If you are a member of staff that has no relation to IT, you may not be aware of the importance of software asset management, or even what it is. It’s important to communicate the importance of SAM to end users in a way that they can appreciate and understand.
This may seem like an obvious answer to us, but I was recently asked this question by a member of non-IT staff. They asked me out of genuine interest as they were unaware of what Software Asset Management was, or what it related to. Explaining exactly what SAM is, and its importance without sounding too technical or losing the attention of the audience can be a challenge in itself. Software Asset Management and software licensing is complex art. They are even sometimes separated due to their complexities, with some organisations having both a Software Asset Manager and a Software License Manager.
Software Asset Management is a critical part of business successes, with cost savings, compliancy and the successful management of software being its key areas. End-users, in particular business administrators or departmental budget holders are usually sold on the cost saving aspect of SAM. In all honesty, if you have a successful process in place and a dedicated team or a SAM professional within the organisation effectively managing the software assets, then the cost savings is the SAM process that gets the most attention. Business is all about money, so if you can promote the financial implications of implementing a successful SAM structure to the end users then that is usually the starting point for promoting a SAM environment.
Once you have end users on board with the importance of SAM and how it can save money, then you can move onto the next phase of SAM education!
Let’s face it; end-users don’t really care how they get software, so long as they get it so they can complete their work. Despite this, they are a key audience to the success of your SAM implementation and overall estate status. As I mentioned previously, explaining what Software Asset Management is without boring a user is a challenge. I personally love it, but my colleague in marketing may not feel the same way! Either way, it is important to at least provide a basic education to end-users.
The best way of educating end-users is to provide them with real-world examples of what Software Asset Management is and how it benefits the organisation. I’m sure you’ve seen the adverts before a film (You wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a phone etc.) that tries to deter people from downloading films illegally. In my experience, using this example but adding ‘software license’ at the end seems to hit a core with the user as they then understand that software requires a license. Once you have broken the SAM ice and you have engaged the user, then you can move on to more pressing SAM matters such as the correct processes to use and why and really promoting the benefits of Software Asset Management.
When trying to implement a SAM structure within an organisation, I think it’s important to highlight the fact that you are no trying to increase their workload when communicating with end users. As a SAM professional you are not out to increase the workload on the end users, you are merely implementing new processes and procedures to ensure that software information is captured correctly, licenses are procured in correct manner and the lifecycle of software assets are managed effectively and efficiently. All end-users need to do is follow the correct processes, set in place by the SAM team/manager. If anything, these processes will have streamlined and improved the existing processes.
Despite these changes, it will not usually mean extra work for end users. They may have to adapt and learn a new process for requesting software, or purchasing software, but after a few weeks of using the new process it will become second nature and ultimately BAU.
If you are making users aware of Software Asset Management, then the likelihood is that it hasn’t been implemented to before, or they have not been made aware of the organisation having a SAM environment. You may come across some resistance from users who are allergic to any form of change. The key point here is to emphasise the fact that the organisation was wrong not to promote SAM, or have processes in place so you are implementing something that should have already been in operation.
Instead of bombarding users with new processes and information for them to digest, drip feed users with information. This will educate the users on SAM and software licensing in easily readable chunks rather than overloading them with the complete history and explanation of what SAM is. As mentioned previously, it is important to highlight the fact that SAM isn’t a new thing, it isn’t a ‘fad’ and it isn’t going away. It’s there for the benefit of the organisation and the users and that’s a key point to get across. If SAM is a new concept to your organisation, or users are not aware of the benefits and what SAM entails then it may be worth running a series of workshops or training seminars to promote SAM and also answer any questions users may have.