15 hidden costs in SAM tool implementation

19 January 2018
6 minute read
Best practice

15 hidden costs in SAM tool implementation

19 January 2018
6 minute read

This article is the first of a four part series by Martin Thompson of ITAM Review and Hugh Skingley of Livingstone. The series explores Building the Business Case for SAM Managed Services. 

15 hidden costs in SAM tool implementation

The cost of SAM tool implementation extends way beyond the license price of your new shiny tool. Factoring others costs can often double the outlay of SAM tool implementation.

Research by The ITAM Review in 2017 asked readers what they wish they had known before investing in SAM tool technology, the overwhelming feedback stated they wished they had known how much manual effort was involved to deliver results, even with so called “automated” SAM tools.

Here are some additional costs to consider when implementing SAM Tools, factor these into your budgets to avoid embarrassment at a later date and ensure success against your original plan:

15 hidden costs in SAM tool implementation

  1. Additional license module costs – Some SAM tool vendors charge extra for value added modules, especially for vendor specific features. For example, at the time of writing, Flexera and Snow charge extra on top of their base license cost for managing Oracle, whereas Aspera and Certero do not. What functionality do you need to meet your business objectives and will the software you have budgeted for meet these?
  2. Maintenance and module maintenance – SAM Tools, like most other software vendors, charge around 20% of the license cost for maintenance, you’ll also need to pay maintenance on the modules too. Unless you are buying a subscription or hosted version in which case it is usually a flat fee.
  3. Estate growth – Growth in your estate equals more SAM tool licenses – have you factored this into your budgeting process?
  4. Installation Costs – SAM Tools take between a few hours to a couple of weeks to install. Will that be done in house, bundled as part of the license price or bought separately? Note – this is just for installation of the software and perhaps deploying agents, not delivering business value. You have a few more steps to go before reaching that goal.
  5. Infrastructure costs – where will your SAM tool be installed? New hardware? A virtual machine, are there any internal hosting or provisioning costs to consider?
  6. Database Licensing – Most SAM tools are commonly underpinned by a relational database. Have you factored in the cost of the database license into your budget or will some other department pick up the tab?
  7. Integration Costs – Modern licensing is complex and requires many data points to build an accurate portrait of risk. Integration to enterprise systems might be required such as user directories, service desks, procurement systems and so on. Can you cover that cost with internal resource or buy it in externally?
  8. Data Population – Your entire license history since the beginning of time. How will that be populated within your shiny new tool? Can you do that internally or will this be resourced externally? SAM Tools are effectively a ledger showing the balance of consumption versus entitlement – they need to be populated to deliver results.
  9. Training – Even the most “easy-to-use” tools need training to deliver results. Also, budget for training to be revisited in the instance of new recruits, new features and version or simply to refresh.
  10. Software Recognition – Modern SAM tools have good recognition libraries to understand your environment and normalize technical data into licensing language – but it never works 100%. You’ll either need to do a bit of manual tweaking yourself, buy consulting to help or buy service to maintain it for you.
  11. License Optimization / Licensing Guidance and Configuration – Once the SAM tool is installed, working and populated, do you have the licensing expertise to reach and maintain a license position on your high risk and strategic vendors? Do you need a little external help to validate your position and ensure your assumptions are correct? Does the solution require additional configuration to cope with the nuances of your environment and deliver against business goals?
  12. Health Checks / Technical Maintenance – It’s a painful mistake to think SAM Tools are a “set-it-and-forget-it” exercise. They need ongoing maintenance to ensure everything is working correctly and information is being reported accurately. Will your partner or supplier throw these checks into the SAM tool purchase or do you need to buy them as an extra?
  13. Upgrades – the upgrade might be free as part of your maintenance or might be chargeable. Do you need to budget for additional consulting to help with upgrades?
  14. Customization and Consulting – Finally, does your SAM tool ecosystem require any customization or consulting to deliver business results? Will customizations need support and will they need to be upgraded at a future date?
  15. People Costs – Don’t forget people costs! (This is key) – Conduct an internal assessment on how much time, effort and cost is required to invest in existing staff to put in the required man hours to get the tool implemented and/or recruitment costs for new staff to do the job.

Consider these fifteen elements when budgeting for SAM Tool implementation to avoid any nasty surprises down the line.

Livingstone have built a SAM calculator for simulating these costs over a three year period. Download a copy here (Registration Required). 

Have we missed any elements or do have you any experience with hidden costs to share? Please leave a comment below. Stay tuned to The ITAM Review newsletter to be notified when part two is published.

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