Is SAM an Infant?
Not to our surprise Forrester and ITAM Review have assessed the state of SAM. Conclusion: it is still in its infancy as can be read in an this article posted on ZDNet.
From our experience with companies of all sizes in all geographical areas around the globe we know that SAM indeed is still in its infancy state. In our 16 years of working on software compliance, none of us has ever seen a company that has a full working SAM process. A number of customers are working on it and many organizations see the value it can bring but there remains a lotto be done.
One of the major issues is the almost exclusive focus on process while little attention is being paid to practical solutions. IT people are often technically oriented and turn to technical solutions. A common misunderstanding is that SAM is implemented the moment a SAM tool has been deployed. But in practice it's not that much about the tool. Automation and tooling are there to optimize and support processes, they are not a solution in itself. Data from various sources, some important ones non technical, are needed to comply to the license restrictions of software products used and thus need to be collected.
Another issue is the level of ambition. Even with two or three large enterprise software publishers the challenges are large and you need to learn to walk before you can run. SAM is not a theoretical process and procedures exercise. Policies are important, but only when the core tasks are properly delt with, which are highly operational. Take for instance collecting your agreements, fully understand your entitlement, understand deployment, measure usage, be able to create a solid & repeatable gap analysis, etc. Once the operational core is in place and can be trusted, data is available to do steering. At this phase, policies and procedures should come into play.
In short: proceed step by step, focus and find the knowledgeable people to support you!