The ITAM Review

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

SAM Managed Services in 2022

This article “SAM Managed Services in 2022” was written by Rich Gibbons, ITAM Review, and Kris Johnson, Chief Product Office at Anglepoint.

The release of the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SAM Managed Services is a great time to look at the changes over the past 12 months and to consider how managed services can fit into a modern ITAM department.

You can access a copy of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant here, courtesy of Anglepoint.

The only SAM Gartner Magic Quadrant

It must be noted that there is a Gartner Magic Quadrant for SAM Managed Services but no longer one for SAM tools – does this indicate that customer organisations are moving from in-house tools to external managed services? Or is it perhaps more that the SAM tools market has become relatively stable and no longer warrants an annual run-down of the movers and shakers…due to there being little movement or shaking?

What has changed in 2022?

Since its inception in 2020, this year (2022) is the first SAM Managed Services Magic Quadrant that doesn’t feature one of the “Big 4” consulting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, EY, PWC) in the top right “Leaders” quadrant. Deloitte were there in 2021 but have moved into the “Challengers” quadrant for 2022 (along with KPMG), while EY have been dropped completely. While the reasons behind this are known only to Gartner, it suggests there has been a shift from large “one size fits all” service companies to more agile, bespoke service offerings where providers can more easily adapt to meet a customer’s specific requirements.

Anglepoint are still the 2022 leaders, although not as far into the top-right corner as they were last year and with less distance between them and the other “leaders”. This appears to indicate a maturing market in 2022, particularly when coupled with there being just 3 “leaders” in 2022 versus 5 in 2021.

It is also interesting to note that, with this year’s inclusion of SHI, 5 of the 11 participants are what would traditionally be described as “software resellers” – as the move towards service delivery (over product transactions) continues apace.

Finally, USU – the only SAM tool provider also included on the Managed Services quadrant in 2021 – are no longer present in 2022.

Where do the leaders stand out?

As well as evaluating the products/services and how they’re skilled and delivered, other criteria Gartner use to measure the providers include:

  • Market responsiveness
  • Customer experience
  • Innovation
  • Business model
  • Geographic strategy

Showing that evaluating an ITAM partner can be just as much about their business strategy and future plans as their ability to immediately deliver a specific service.

How can SAM managed services help ITAM professionals?

There can be a worry that using 3rd-party managed services may be seen by managers and executives that you (and your team if you have one) are not capable or are struggling within your role. This certainly isn’t the case – using managed services correctly can be a great way of levelling up your SAM and ITAM capabilities. It can give you more time to focus on the “what’s next?” whilst still ensuring the “right now” tasks are completed effectively and efficiently.

There are many aspects within an enterprise that, although integral to the smooth running of the business, are handled by 3rd-party organisations – these can include legal counsel and tax/accountancy requirements. Even where you may have in-house staff is such areas, outside contractors will still be used for certain tasks – due to specialist skills being needed – and/or at busy times in order to scale capacity. There is no reason that ITAM shouldn’t follow the same model. In fact, given the sheer number of vendors, licensing models, and metrics that are present within the average organisation, perhaps ITAM should be the leading proponent of using third-party services when required!

Enable you to do more

The wide remit of ITAM means it can be difficult to build an ITAM team large enough to contain all the relevant skills at the same time. Most large enterprises are likely to use all of the Tier 1 vendors:

  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • SAP

As well as probably at least 4 of the Tier 2 vendors including:

  • Quest
  • Micro Focus
  • Adobe
  • VMware
  • Salesforce
  • ServiceNow

So you’ll need deep licensing expertise on at least 8 different vendors – all with differing, complex licensing rules . This is the case even if you have a SAM tool in use within the business – while a tool can help, there is always a requirement for people with the skills to understand and interpret the rules, and then apply them to your specific scenarios. Then there is the “long tail” of software vendors which has grown significantly since 2020 with the rapid growth of SaaS usage and proliferation of products and vendors.

Then there are the skills and time required to manage ongoing areas such as:

  • Public cloud licensing and spend
  • Renewals and contracts
  • Hardware
  • Creating and maintaining processes
  • ELP generation

All of these tasks will require time to learn (and keep updated) and then time to perform on a regular and consistent basis. Additionally, you may well have an audit (or two) happening alongside all this. Not only do audits require time from an organisation, they also require skills and strategies that you may not possess internally. While someone on the ITAM team is able to respond the publisher requests and perform tasks as directed, they may not have the audit defence skills to create the best possible outcome.

If you’re not in a position to find, hire, and train the several people needed to fully staff your ITAM team, looking at third-party managed services can be a great way to bolster and complement your existing team members. Identify the strengths you already have in-house, determine where the immediate gaps are, and look for a partner that fits into that gap.

Enable you to be more strategic

Many of the activities we’ve just discussed would be classed as “tactical” – they need doing and are important but don’t help you progress and elevate what you’re doing i.e. they’re not “strategic”. Having the time to look ahead, to talk with stakeholders around the business about their plans and needs, and to align your focus with the organisation’s strategy are all critically important for a modern, progressive, impactful ITAM department.

All too often, ITAM professionals describe themselves as “fighting fires” – simply reacting to the latest, immediate situation that has arisen. This leaves them – you – unable to take stock, build relationships, and make plans to grow and reach the next level within the business. Handing off some of the repetitive tasks to a partner can give you the time you need to grow your ITAM practice while being safe in the knowledge that everything will be done as needed to keep the foundation strong.

Additionally, many SAM managed service providers can also assist and support you as you move into a more strategic phase with ITAM, helping you organise and administer governance functions, assemble a steering committee with internal stakeholders, and more.

Looking ahead

SAM Managed Services are a growing part of the industry – with more focus on them from partners and, with the increase in the number and type of assets, an increasing need for external assistance within ITAM teams the world over.
Using third-party services as one of the tools available to you will help you achieve more, reduce your stress levels, and demonstrate to business leaders how ITAM can support several of their strategic initiatives and objectives.

You can access a copy of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant here, courtesy of Anglepoint.

About Rich Gibbons

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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