Running Your SAM Department Like a Business

07 February 2012
3 minute read
Best practice

Running Your SAM Department Like a Business

07 February 2012
3 minute read

This is a follow up article to ‘Our Software Licensing is a Mess – Where Do We Start?” It is aimed at SAM beginners.

SAM can touch all areas of the enterprise. I’ve often heard organizations describe their new Asset Management implementation as ‘Opening Pandora’s Box’. The data becomes very valuable but also unearths all sorts of issues. When starting it out it is not always obvious where to start, especially if you have a small team and a finite budget.

My recommendation is to run your SAM department like a business – manage your resources and priorities to deliver services back to the business. You achieve this by breaking your responsibilities into component services. Delphine Chelouche from Givaudan covered this during her session at the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit in September.

By a service I mean: What will our SAM function deliver back to the business?

Defining a set of specific and narrow service deliverables has the following benefits:

  • Your efforts are focused towards delivery of the service rather than being overwhelmed by the enormity of it all
  • Your service can be measured against specific metrics and deliverables
  • You can decide what parts of the service you can do internally, which externally
  • It helps shape your priorities
  • Policies and organizational change can be handled one step at a time
  • It allows you to plan for the future and forecast resource requirements
  • It allows you to turn away requests that deviate from your core services

In the previous article I advised not to boil the ocean and to focus on your top strategic vendors. So for example a service deliverable might be: Manage the compliance position for our top 10 vendors. It has a deliverable (perhaps quarterly reports), it has metrics ($£$ deviation from compliance) and you can forecast resources (trustworthy inventory data, licensing expertise, time for reconciliation and follow up etc.)

If you are starting out I have suggested six core SAM services that you may wish to consider. You won’t be able to execute all of these at once (just like you wouldn’t want to deliver all ITIL processes at once), but you can plot a roadmap that shows how your SAM practice will mature over time (Robin Trebec from Chevron gave a good overview of her maturity roadmap at the IAITAM conference last year).

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The goal is that each new service deliverable will build upon the last and bring new value to the organization and that each deliverable can be managed and monitored. As your SAM practice matures and bring more value to the organization you can request more resources and build more services; therefore ‘Bootstrapping’ your way to long term success.

I enclose further details regarding each service below:

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Has this worked in practice for you? Would you recommend any other services or a different approach?

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