Like many IT Best Practices, Software Asset Management (SAM) can be highly ordered, structured, well-designed, and a cost-effective way to save money and avoid audit surprises. 

However it can also suffer from confusion, misunderstanding, lack of focus, and expediencies, especially during design and setup, or if the practitioners are new or understaffed, or if the practice as a whole is unfunded or lacks executive support.

As consultants in the SAM space, we’re often asked to evaluate client practices, to identify gaps, and to recommend desirable future states. Employees of client companies with whom we speak always have deep understandings and insights into their own IT neighborhood, however, peoples’ view of the happenings outside their IT neighborhood is sometimes rather limited, and the lack of SAM roadmaps and signposts can affect perceptions and interpretations.

Everyone has them of course; perceptions and interpretations. How I interpret what just happened – what was just said or done – we all know these can be skewed by variations in the perception of the sender, or the symbols used to convey ideas, or by the perception of the receiver.

George Carlin once said, “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be”. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There are no facts, only interpretations”. And Yogi Berra once said; “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical”.

So what does this have to do with SAM? Well in the course of assisting clients with SAM reviews we often hear diverging interpretations of things from the clients. Here’s a small side-by-side (rhetorically “He said She said”) taste of some of the things we’ve heard from coworkers within the same companies, rendered anonymously:

Person #1 (HE SAID)

  • We have a good ability to depreciate desktop assets
  • Procurements of software do happen outside formal channels
  • Roles dictate software requirements 
  • We do a poor job of re-claiming and re-using desktop software
  • Our vendors manage our hardware inventory
  • We rely on tribal knowledge
  • In terms of SAM process, we make sure things stay crisp and clean
  • Everyone wants one place to go to track software compliance
Person #2 (SHE SAID)
  • We always need to remind XXX to make sure they don’t forget depreciation
  • We keep tight control on who acquires software products
  • If I want some software I just ask XXX and he delivers
  • We capture all software licenses for reuse and track them on spreadsheets 
  • We occasionally get a maintenance bill for devices we no longer have 
  • There is a management override for security
  • I can guarantee you there’s not just one process
  • I’ve never even thought about software compliance

When companies focus sufficient resources on their SAM program, these “he said - she said” things, whether real or perceptions, are resolved when SAM SPEAKS THE TRUTH, by checking the documented SAM program, policies, and procedures, and the ITAM database.

When companies do NOT focus sufficient resources on their SAM program, then usually the surprise SOFTWARE VENDOR AUDIT SPEAKS THE TRUTH.

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