Software Asset Management – Are we doing it right?

When you read the term Software Asset Management, you might think about managing your software assets in an optimal and effective manner. But are you really managing it the way you should?

Different definitions of SAM give you different perspectives. Some talks about managing and optimising the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilisation, and disposal and some talks about administration of processes, policies and procedures that support the procurement, deployment, use, maintenance, and disposal of software applications within an organisation.

Where does it all start from? You would say – requirements.

You require something and you procure it but it’s not that simple. A lot of planning and licensing knowledge works in the background to ascertain the product purchased should be procured in what quantities and licensing metric so that it is optimal. That would happen only when you have a SAM team which is working with the procurement to get the required optimal licenses. For this you should have some set processes and procedures to ascertain that the requirement from the end user is legitimate and gets approved and then a purchase order is raised to procure that license keeping in loop the SAM team who would be managing those licenses.

Does your Procurement function work collaboratively with the SAM team? If no, then you need to think if you are doing it right.

Managing licenses with or without SAM tool is what is thought to be the work of SAM team. This includes creating software entitlements, measuring the usage and presenting the gap (over or under usage). Optimisation of licenses according to the usage is one thing most teams miss to achieve as they become more focused towards mitigation of the risk and software harvesting gets blurred in between. And as soon as the risk is identified, remediation activities are started so that the licenses become compliant.

But do you think that’s how it should be done? Reactively?

  • Why can’t it all be done proactively?
  • Why can’t all the teams collaborate, and the organisations spread awareness about the effectiveness of SAM?
  • Why can’t processes and procedures be set for each step of a software lifecycle?
  • Does this require so much of effort to be proactively managing software assets?

Not really if you are well versed with the ISO 19770-1 standard.

Being ISO 19770-1 certified is the first step towards understanding and implementing the processes and procedures to manage your software assets effectively and optimally.

So, what is ISO 19770-1 and how does it help?

“ISO/IEC 19770-1 provides organisations with a framework for implementing effective software asset management practices, helping them optimize the use of software assets, reduce compliance risks, and achieve better governance and control over their IT investments.

It specifies the requirements for the establishment, implementation, maintenance and improvement of a management system for ITAM, referred to as an “IT asset management system” (ITAMS).

As a Management Systems Standard, ISO/IEC 19770-1 is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. The Standard also specifies 15 ITAM process areas that are expected within organisations and suggests three tiers for their recommended implementation order: Trustworthy Data, life cycle Integration, and Optimisation. The standard is designed to enable an organisation to align and integrate its ITAM system with related management system requirements, for e.g. those specified by ISO/IEC  27001 and ISO/IEC 20000-1.

ISO/IEC 19770-1 aligns closely with ITAM best practices and frameworks, such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) Best Practice Library (IBPL). Organisations can integrate ISO/IEC 19770-1 requirements into their existing ITAM processes and practices to improve the overall management of software assets.

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