Software Asset Management Best Practices: How to Select the Right SAM Solution

By Jim Hussey


July 20, 2020

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As NPI provides SAM-related services to our clients (license position assessments, software audit defense, etc.) and compliance issues are revealed, we’re often asked which SAM solution and tools should be considered to help enterprises up their SAM game. There are many credible solutions available in the SAM community, and the best choice will depend on the organization’s unique business, technical and SAM requirements.

There are a few foundational areas to consider at the beginning of the selection process that will enable SAM leaders to quickly narrow the options to consider when selecting a SAM solution – whether a platform, managed service or other tool.

Software Estate Size & Environment Characteristics: Size, complexity, frequency of change and the primary software vendors in the environment comprise one set of core factors. Carefully consider each of these dimensions when determining platform or managed service compatibility.

Ability to Provide Discovery Data Required for Audit Defense: An understanding of the data elements required to successfully meet the needs of 3rd party auditors is critical to SAM solution selection and implementation - inspect capabilities in this area.  And even if the tool or service supports the data you need, remember that If not configured properly SAM modules such as those from ITSM providers lack the ability to report critical data required for internal and external license audits, meaning compliance accuracy can be compromised. Identify those system generated reports that can fill any gaps or compliment the output from the tool.

Upstream & Downstream Process Alignment: Carefully review the inputs and outputs expected of the SAM function. Will the SAM platform/tool be integrated with the software request and release processes? Will SAM data be a feed to the CMDB? Make sure the tools or services you are considering are compatible with your processes and technical infrastructure.

Reporting Expectations: All of the leading SAM solutions have powerful reporting and analytic capabilities. What is the analysis that is most important to your organization?

SAM Organization Design: Consider the level of investment required to execute the SAM operational agenda. Given the way the tool or service works, do you have funds for the personnel required to monitor and maintain the SAM data, participate in process interactions, and support SAM operational activities? Effective management of entitlements and ongoing reconciliation activities requires manpower in addition to a platform or other solution.