I met with Patama Chantaruck back in 2017, former global Microsoft SAM lead, who was honest enough to admit that Microsoft had confused their customers and partners, using the word SAM to represent soft audits and compliance reviews.
“…and it was clear she was well aware of how SAM has been mis-represented in the past. She hopes this new programme will “reduce that misunderstanding” and that “It’s us (Microsoft), it’s the partner, we really need to catch up in helping our customers perform SAM in the right way”. Source
It appears this mature outlook has been abandoned as Microsoft announce “$38M of incentives for the SAM Channel” at their Inspire partner conference.
“Cloud Migration is the goal, Solution Assessments is the brand”
During a session led by Rudy Sias, whose LinkedIn profile openly claims to “…drive strategy for adoption of cloud services for the SAM and Audit motions”, it was shared that during FY18/19, 290 partners were paid $28M in incentives to conduct 2,600 assessments.
To help hit growth in pre-sales assessments under the guise of SAM for this financial year, Microsoft has loosened the prerequisites for partners conducting assessments. So now any Silver or Gold partner with a pulse can play. Microsoft customers should prepare for unqualified partners claiming to offer SAM nirvana (As long as it results in cloud sales).
If you want to pay partners to conduct cloud pre-sales assessments, great! But let’s stop calling it “SAM”.
SAM is a business practice for managing assets throughout their lifecycle, it’s not a “sales play” for Azure. Real SAM would provide customers will a multitude of options, which might include sweating Microsoft for a little longer or building a multi-cloud strategy, it would not provide “Migration as the only outcome” as stated with these engagements.
Real SAM would reduce costs, mitigate risks, speed up transformation and provide increased security of the network. Real SAM involves lasting organisational change, habits changed, assets managed, business improved. Buying some Azure to cover up the cracks in sloppy processes is not SAM.
Microsoft, please stop abusing the word “SAM”. You are ruining the term for REAL partners delivering REAL SAM, you are dragging our industry backwards. You are poisoning the term SAM in end user organisations minds, confusing it with “Microsoft Audit” and “Sales exercise”.
SAM in the 2020s delivers considerable strategic advantage. As we try to grow the ITAM industry and the number of organisations participating, your interference is not helpful.
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 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.