The Pareto principle can usually be applied to mitigating the risks associated with software.
That is, 80% of the headaches, compliance issues and financial risk of software can be reduced by targeting 20% of your software vendor portfolio. I expect that this is not an approach endorsed by organisations such as the Federation of Software Theft, who probably argue that your single copy of WinZip on your receptionist’s PC is of equal importance to your SQL CPU license on your production server – since Intellectual property is intellectual property. However, a pragmatic approach, perhaps assessing your top 5, 8 or 10 vendors allows your software asset management project to be broken into manageable chunks and allows the software asset management project leader to demonstrate quick wins and value back to the business.Similarly, organisations can go a step further and assess one individual application in order to iron out process definitions and build a business case for SAM within the business.
For example, picking an application like Microsoft Visio or Project, which would typically sit outside of any enterprise wide agreement, could be tracked to see how many installs occurred across the network compared to those purchased and then this could be compared to how many users were actually using Project or Visio.
A tactical project to assess this single application would quickly allow an organisation to assess either compliance risk or over purchasing. This one example can then be used to sharpen up business processes and procurement routes and then replicated across other applications and vendors.