The ITAM Review

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ARTICLE: Why SAM Projects Fail – Poor Communication (Part 5/8)

This article has been kindly contributed by Phara McLachlan of Animus Solutions.

The ITIL Guide to SAM highlights several possible problems that may arise when implementing Software Asset Management projects. In this series we look at some of those issues and how organisations can address them using Phara’s hands-on experience.

Why do Software Asset Management projects fail?

Part One – Conflict with Decentralisation Culture
Part Two – Lack of Senior Management Support
Part Three – Lack of Clear Responsibilities
Part Four – Customized vs. Off-the-shelf SAM Software
Part Five – Poor Communication
Part Six – Lack of End User Support
Part Seven – Underestimating Software Recognition
Part Eight – Legal Requirements

In this part we take a look at the role of clear communications in a successful SAM implementation.

Communications is a critical factor in any IT service management (ITSM) implementation project, but all too often, there is little to no communications process.

The importance of communicating with users is to build awareness, set realistic expectations, raise support, minimize resistance and ensure successful implementation and user adoption.

Communications should be a 4-step process:

    1- Creation of a communication plan, including identification of audiences and messages
    2- Building awareness pre- and post-implementation
    3- Training and detailed documentation
    4- Audit of the implementation and follow through

In most companies, the communications program only consists of the first two or the middle two. However, all four need to be part of the communications initiatives in order to be truly successful.

We’ve also noticed that detailed documentation of processes and projects is not a standard practice by either the internal trainer or consultants, but this is extremely vital to keeping the knowledge within the group even if resources are shifted.

Do you agree? are clear communications critical to a successful Software Asset Management implementation?

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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 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.

4 Comments

  1. Allan Mejer says:

    Actually, this is the one point, where we (PC-WARE) do not fully support what ITIL suggests. I

    understand and agree, that communication is needed, but only to some extend.

    Take the example of the costumer, who want to re-use

    licenses, and therefore as a good ITIL organisation communicates to the users, who hasn’t used a specific application. The communication

    could be “Dear user, we are going to de-install application A, as you are not using it” or “Dear user, can you please inform us, whether

    we should allow you to keep application A, please provide a good business reason”.

    In these cases the costumer ends up in a

    communication/e-mail war, because nobody wants to have things taken away from them, and all sorts of arguments will fly in the air

    attempting to keep the application on the users system.

    We have a costumer, who actually tested this. One group of approx. 300

    users were asked: Do you need this application? and the other group of approx. same size simply had their application de-installed.

    The result was, that from the first group almost 60% responded, that they needed it (even though data showed, that they hadn’t used

    it for more than 90 days), and from the other group only 2% asked, if they could get help to get their application back………

    So communication is a good thing in general, but be careful, not all things needs communication.

  2. Allan Mejer says:

    Actually, this is the one point, where we (PC-WARE) do not fully support what ITIL suggests. I understand and agree, that communication is needed, but only to some extend.

    Take the example of the costumer, who want to re-use licenses, and therefore as a good ITIL organisation communicates to the users, who hasn’t used a specific application. The communication could be “Dear user, we are going to de-install application A, as you are not using it” or “Dear user, can you please inform us, whether we should allow you to keep application A, please provide a good business reason”.

    In these cases the costumer ends up in a communication/e-mail war, because nobody wants to have things taken away from them, and all sorts of arguments will fly in the air attempting to keep the application on the users system.

    We have a costumer, who actually tested this. One group of approx. 300 users were asked: Do you need this application? and the other group of approx. same size simply had their application de-installed.

    The result was, that from the first group almost 60% responded, that they needed it (even though data showed, that they hadn’t used it for more than 90 days), and from the other group only 2% asked, if they could get help to get their application back………

    So communication is a good thing in general, but be careful, not all things needs communication.

  3. I agree with Allan that the communication like “Dear user, we are going

    to de-install application A, as you are not using it” must take place. This notice should be followed by unistallation of the software,

    and be precisely described in Company’s internal documents. BUT one more communication point should be taken into consideration – the

    user should be assured that if he/she will need it, he/she will be provided with the license, exceptionally for being used for business

    related tasks.
    Such an awareness of potential availability could decrease the number of users wishing this or that software to be

    installed at their workplaces without having a real necessity.
    My experience shows that using such an approach, the users not only

    uninstall the partucular software when it is requested, they also let me know if they don’t need it any more.

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