Over the past ten years or so, software asset management (SAM) has seen a large increase in demand and interest in its services. SAM professionals are now considered a niche, with established, specialist professionals in high demand from a variety of organisations across a number of different sectors.
What has caused this recent uptake of SAM, and how is the industry coping with the greater demand?
Why are companies looking for specialist SAM professionals?
Due to the complexities around software asset management and IT asset management companies are now looking for specialist SAM and ITAM professionals, rather than making do with internal resources. This is due to the complexities around ITAM processes and also software licensing. ITAM and software licensing is two separate disciplines, which means that an ITAM expert may not be a software licensing expert. So organisations are now looking for ITAM experts to implement an ITAM program, get the processes created and then manage those processes and provide an education for end users.
A software-licensing expert on the other hand needs to have expert knowledge of all of the main software vendors, also known as Tier 1, licensing models and have general expertise around all licensing models. The complexities around both disciplines means that a single professional simply couldn’t hand the demands of managing both aspects which results in organisations needing two separate practitioners.
Recently there have been a number of articles around the skills shortage within the ITAM space. The awareness and understanding around ITAM’s importance is starting to be realized within businesses, so they want to take action and have an employee that is a dedicated ITAM professional. However, finding someone that ticks all the right boxes is proving a real challenge.
As I’ll mention later, there is a greater demand for data skills rather than technical skills. ITAM professionals need to be able to analyse and make sense of data sets, rather than having the technical know-how around technology. As Victoria Barber from Gartner states ‘the significant growth in SAM investment in recent years has meant a huge demand for experienced SAM resources from a limited pool of experienced professionals.’
The limited pool of experienced ITAM professionals simply pushes up wages. If you’re in a niche market, and a specialist within that market, then of course you can charge top rates. This will then in-turn price businesses out of having a dedicated ITAM professional so they need to find that resource elsewhere.
Wake up time!
There are a number of aspects as to why there has been an increase in interest and awareness of SAM. They are;
- Audits are the buzzword at the moment. I’m sure everyone is aware of the implications from a bad audit, so being audit ready and ensuring you are managing your compliancy levels are a huge factor towards the ITAM uptake. Having a bad audit experience cannot only result in huge cost implications, but also in a damaged reputation, which may have long-term ramifications.
- Best practice. All organisations want to be seen to be complying with best practice. ITAM best practice is no different.
- Cost savings. The cost savings implications from implementing an ITAM program has been viewed as one of the key promotion points for ITAM. In the current economic climate all organisations are looking to be as cost effective as possible.
- Increasing complexity of software licensing. There are a number of new licensing models that require expert knowledge for effective management. There are also a number of existing complicated licensing structures that have recently had an increase in demand.
- Tool influence. The tool market has exploded over the last few years with a number of ITAM tools now on the market. These tools are getting more and more sophisticated and help organisations with more information on what is installed on their estate. Organisations are also seeing the importance of having an ITAM tool, whilst in the knowledge that there is no ‘silver bullet’ tool available.
- Agility – to move fast, push out projects faster and respond quicker – IT departments need good trustworthy data so that they can make fast decisions to support the business. Solid ITAM data is critical to IT decision making.
Bottom line impact
One of the main reasons for organisations recent interest in ITAM and SAM is the awareness and impacts having a successful program have on an organisations bottom line. There are a number of key financial impacts that ITAM and SAM have on an organisation. The amount of money that can be saved on software and hardware by implementing ITAM processes can be huge and make a real difference to how an organisation views software and hardware.
It’s never too late to start saving money on your software and hardware estate. You can start to reduce spending on software by using a usage tool to identify where licenses are not being optimized. You can then recycle that license to a user that has an actual requirement for it. You can also remove the software from end users who are not using it to create a licensing pool for future requests.
It’s also important to note that implementing ITAM processes can help save a large amount of money when it comes to software agreements. Having processes in place will allow you to have full control over the contract negotiations and have the ability to understand current and future requirements to ensure there isn’t any over spend on software.
We here at the ITAM Review can’t see the let-up for SAM services and the need for SAM anytime soon. It is a vital cog in any organisations wheel and is critical towards organisations successes. It is good to see that organisations are starting to wake up to the fact that they need SAM; it’s not something they can go without anymore.