three people; it was the convenor Lennart Piper, Roger Wittlock (who later became the convenor) and me.

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Q. ITAM Review: What led Pharmacia to support your work with the international standard for SAM? Why not implement what is considered best for Pharmacia and be done with it?

Pharmacia were aware of the need for international standards and realised that they would benefit from my work in the ISO/IEC WG as I would increase my experience from implementing Software Asset Management.

Q. ITAM Review: Based on your experience of SAM with Pharmacia and the international standard, how would you recommend that organisations go about developing a business case for Software Asset Management?

I would recommend businesses consider the following;

  1. Get the support for the SAM project from the highest possible level of management or have that as one of the goals for the business case.
  2. Identify the person who shall be responsible for SAM.
  3. Analyse any existing software policy to see if it is good enough.
  4. Identify all existing processes that will be needed for the SAM project (normally most but not all processes are already in place) and make a plan for how to implement required processes.
  5. Get an overview of software applications which are installed but not used. This information is good for making calculations for possible savings by implementing usage metering. Most organisations will not know their license situation when starting the business case so it can be very hard to estimate the costs that will be inccured and how many licenses are missing. This fact should be mentioned in the business case.
  6. Identify the costs for implementing SAM including any SAM tools.
  7. A SAM tool should not be purchased until all the processes are identified and being set in place.
  8. Last but by no means least, set the scope for the SAM project – Which geographies? which organisations are included? which software shall be governed? It is recommended to start off with a limited scope with the long term goal of including the entire corporation and all used software.
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Q. ITAM Review: What are you currently working on?

I have now retired from the ISO/IEC work but I still present about the standards. I am still working, to some part, as a SAM resource for Insight Technology here in Scandinavia and have just completed the implementation of License Management processes for EON-IS here in Sweden.

Note: At the time of publication, Bjorn is currently looking to sell his domain samspecialist.com – please contact Bjorn directly to discuss further.

Bjorn’s LinkedIn profile can be found here.

What else would you add to help build a business case for SAM?

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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 is 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.

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