When I first joined this industry 15 years ago, there were not a lot of highly experienced Software Asset Management (SAM) professionals. In fact, the SAM tools market was equally as light. Back then, we were all figuring out how to best approach SAM while on-the-job.

Over the years, this industry has evolved to the point where SAM is a profession and people with skills and experience are in demand. How did this happen? While SAM used to be considered a “nice-to-have,” it has become a “must-have.” 

The value and importance of reliable SAM programs has risen up the food chain in many organizations. Why? The combination of multiple audits with negative outcomes, unfavorable contract negotiations, overspending on software licenses and maintenance, and efforts to reduce IT spend have been contributing factors. Organizations have needed to gain control of their software estates and learn how to optimize in order to maintain compliance and reduce risk and spend. Through supporting the growth and maturity of internal SAM programs, companies are contributing to perfecting the SAM profession.

There are many different roles in SAM, however here are some examples of the mainstream positions:

  • Software Asset Manager – tracks, manages and optimizes all software licenses
  • Licensing Analyst - evaluates data and determines compliance positions with software publisher agreements
  • Contract Analyst - evaluates license entitlements, terms and conditions, and supports negotiations of software agreements
  • Tools Analyst - understands how to configure, run and fix tools
  • Process Engineer - designs or improves processes such as the software asset lifecycle

While there are additional roles in SAM, these are the ones that appear to be in the most demand.

While participating in numerous SAM conferences and events over the past 15 years, I have observed that the industry has grown from infancy to adulthood during this time frame. The depth and quality of conference content has improved ten-fold and there are many more SAM gurus in the profession.

In conversations with market analysts and industry professionals, they all agree that it can be challenging for organizations to find the resources they require. Many SAM professionals are employed, however any reorganizations create an opportunity for movement. The SAM industry is a tight ecosystem and in the past couple of years, there has been a lot of movement of professionals within the end-user and vendor community. This has given SAM professionals the opportunity to learn new processes, approaches and tools to increase their skills base.

In my most recent blog, The Ultimate Role of the Software Asset Manager, I wrote:

“…as the Software Asset Manager, you are a broker of information that is used to make important business decisions. These decisions can impact the financial bottom line of your company.”

This important role has increased in value to organizations and SAM professionals with a proven track record should find great opportunities in the market at this time.

From my perspective, the SAM industry is healthy, growing and skilled resources are in demand. If you are a SAM professional, remember that the value your skills bring are increasingly recognized and appreciated in our field.