Software Asset Management (SAM) is a complex process that enables organizations to gain control of their software estate from both a license compliance and financial standpoint.
But, where do these cost savings come from? Reharvesting unused licenses and recycling licenses from retired hardware are techniques that yield significant savings. Another approach that is often overlooked is the application of product use rights (PUR) to reduce initial license purchase, true-up and renewal costs.
Part 5 – SAM Automation
The SAM process involves the collection and tracking of a multitude of pieces of data—from hardware and software inventory, to purchase orders, license agreements, and maintenance contracts.
In addition, there are huge libraries of information that must be created and maintained to make sense of the collected data. For example, an “application recognition library” (ARL) is required to translate raw inventory data (file evidence, installer evidence, registry data, etc.) into a list of recognized software applications per computer.
A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) library helps normalize purchase order data so that licenses bought can accurately be matched to licenses in use (i.e. installed software). The SKUs on purchase orders identify not only the application title, version and edition, but also the type of license agreement under which it was purchased. A “product use rights library” (PURL) is needed to understand all the license types, terms and conditions, and correctly apply product use rights to calculate an accurate license position.
Even with this cursory look at the complexity involved it becomes obvious that a SAM tool is required to effectively manage the SAM process. Microsoft provides quarterly updates to their product use rights document for volume licensing; the latest edition is 117 pages long. It’s simply not feasible to attack this problem without an automated solution.
Very few SAM tools on the market today provide the extensive set of built-in libraries and license optimization functionality necessary to automate such a complex set of tasks and reap the maximum IT cost savings. Look for tools that provide a comprehensive and continuously updated ARL, a stock keeping unit (SKU) library that ties purchase data to software installations, and a product use rights library (PURL) that automates the process of applying use rights to determine an accurate vendor license position.