Right questions to ask to help you choose the best SAM tool or service
There’s no deficiency in tools and services when it comes to looking for your first or next Software Asset Management solution. A quick search will leave you with multiple tools and companies that offer SAM services to choose from, so it is important to know – what are the main goals you want to achieve, and which SAM tool or service meets all your requirements. So, we offer you a small piece of advice on what might be the right questions you must answer to choose the best solution for your needs.
How big is your company?
When you`re selecting a Software Asset Management (SAM) tool, it`s crucial to take the size of the company and the number of workstations into consideration. If you`re a small company, you most probably do not need a complicated enterprise-grade SAM tool and would be totally fine with an annual SAM audit to shine the light on some of the spots you might have missed. On the contrary, if you`re a big organization with various software, apps, and cloud solutions used by employees in-house and as well as remotely and a complicated IT structure you should definitely consider something more complex with ongoing support and renewal of information because if left unattended for too long it can go askew really fast.
How big and complex is your inventory?
One of the first things you must assess is – how big is the pool of the software your company uses, software vendors, device types, and locations your company operates in. Maybe you’ve just undergone a merger, your company has franchises, multiple departments, or maybe there are outsourced functions? Is all software used on-premises or on a cloud or both? Big organizations with complex structures can get careless with their software management as everyone thinks that someone else is in charge of it, though in fact – no one is. Human errors can cost the company a lot if not taken care of in a timely manner and “excel-type” accounting systems are out of the question in such environments.
What results do you expect?
It is absolutely crucial to define the goals you want to reach with the SAM tool or service. Do you want license management (for Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM, etc), inventory and discovery, software usage statistics, mobile devices or virtual environments management, metering? Also, what kind of reports do you expect, and what are the company’s further plans in terms of IT system expansion. Simply spending money on a SAM tool is not the solution if you do not have a deeper understanding of how it can assist your company in your daily processes and how it solves risks and problems you have already encountered.
Is the service or tool compatible with your company’s systems?
The most popular software that needs assessment is Microsoft products, Oracle, SAP, and other big vendor software. But if your company uses some specific solutions, you must research if it is compatible with the SAM tool or the service you are provided. For example, if you have extensive virtualization, you will want to make sure that the SAM tool is very good at calculating license consumption based on V-Center and Hyper-V data collection. Make sure that the tool can cope with multiple license metrics being applied to different instances of the same application. Also, think about your already existing systems like HR, procurement, and IT among others, and how the SAM tool will fit in the processes.
Do your employees have the skills?
Assess if your employees have the needed skills to drive and monitor the process. It is pointless to purchase a tool no one in your company can use. Ask your SAM partner to provide support, or fully take over the process to deliver maximum results and reap the first benefits as soon as possible, to see the tool in action. The talent shortage in IT as well as in SAM is a global problem, therefore do not shy away from asking for help. Hiring a SAM tool-approved partner will cost less than making an employee who lacks the knowledge to implement a tool he is not able to run.
Trying to answer all these questions might point you to the right decision on whether you need to invest in a SAM tool or service. It is important to remember that just a simple tool will not work if you don’t have a clear understanding of what value it can bring you. Make it a part of your strategy, cost-saving solution, workflow, and resource optimization opportunity and you will never want to go back to work without SAM services.