ARTICLE: Why SAM Projects Fail - Imbalance Between 'Customized' and 'Off-the-shelf' SAM Software (Part 4/8)

17 March 2009
3 minute read
Best practice

ARTICLE: Why SAM Projects Fail - Imbalance Between 'Customized' and 'Off-the-shelf' SAM Software (Part 4/8)

17 March 2009
3 minute read

This article has been kindly contributed by Phara McLachlan of Animus Solutions.

The ITIL Guide to SAM highlights several possible problems that may arise when implementing Software Asset Management projects. In this series we look at some of those issues and how organisations can address them using Phara’s hands-on experience.

Part One – Conflict with Decentralisation Culture
Part Two – Lack of Senior Management Support
Part Three – Lack of Clear Responsibilities
Part Four – Customized vs. Off-the-shelf SAM Software
Part Five – Poor Communication
Part Six – Lack of End User Support
Part Seven – Underestimating Software Recognition
Part Eight – Legal Requirements

Why do Software Asset Management projects fail?

In this part we take a look at the imbalance that may occur between ‘Customized’ and ‘Off-the-shelf’ software asset management applications.

An organisation should look at its own unique requirements before selecting a SAM tool, however if it turns out that those requirements cannot be met using SAM tools on the market without customization – then perhaps the original requirements should be reviewed. This might mean using a combination of tools.

It’s not unusual for companies to buy off the shelf software and make slight tweaks or even major customizations to it, which I have never understood. There are so many choices to select from that most companies should be able to select off the shelf software that has all the functionality they need.

My best advice for off the shelf software is to make certain you have a solution that’s robust to fit all your needs. Simple, but absolutely true. It takes a lot of initial research and asking of questions prior to procurement, but it will save time, money and other resources in the long-term.

On the other hand, when you develop proprietary technology from the ground up, it means that support, maintenance and upgrades falls solely on your shoulders. There won’t even be a user group to turn to when issues arise. Another major issue is the fact that the knowledge base can be lost at any given time as employees leave or are reassigned. When a person leaves the group, his or her knowledge can be passed along, but it’s likely that there will be knowledge gaps if their detailed documentation does not exist. The one, vital piece of advice I would give companies developing customized software is to ensure inter-departmental cooperation and to strictly enforce policies and processes across the enterprise.

Between off the shelf and customized software, I would counsel most companies to find an off the shelf SAM software.

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What are your experiences with off-the-shelf versus customized SAM solutions? please contact us to share your experiences.

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