By Peter Beruk, Business Software Alliance, and Joseph Boell, M2 Technologies, Inc.
Software Asset Management (SAM) is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization.
SAM can serve many different functions within organizations, depending on their software portfolios, IT infrastructures, resource availability, and business goals. For many organizations, the goal of implementing a SAM program is tactical in nature, focused specifically on balancing the number of software licenses purchased with the number of actual copies installed. In doing so, organizations can minimize liabilities associated with software piracy, but also increase business benefits such as reducing security risks and increasing overall value of IT assets.
To help organizations of all sizes implement SAM, the International Organization for Standards (ISO) published a SAM standard. Commonly known as ISO/IEC 19770-1, the standard is a framework of SAM processes to enable an organization to prove it is performing software asset management to a standard sufficient to satisfy corporate governance requirements and ensure effective support for IT service management overall.
To enable people to fully implement ISO-aligned SAM, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) created the industry’s first SAM course aligned to the SAM standard. Known as SAM Advantage, it is an online course that is presented using a simple, tiered approach.
Joseph Boell, a solutions engineer at M2 Technologies, took and completed the SAM Advantage certification course in January 2011. M2 Technologies, a manufacturing technology firm specializing in design solutions from Autodesk, saw the SAM certification as an essential tool to offer its clients for managing their Autodesk software assets. Aside from balancing software licenses, M2 Technology clients can reduce software and support costs, improve worker productivity, limit overhead, and establish ongoing policies and procedures that mitigate corporate risk.
Based on what he learned in SAM Advantage, Boell first takes learners through Tier 1 to get reliable information on the installed Autodesk software. He then advises them on how to draft an authorized view of all their Autodesk software and schedules a trustworthy data workshop that includes creating inventories. These inventories consist of Autodesk product information such as the software product, current version, service packs installed, serial number, etc.
By walking SAM managers through the 4-3-2-1 (4 - inventories, 3 – verifications, 2 - calculations, 1 - master register) from the course overview processes, learners are able to show a repeatable reconciliation. They can compare Autodesk licenses required verses Autodesk licenses owned with each side traceable back to Tier 1, which is aptly called Trustworthy Data.
This same process can be followed for other products at the customers’ sites, as well.
Clients will quickly realize that their use of IT assets is more likely to be accurate and available with sources being less fragmented and duplicated, equaling an easier process.
After completing Tier 1, Boell moves on to helping learners implement Tier 2, Practical Management for further quick wins; then Tier 3, Operational Integration, which will make SAM relevant to wider business activities associated with software-related assets. And finally, Boell moves learners to Tier 4, Full ISO/IEC SAM Conformance, which will help customers show where Full ISO Conformance is helping to build value from software and related assets.
SAM Advantage trains the trainer, as well as the organization wishing to deploy SAM. This combination allows the trainer to bring the knowledge learned from the course to the organization, which ultimately receives the benefits that come from an ISO-aligned SAM program.
For more information on SAM Advantage, visit www.BSA.org/SamAdvantage.