SAM Complexity in the CLOUD era
In this new world of the cloud, capturing, assessing and managing software assets is becoming more and more difficult. Counting installations and devices has been the foundation of SAM for decades, but this is changing rapidly with the continued adoption of SaaS based solutions.
There is not an application you can think of that is not now being offered in some form of a SaaS model. This shift changes what the tracking and measurement systems will need to be. Many analysts contend the technologies and companies providing both SAM and ITAM services will be obsolete in the not too distant future.
Cloud Era Complexity
Software Asset Management in the cloud era introduces new complexities for the IT Asset Manager not anticipated even 2 to 3 years ago. It now requires the licensing specialist, vendor manager, contracts manager, ITAM professional, among others to consider not only SaaS applications, but the platforms they will be delivered on.
SaaS and the Cloud bring an entirely new set of metrics that can include:
- Feature based
- Transaction-based for ERP applications
- Company divisions in accounting packages
- Number of leads in CRM and marketing automation systems
- Logins in support portals
- Number of database records
ITAM and SAM for traditional hardware assets (e.g. servers, desktops, laptops) as well as mobile computing devices and multiple operating systems and applications will continue for some while. To address this, solutions are required that are both specialized enough to keep pace with the rapid changes of devices and licensing models, but also broad enough to satisfy all aspects of today’s needs.
These more modern solutions have been developed in a unified manner to provide actionable intelligence to enable proactive control of software expenditures. This means they are equipped with their own discovery and inventory mechanisms, their own catalog and normalization services as well as reconciliation services and integrated analytics.
What is truly causing friction however is that organizations are now being forced to maintain two parallel paths of service delivery. In one case they are ‘doers’; touching and physically packaging applications, deploying and provisioning hardware and maintaining legacy applications thru updates and bug fixes. On the other hand, they are being asked to become ‘enablers.’ They must manage multiple consoles and ensure that the organization is providing the appropriate service a particular line of business is expecting. Equally important, they are being asked to track and report on agreements they may never have initiated and then be held accountable for the resulting costs.
Modern, Integrated SAM Tools Can Help
To address this parallel universe IT finds itself in, organizations will need a truly modern, integrated SAM tool that can not only identify the cloud assets in use, but represent them in ways that illustrate their value. For example, todays advanced tools can discover and illustrate the comparative use and cost between on premise ERP systems such as Oracle eBusiness and their SaaS cousins. With this kind of practical, side by side analysis of assets with the same business purposes, separated only in the way they are implemented, I&O teams will be able to move through this transition. They will have the data necessary to address risk and compliance concerns as well as their SLA’s and quality KPIs.
In our conversations with prospects, it is clear they face challenges in understanding how to leverage existing tools and make effective comparisons of all the possible tool choices they can encounter to address the challenges the cloud brings.