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Should The BSA Charge for SAM Advantage?

Who should pay for SAM Advantage? Following my recent article on the launch of SAM Advantage by the BSA – I received this anonymous contribution from an experienced SAM practitioner.

In a nutshell – Software publishers have the most to gain from SAM education and create licensing complexity in the first place – so why do end users have to pay for it?

In response – Peter Beruk, Senior Director, Compliance Marketing, BSA.

Who’s Advantage?

Whilst I applaud the BSA for producing what is by all accounts one of the best SAM training packages around (BSA SAM Advantage), I do call into question the morality of charging for it. The BSA is of course funded by the software industry and a full list of members can be found here:  http://www.bsa.org/country/BSA%20and%20Members/Our%20Members.aspx

Over the course of the last 20-plus years these software publishers have made billions and billions of dollars profit from the sale of software. The majority of this software has served us well in terms of functionality and business benefit, however customers have been very much let down in one respect: the fundamental lack of inbuilt control and management of software licences. This should have been properly addressed years ago, why has it taken so long to see the advent of software identification tags? For info on SWID see http://www.tagvault.org/

One of the direct consequences of the lack of supplier instigated software licence control mechanisms has been the constant display of opportunism by many gung-ho sales people. They know which customers are out-of-control and sales threaten, cajole and bully year after year regarding software licence non-compliance. Admittedly sometimes with good cause but very often legitimate licences are purchased over again and again at the customer’s expense. Yes very often customers don’t help themselves but the blame for lack of comprehensive control mechanisms has to be laid at the door of the software publishers themselves.

So, who benefits from SAM training and certification? Most certainly the customer does, they will be better placed to put their house in order and will undoubtedly realise some cost savings. However, the biggest beneficiary is the software publisher. It will help ensure that customers purchase the licences that they require as they need them, thus improving the cash-flow for the publishers. It will improve the relationship between publishers and their customers. Publishers will be able to scale-down their costly compliance teams. Even the cost-of-sale should reduce, with the introduction of automated software purchasing mechanisms. Predictable cash-flow is one of the major aspirations of software vendors.

When all things are considered it is the publishers who caused the problem and it is the software publishers who should solve the problem. For the software publishers to charge customers to rectify a problem that they are responsible and that will directly benefit the software publishers is similar to an automobile manufacturer selling a car without a user manual and then charging for forecourt instruction!

Who’s advantage? I urge the BSA to re-think their strategy!

The BSA Responds

Peter Beruk, Compliance Marketing, BSA;

SAM Advantage represents a multi-year initiative to develop an effective, user friendly, multi-platform software asset management training course that provides organizations a clear path toward ISO/IEC 19770-1 SAM compliance. The majority of our users will be practitioners who will use their certification as a professional service offering to their clients; therefore, like other IT training and certification programs, users pay a fee. We believe this model is essential in delivering a SAM offering that is truly vendor neutral, globally applicable, and sustainable over the long term.

Independent studies have repeatedly demonstrated that organizations that properly manage their software assets increase IT efficiencies, reduce risks and control costs. In fact, according to a recent KPMG study, organizations can reduce IT labor costs per PC by as much as 50 percent by proactively managing their assets. BSA is pleased to offer a SAM training and certification program that helps organizations meet their IT and business goals.

What is your view?

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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 the Chief Agitator at the Campaign for Clear Licensing, a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the SAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770 and board member of Free ICT Europe which supports the ICT secondary market.

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

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