Software Asset Management (SAM)
Software Asset Management (SAM) is all the capabilities necessary for the effective management, control and protection of software assets (be those on-premises or in the cloud) throughout all stages of their lifecycle.
ITIL defines SAM as: “All of the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets within an organization throughout all stages of the lifecycle.”
Role of Software Asset Management (SAM) in Organizations
SAM can serve many different functions within organizations, depending on their software portfolios, IT infrastructures, resource availability, and business goals.
For many organizations, the goal of implementing a SAM program is very tactical in nature, focused specifically on balancing the number of software licenses purchased with the number of actual licenses consumed or used. In addition to balancing the number of licenses purchased with the amount of consumption, an effective SAM program must also ensure that the usage of all installed software is in keeping with the terms and conditions of the specific vendor license agreement. In doing so, organizations can minimize liabilities associated with software piracy in the event of an audit by a software vendor or a third party such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA). SAM, according to this interpretation, involves conducting detailed software inventories on an ongoing basis to determine the exact number of software licenses consumed, comparing this information with the number of licenses purchased, reviewing how the software is being used in respect to the terms and conditions and establishing controls to ensure that proper licensing practices are maintained on an ongoing basis. This can be accomplished through a combination of IT processes, purchasing policies and procedures, and technology solutions such as software inventory tools.
Counting installations is the most common means of measuring license consumption but some software is licensed by number of users, capital, processors or CPU Cores.
More broadly defined, the strategic goals of SAM often include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Reduce software and support costs by negotiating volume contract agreements and eliminating or reallocating underutilized software licenses
- Enforce compliance with corporate security policies and desktop/server/mobile standards
- Improve worker productivity by deploying the right kinds of technology more quickly and reliably
- Limit overhead associated with managing and supporting software by streamlining and/or automating IT processes (such as inventory tracking, software deployment, issue tracking, and patch management)
- Establish ongoing policies and procedures surrounding the acquisition, documentation, deployment, usage and retirement of software in an effort to recognize long-term benefits of SAM