Software Asset Management: Business Intelligence of your IT organization
In this blog series I explained why Software Asset Management (SAM) is important for each (medium to) large business and how you develop a long-term approach. In this last article I would like to fight for the position SAM occupies in many organizations. Is SAM the data drain of the IT department or is SAM the Business Intelligence on which a lot relies? It makes a world of a difference.
Anyone who has an active SAM program - with fixed processes, the right tool and outsourced specialists - already sees that software asset management is more than a necessary evil. Insight in your software spend, the topic I started with in this series, brings all kinds of financial advantages. You are prepared for possible audits of software vendors and can therefore avoid unexpected back payments. Moreover, you can achieve cost savings of up to 40 percent within a few years, Gartner calculated (and this is what you see in practice).
More than risk avoidance and cost optimization
These are impressive results, but there is much more than risk avoidance and cost optimization. As SAM manager, you have an enormous amount of valuable data at hand. The big question now is: are you the endpoint where all IT colleagues must deliver their data and say “it's your problem”? Or do you transform this information into business intelligence that the entire IT organization can benefit from? Being 'In control' is important – that’s often the reason you were hired - but why not show that you can make an enormous contribution in business terms?
Substantiation of every business decision
Software is an indispensable factor within the business model for more and more companies, while a more strategic role is expected of the CIO. As SAM manager, you have all the data and insights that are needed at your disposal. This data forms a measure of your position and how healthy your IT organization is. It may also serve as a basis for every business decision taken in the IT field - just like a regular financial administration (and the insights arising therefrom).
Don’t blindly invest
Virtually every business choice consumes an investment whether that's in the physical world or in the 'virtual' world of software. Maybe even more so in the latter case, because of the growing importance of software for organizations. It would be weird to do large investments blindly, as you have SAM data available to substantiate whether this is the right choice. You also don’t purchase a new office without looking at how many employees you will accommodate, or without knowledge of financial opportunities, when you also have another empty building available.
From insight to intelligence
You also need this business intelligence on a software level. Does it make sense to transfer a portion of your IT infrastructure to the cloud? What is the users’ behavior of an application? What software is strategic for my business? Which database software is the best to purchase? Is it smart to discontinue certain software or to renegotiate a particular license? Which contractual requirements should you ask for from outsourced parties? What choices cost what? But also, what hardware does what, how old is it? All these questions can be answered by the BI of SAM data.
World of difference
This different approach to software asset management makes a world of difference within an organization. Instead of just requesting and checking things for your IT colleagues, as SAM manager you deliver data that makes their work better and more effective and help the entire organization move forward. If insight leads to intelligence, you have completed your task as SAM manager.
This article is also published in Dutch on Computable.nl.