Software Asset Management and Audits


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Earlier this year, Gartner published a report called ‘Software Asset Management Is Now a C-Level Imperative’ in which it explains how software management has become a major issue not just for CIO’s but also CFO’s and other top executives, including the CEO. The criticality of software in business processes is pushing those responsible for information technology management to provide better transparency into software usage, improve license compliance and integrate SAM into IT governance.

The report forewarns IT managers of the danger of having software asset management forced on them by the CEO who demands transparency of the IT function. CIOs, they say, should be aware that if they don’t do it themselves, the task may be given over to those outside of IT; the business demands increasing transparency and mature governance from IT and in particular requires detailed information to help business leaders understand the value of their IT investment and its risks. It also makes it clear that subscriptions are not replacing complex licensing scenarios but rather adding to them and points to the need for third party solutions to help achieve this.  The definition of an IT asset, claims the report, is not uniform across any one organization and the task of defining which software needs to be managed and how, falls largely into the lap of the IT manager.

Who is Responsible for Asset Management?

In the survey done by Gartner, prior to producing the report, 12% of CEO’s and 9% of CIO’s are directly responsible for software asset management. 41% are IT staff and the rest are spread across various roles in the organization including CTO, COO, CFO and VPs.


The procurement department has traditionally been at the a front runner in raising awareness of SAM solutions; they have been ones who have had to deal with vendor license compliance claims and audits. Internal data security has an interest too due to the dangers that non-authorized and unpatched software can introduce to the enterprise and senior executive management  for its part has its interest in improving transparency and controlling IT expenditure.

According the the answers provided by the participants of Gartner’s survey, today’s drivers are the improvement of IT processes, better service delivery, better aligning of software strategy and needs with the business – in other words current consumption and future demands,  improving software compliance and the ability to respond to software audits.

Software Audits

CIOs and other executives are all applying pressure to minimize the impact of software audits, both from a financial point of view and an operational one. A great many enterprises get audited annually by software vendors and the implications can include demands for unbudgeted expenses in additional license purchases, payment of back maintenance and even the cost of the audit,not to mention requirements for new contracts without negotiating leverage. Even where audits result in no financial penalties, the resource requirements and disruption to business operations during the audit can be significant.

The full report can be purchased at the following link:

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