What Is Software Asset Management | SAM Guide for 2021

Is your business using many different software solutions? Are you struggling to keep track of their usage, compliance, and cost efficiency?

If your answer is “Yes,” you definitely need the help of a software management (SAM) system to make sure that:

  • You’re not overspending on the software you’re not using.
  • You’re compliant with all the software licenses that you purchased.
  • You prepare with minimum cost and effort for software audits.
  • You’re using all your software assets at optimal levels.

Want to adopt SAM in your organization, but not sure where to start?

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about software asset management, including:

  • What is Software Asset Management
  • Why is Software Asset Management Important
  • How to Choose The Right SAM Tool

Let’s get started!

What is Software Asset Management

Software asset management (SAM) includes all processes and infrastructure you need to effectively manage, control, and protect the software assets of your company throughout their lifecycle.

SAM is a subset of IT asset management (ITAM) along with hardware asset management (HAM). The purpose of ITAM is also to minimize costs, risk, and improve the management of both software and hardware assets, while SAM specifically focuses on the software part of it.

All businesses nowadays have made software an essential part of their daily operations. On average, an enterprise company uses about 288 apps that help employees carry out different processes.

However, with time these isolated software solutions become more complex and dependent on each other, and tracking them becomes very clumsy and inefficient. Apart from that, you also have to track any updates, license changes, expiration, and compliance.

To do all of this efficiently, you need a software asset management system that helps you understand aspects such as costs, liabilities, and potential risks, so you can manage all of your software from one place and maximize the value you’re getting.

SAM can help you in 3 main areas:

#1. Licenses

These are some of the most essential software assets. Licenses have information about the Terms and Conditions, installation, and proper usage of the software product.

You, as a user, have to make sure that the company is compliant to the license agreement and you’re not violating any of the terms.

Software providers are very strict about compliance and don’t want you to use more of their software than the license permits. Thus license management is one of the main goals of SAM.

#2. Audits

Software vendors perform software license audits to check if you’re compliant with the license. Being non-compliant can be costly – 6 or 7 figure fines for big enterprises. At the same time, this can also lead to many legal issues.

Besides that, an audit, if done without the support of a software asset management system, is much more costly, takes more time, and can interrupt the normal flow of your everyday business operations.

#3. Optimization

Many businesses that don’t have a proper SAM in place end up overspending on the software they’re not using.

They end up paying for licenses that are not used and maintenance that they don’t need. This can be just as costly as being non-compliant, maybe even more!

When you’re non-compliant you face a big one-time cost but when you overspend, you end up paying recurring fees for something you don’t use.

The worst part is that businesses without a software asset management system are not aware of such unnecessary costs and the fees can build up. This way, the problem can drag for months or even years on end.

Want to get the most out of your SAM tool? Read our guide with 7+ essential SAM best practices!

Why is Software Asset Management Important

Did you know that Software as a Service (SaaS) waste is nearly doubling every year?

SaaS waste includes all the software licenses that your company gets charged for but doesn’t use. That also includes duplicate or orphaned app accounts that are paid for but not used That’s very common for companies that are rapidly growing and add lots of SaaS apps without any strategy behind such decisions.

On average, this can result in $135,000 wasted per company!

Want to avoid all those unnecessary expenses?

You can use a software asset management system to manage the software tools you use.

Some other benefits of using a SAM system are:

#1. Effective Tracking of Software Assets

Since software assets are intangible, they’re not as easy to track as hardware components. With software, it’s harder to detect when you’re non-compliant and track the overall usage and cost trends.

And since US companies waste an average of $259 per desktop for rarely used or unused software, this can be very costly.

You can use a SAM tool to manage your software assets and minimize your spending.

#2. Asset Lifecycle Management

Using SAM, you get a good understanding of which lifecycle stage any given software is on.

The stages are:

  1. Plan. That’s when you make strategic plans and decisions on what software your company needs and which exact software solution fits your company’s needs the best.
  2. Acquire. That’s the procurement stage, in which you buy the license for the software.
  3. Commission. At this stage, you introduce the new software into your business processes and give users access to it.
  4. Maintain. Here, you keep the software updated and work with the software support team if you have any issues. This way you maximize the value of the software solution.
  5. Retire. At some point, you might want to switch to a different software solution if the current one is not useful or your company has different needs.

With a SAM system in place, you can identify each stage much easier, make better choices when it comes to software, and understand when a software solution doesn’t work anymore for your company.

#3. Increased Accountability

With the software asset management system you can ensure your compliance practices when it comes time for audits.

This way, you’re more accountable in front of the software vendors and you have an official record of tracking your compliance.

#4. Automated Asset Discovery and Inventory Tracking

The software asset management system can automatically detect any new software and user accounts that are added to the company’s network. The SAM will then automatically add them to the system.

This way you can prevent any double accounts, detect inactive accounts, or software that’s not used.

Want to read about more benefits of SAM? Check out these 10 essential SAM benefits!

How to Choose The Right SAM Tool

There are many SAM tools out there – which one is the right for you?

Are there any factors you should take into consideration before picking a SAM tool?

In this section, we’ll answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision and choose the best software asset management for your company.

When you’re choosing a SAM tool, you should consider:

#1. The Size of Your Company

Before going for a SAM tool, think about the size of your company.

If you’re a small company and use only a few software solutions, you’re probably not in danger of non-compliance and can easily manage your software usage.

However, if you’re a mid-size company or an enterprise with lots of apps and software licenses, a SAM tool can save you lots of money and time. Plus, it will help you manage your software usage much more effectively.

#2. The Complexity of Your Infrastructure

A software asset management tool is particularly helpful if:

  • Your company went through a merger or acquisition.
  • Your company has multiple locations and is present on an international scale.
  • Part of your operations is outsourced.

These factors make the tracking of your software much harder and complicated and a SAM tool can make a big difference.

#3. What Will The SAM Tool’s Main Functionality Be?

SAM tools might concentrate on one of two things:

  • Inventory
  • License management

Inventory tracking is useful for tracking down old accounts that are not used but are still being paid for.

License management, on the other hand, is important for staying compliant and meeting all license requirements.

Or, you can get a SAM tool that is multifunctional and combines both features.

#4. Integrating the SAM Tool Into the Company’s System

Before you pick a SAM tool, consider your already existing systems like HR, IT asset inventory, and procurement, among others.

Ask the SAM tool vendors if their tool can be effectively incorporated with them. Also, ask for the different features offered so you can better understand how the tool will fit in and operate within your organization.

Want to learn more? Read our expert’s guide full of tips on how to pick the right SAM tool!

Blissfully – The All-In-One SAM Tool

Blissfully Total SaaS Management

Still not sure which SAM tool to pick?

Try Blissfully!

Blissfully is a SAM & SaaS Management tool that will help you save money, manage all software vendors, simplify operations, and improve the security of your software system.

With Blissfully, you get a top-down view of all the tools you use across your organization, as well as the tools you need to monitor and optimize their usage.

Some of the main features you’ll get access to include:

  • Automated discovery and inventory tracking. Blissfully automatically uncovers and tracks all the tools you use at your organization. You can see what apps you’re using and how much time is spent on each through a single dashboard.
  • Usage and spend tracking. You can easily discover inactive accounts, apps with the same functionality, and excessive licenses.
  • License management. Renew, extend, or cancel software licenses in one place.
  • Security and compliance. Automatically create a record of your SaaS applications and be prepared for your next audit with minimum effort and no time wasted.

Key Takeaways

To save lots of time, money, and headaches you can use SAM tools that can manage and track your company’s software usage.

To recap, here’s a couple of things you can use a SAM for:

  • Track software usage effectively.
  • Manage asset lifecycle.
  • Increase accountability and ensure compliance.
  • Automate asset discovery and inventory tracking.

And finally, make sure to follow our blog for top content on Software and IT asset management!