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In these more than 10 years working with IT Asset Management, customers have asked us over and over again how to increase their maturity level in software asset management (SAM), from the IT industry, from inventory management or more commonly known as IT inventory.

For this, we created a maturity scale based on IT industry models such as Gartner, IAITAM and ITIL where we present four maturity levels to improve IT management.

At the Level 1 (see the figure below), you start collecting software inventory across your current IT infrastructure. 

At this same time, it is necessary to collect relevant hardware inventory information or sufficient hardware components to determine license consumption for licenses based on characteristics such as processor, cores, RAM and disk.

 

Software Inventory

Often in the Level 1, you are using a data source from a tool that was implemented to meet an IT need, other than SAM activities.

It is very common that these tools have been acquired for purposes such as: package deployment, software installation, service desk, or remote access. As an example of these inventory software we can mention Microsoft SCCM, Altiris and BMC.

Despite the huge amount of data coming from these IT asset inventory tool information sources, these are enough to only address the business needs for which they were originally intended. 

For example, a configuration management database (CMDB) will contain hardware configuration information and may contain high-level information about software such as the Operating System and main server application.  

But a CMDB will generally not have complete software inventory information and rarely contain information about contracts, only getting down to the operating system level. 

This gap means that the CMDB database alone cannot provide enough detail to achieve true SAM Level 1 maturity; at best, the CMDB data can provide an overview of installed applications.

 

Starting a SAM process in the enterprise

When this becomes an issue is when a SAM initiative can be accelerated and created from a software governance or contract management perspective. 

In some organizations, the process of budgeting, purchasing and managing suppliers is relatively more mature compared to the software governance process, particularly with regard to servers and data centers.

A purchasing team for megavendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP or IBM products and also for IT vendor management, usually has a greater understanding of the complexities that exist in software license models, maintenance and support renewals, as well as rules End User License Agreements (EULAs). 

This purchasing team, however, often does not have visibility or direct control over the process of collecting software inventory and making it available.

They historically rely on manual reporting of exported Excel spreadsheets from the apps to get an estimated inventory position and then perform a manual reconciliation of your license entitlements to define what will be purchased or renewed.

How to have accurate and complete control of software inventory:

In this model, it is unfortunately easier to lose control by not having an accurate and up-to-date software inventory. IT governance can look at existing CMDBs, install software or hardware asset solutions and will conclude that the focus should be on automating the inventory reconciliation process, taking into account the rights of each software and its contracts (Level 3), or even move to the Level 4, where license consumption is optimized. 

But in fact, the lack of an accurate software inventory means that the organization's SAM maturity is built on an unstable foundation.

A reliable way to collect application evidence (installation evidence and where necessary, log data such as keys and usage) and to correctly recognize installed software is critical to improving application processes. SAM in the company. 

Manual reporting by application owners is typically not scalable and, more importantly, typically cannot be used as the basis for any kind of automated software license optimization process. 

Additionally, many software vendors in an audit situation, such as a Microsoft Audit, will have an expectation of automated software inventory collection and not just using active directory data. 

Maturity in asset management

your maturity in Software Asset Management – SAM, is a mirror of the quality of software inventory data, and if you are relying on inaccurate and/or incomplete inventory sources, you will generate inaccurate or incomplete software license compliance results and, most importantly, you will not be able to optimize from contracts more aggressively.  

Using a software inventory solution that leverages the concept and follows software asset management (SAM) requirements for license optimization can be the first path to a more optimized and compliant state of software contracts for your organization.

Another benefit that inventory management can bring to the company is data security, due to the fact that the IT manager and the end areas have constant monitoring for decision-making.

 

If you liked this type of text and want to know more about Software Asset Management and how you can adopt different methodologies to bring benefits to your company, read more articles here in our blog! 

We have several topics and options that can help you with tips and new ideas, and if you have any questions, please contact one of our consultants or open a support call so they can answer all your questions.

 

we are the 4Matt Technology, experts in Software Governance. Contact us

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