Software Asset Management (SAM) is one of the most coveted topics in engineering and software licenses today. Today, every organization is more concerned about how, when, and why to purchase licenses. Once they purchase licenses, the next thing they do is find out ways to utilize those licenses in every possible way. This is where software asset management comes into action.
What is a Software Asset Management Tool?
Every organization uses three types of software assets – Cloud, On-premise, and Mobile. Cloud and on-premise are the two most commonly used here. Organizations usually form a software repository to track, manage, monitor, and control this repository.
By doing this, organizations can easily decide when and how to procure their software assets. In other words, this enables an organization to have better visibility on the usage and deployment of all their cloud and on-premise software licenses.
This entire process of monitoring, tracking, controlling, and managing software assets is known as ‘Software Asset Management’.
These tools help the organization to optimize the software purchase process. Deploy that software across the organization and its employees. Software asset management tools also enable organizations to keep track of the maintenance and disposal of the software purchased by the organizations.
Digital asset management software tools are a part of IT Asset Management (ITAM). ITAM typically deals with both hardware and software.
The main objective of software asset management are as follows:
- Total control and visibility over software assets.
- Ensuring 100% compliance with all software licenses and agreements.
- Zeroing down audit risks across the organization.
- Create a transparent process of using all software licenses.
- Avoid purchasing licenses that are not required.
- Keep away from duplication of licenses in any form.
- Utilizing licenses as they are while optimizing license costs.
- Build a streamlined IT asset management process.
Why Software Asset Management?
According to Gartner’s report, an organization’s total software repository has almost 25% shelfware licenses at any given time. At such enterprise-level, 25% wastage of software licenses incurs a huge financial loss to the organization. The question here is, how can organizations save this wastage of money by limiting the shelfware licenses or bring this to level zero?
The IT infrastructure is another major challenge in organizations. Though this may sound hypothetical, it is a proven fact that the distribution of IT assets is a greater challenge. Add to this, there is again a challenge in amassing data by creating a silo architecture. If organizations have to accomplish these tasks manually, this could be a near to impossible task.
With a digital asset management software tool in place, organizations can easily track and monitor their IT asset consumption at their fingertips. Starting from procurement of software to deploying them, license compliance to how they are consumed, software asset management tools can easily track each and every license.
Even if there are any shelfware licenses, IT asset management software can provide better visibility of them. Thus, reducing the license wastage at every step.
Also, be it in the cloud, on-premise, or mobile, software asset management tools work efficiently across all types of software assets. Hence, they can streamline and automate the data curation process and create a silo model to gather data by manipulating a single-architecture model.
Key reasons to have software asset management tools:
- To automate the entire process of license procurement and consumption.
- To detect shelfware licenses (or unused licenses) if any and terminate them.
- To create a single-architecture model to monitor, analyze and track IT assets.
- To calculate the life-cycle of each license and utilize them by stretching their limits.
- To ensure hassle-free software operation across cloud, on-premise, and mobile.
Must-to-Have Software Asset Management Features
A software asset management tool must comply with an organization’s business goals and objectives. It should also fit in the organization’s IT budget while fulfilling all its purposes. However, before opting for a digital asset management software tool, an organization must look for the below-mentioned features.
Software License Management
Software license management (SLM) tools are the ones that mainly focus on the usage or utilization of all the purchased software licenses. Simply put, these are the tools that help the organization manage all the software permissions and restrictions.
Software license management tools tell the organization who can use the software. How the software has to be used or the time to use the software. In addition, SLM tools also keep track of the geographic location of software usage.
Quick & Real-Time Information
Every software asset management tool has to be quick and provide real-time information. What are the software assets procured? How many of them are in use? Where are they located – on cloud or in-premise? How are they distributed among the users and machines? When will the software assets expire?
For an SLM tool to be efficient, it has to be quick enough to answer all these questions. It should also provide all the real-time information so that the organization can precisely track and monitor all its IT asset consumption.
IT Asset Inventory
An organization might require a range of software assets depending on its timely needs. An IT asset management software must have a software stack inventory in place to fetch all the information related to all the software.
If one has to find out the software that are currently in use, the digital asset management software tool must provide all the information. In addition, the inventory should also fetch other details like cost of software, size of software, license types, and much more.
Installing software or updating them could be challenging tasks. However, if the software asset management tool offers cloud-based services, all these can be easily taken care of. Everything just happens on the cloud without any hassles.
Having cloud technology integrated has additional benefits. This technology keeps the in-house servers mostly free as the software is hosted on the cloud. This ensures the smooth and streamlined operation of all the systems within an organization.
Automation of Procurement & Management
Automation of data and information is another must-to-have feature in IT asset management software. Automating information enables an organization to track all its software in action. Thus, the organization keeps receiving real-time data on the expiration of software, renewal of licenses, and a lot more.
This way, an organization can also stay compliant to all software licenses and agreements. Also, the capability to detect shelfware licenses is another added feature of a digital asset management software tool.
Being mobile-friendly is another important aspect of a software asset management tool. There are times when accomplishing some of the tasks might not be possible from the workstation. In such cases, users should be able to inspect all the software assets right from their mobile.
The interface has to be mobile-friendly and should offer all minute details about all the IT assets. In short, the interface should be very responsive and work seamlessly with any kind of mobile device – mobile, laptops, tablets, etc.
Benefits of Software Asset Management Tool
An IT asset management software deals with both software and hardware. It builds a stabilized software ecosystem within the business or organization. Thus, it offers infinite benefits to businesses and organizations. Some of these primary benefits are mentioned below:
Organizations Become Cost-Efficient
Software asset management tool helps organizations in optimizing their software procurement, operation, and consumption, it can easily make organizations cost-efficient. It can figure out the exact software to procure at the right time. Thus, it can reduce or nullify the chances of buying software that might go unused.
However, in order to enable a digital asset management software tool to carry out this, organizations must run an asset audit within the organization. This audit will precisely collect information on software procured, the life cycle of software and their existing numbers, their renewal date, and time.
Lesser Non-Compliance Risks
Having a software asset management tool in place lowers the risk of violation of any terms and conditions as laid by the software publishers. As already mentioned, IT asset management software is the most effective ways to track and monitor any software purchase done and how they are consumed.
With this tracking and monitoring, organizations can adhere to all the compliance guidelines and instructions issued by the software publishers. Abiding by these instructions will ensure a better compliant ratio and lesser risk of violation of agreements.
Better Software License Management
At times, individual departments or teams take the final call to purchase licenses. They mostly do not involve the central IT team or do not wait for their approval to make software purchases. This mostly happens in bigger IT companies. This is referred to as shadow IT.
Though shadow IT might not sound obscured, it could end up in repeated purchase of the IT asset management software. Also, it could bring in multiple security threats to the organization. Having a proper digital asset management software tool lowers this risk and enables better software license management.
Enables Informed Decisions
If organizations stay aware of their present or future software stack, they can take easy calls on software procurement. This also offers an additional benefit as organizations stay well-informed on the expiration and renewal of software licenses. Furthermore, this eventually helps organizations in identifying software that needs to be avoided in the present or in the future as well.
Having a software asset management tool in place would make an organization entitled to all these benefits. Thus, organizations can make informed purchase decisions on what software to purchase, when to purchase, how many to purchase, and a lot more.
Increases Overall Efficiency
In addition to streamlining processes for the central IT team, software asset management tools also help other teams to grow efficiently. For instance, onboarding new employees could be a tedious task for HR managers. Add to this, there are always employees leaving an organization. In such cases, HR managers might come across huge challenges depending on the size of the organization.
IT asset management software can also be used to monitor as well as manage such operations without any hassles. Employees can also utilize digital asset management software tools effectively to make their daily lives easy and efficient within the organization.