There have been a few discussions on LinkedIn recently regarding ITAM SaaS.
That is, ITAM software and services delivered as a service via the internet.
Delivering an ITAM tool via the web is not a new concept but I believe it is definitely gaining traction.
Why is that? Perhaps it is due to increased bandwidth or overcoming security concerns. However my money is on the fact that end users have realised that SAM done properly and continually is such a cumbersome labour intensive beast to deal with that it makes sense to off load some or parts of the process.
Many partners are offering SAM business process outsourcing services (Example). I think this can represent a good deal for end users but only if the balance of risk and reward is set right (See ‘Profit Motives in Software Asset Management‘)
I believe some vendors are gaining competitive edge by providing value added services around their core tool offerings. So it’s not just about providing the software in the cloud but also taking away some of the heavy lifting. Software recognition and software reconciliation data crunching are arguably the largest tasks. Nobody has the holy grail in terms of these tasks – but casting a human eye over results combined with the economies of scale that the web brings might see us come close. See BDNA, Snow and ManageSoft for vendors doing some good work in this area. I have also heard good things about ComplianceConsole from several different sources but can’t vouch for it myself.
Early results from the 2010 tools census show the industry demanding more automation and out of the box functionality. The cloud appears to be the perfect environment to deliver this.
Finally, one of the future benefits of doing ITAM work in the cloud is the anonymised aggregation of data. For example – I have 5,000 desktops, am I getting a good deal on my antivirus contract compared to other companies of the same size in my industry? There is not much mention of this from ITAM Vendors at the moment but I am sure it will surface as volumes increase.
See also R ‘Ray’ Wang, “The Hidden Value In SaaS Deployments” and Computerworld “Amazon EC2’s model is a solution for shelfware, says IDC”
Some other SaaS offerings:
And some systems management tools that include SaaS inventory
If you know of any other tools that should be on the list please contact me.
About Martin Thompson
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.