The ITAM Review

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

Modern SAM requires ‘Environment Recognition’ as much as ‘Software Recognition’

Do you recognise your environment?

Do you recognise your software environment?

This is part one of a two part series on ‘Environment Recognition’. Part two will be published in due course.

Here at ITAMS, it’s been interesting to witness the increased interest in the ITAM market and organizations wishing to gain control of software risk.

As more and more software permeates every area of modern business, we’re finding that organizations are no longer willing to sit in the pockets of software publishers and issue blank cheques – they want to gain control of costs and ensure maximum return for their IT spend.

An industry maturing – and growing more complex

Over the years there have been a number of market forces affecting the key requirements for managing software licensing:

  1. A proliferation of new device types and platforms for organizations to manage
  2. The introduction of shared services, public cloud and other virtual infrastructures
  3. Business units outside IT buying software and services
  4. A maturing SAM industry have realized they need to focus their resources on the financial value of software, not the quantity – which usually leads to a focus on the datacentre and key large vendors

License metrics have also become increasingly more complex, aligning themselves to the compute power, usage or value of the software being used rather than just it’s existence on a device.

How do all of these industry trends affect SAM?

There has always been an overlap between the practices of Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM). It has never been possible to manage software without a good handle of hardware – but we’re finding the interdependency is becoming even more significant.

These days, to maintain a trusted and credible license position it is no longer the case of recognizing what software is installed (although this is still critical) – we also need to recognize the environment in which the software is used.

‘Environment Recognition’

If software recognition is the process of translating technical installation data to meaningful product data ready for reconciliation with purchasing; then environment recognition is identifying the key environmental characteristics critical to manage complex licensing types that go beyond installation. Who is using the software, who’s infrastructure does it sit on? What underlying processing power does it use? Or could it use and so on.

Staying sane in an increasingly complex world

Whilst delivering our SAM Managed Services to customers, we’ve found that in order to stay sane amongst this increasing complexity and growing number of data sources, the Software SKU catalogue is key.

We use the SKU catalogue as a central source of truth, a forge in which to mix multiple data sources from multiple tools, financial records, systems management data and configuration data and compare it with entitlement records and product use rights to create a true picture of effective licensing.

In my next article, we’ll explore some real life examples of Environment Recognition.

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About Hugh Skingley

Originally from an IT service management background, Hugh has more than 15 years of senior IT experience, performing a variety of roles for clients as a subject matter specialist, data analyst, designing and implementing solutions and conducting SAM tool and process assessments. Hugh joined at Senior Consultant in 2013 when ITAMS acquired his co-founded boutique SAM business Liken. Today Hugh is Head of Consulting and manages the ever-growing consulting team at ITAMS.

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