Digital transformation is driving the adoption of cloud technology, bringing about huge benefits to organizations, including greater flexibility, reduced IT burdens, and opportunities to innovate and deliver new solutions and services to customers. According to Gartner research, “cloud continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments of IT spend.”For IT managers, CIOs, and C-suite executives managing the shift from on-premise and legacy assets to the cloud, software asset management (SAM) is paving the way to a seamless transition. Currently, SAM is already implemented by many organizations to reduce costs, manage security, and increase operational efficiency when managing on-premise software.
Now, businesses can achieve the same outcomes in the cloud and gain the full advantages of innovative technology, like software as a service (SaaS), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and more, by applying software asset management best practices to the modern environment.
There are several specific trends SAM is helping organizations address.
Embracing the Future: Trends in Software Asset Management
1. Supporting a Geographically Distributed Workforce
The shift to remote work has been taking place for years, but the global outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 accelerated the process. Moving forward, companies are likely to continue supporting remote workers, and SAM will help them prepare. Effectively managing a distributed workforce is much simpler with policies and procedures in place to ensure software is licensed, legally sourced, and fully updated to prevent cyber attacks. Further, it allows IT departments to track the locations, configurations, and users of software and hardware assets wherever users may be located. Remote work on a large scale is a new reality, but it’s much less daunting to manage with strong governance structures and a devoted SAM team in place.
2. Monitoring SaaS Tools
We’ve seen a steady trend of more organizations adopting SaaS tools in the past several years. Shifting to a SaaS model in many cases makes good business sense. Software-as-a-Service replaces software installed on personal computers so staff can access services through their browser or apps on a mobile device. SaaS tools are an excellent resource. Not only are they convenient for employees and easy to use, they significantly reduce IT overhead and upkeep costs.
SAM is supporting security leaders as organizations make good use of the countless SaaS tools available. First, it provides a way to keep track of the SaaS tools in use across the organization and to set policies that protect sensitive company data. Second, SAM helps organizations manage the unique licensing and consumption considerations of SaaS tools, which are different from the norm with on-premise. For one, SAM ensures organizations are compliant with the licensing terms laid out by the SaaS provider. It also helps prevent overconsumption, like paying for unused employee subscriptions or providing an employee a higher level of subscription than they really need. Implementing good software asset management is key to leveraging the full benefits of SaaS technology while also managing licensing and compliance.
3. Enabling BYOD and the IoT
With the introduction of laptops, smartphones, and tablets into our personal lives, individuals are no longer anchored to working only on a desktop workstation at the office. Through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT), organizations are often able to reduce infrastructure costs and employees gain the convenience of working from their own chosen device, boosting productivity.
Decentralized technologies like these are a significant benefit to the workforce and can be well managed through SAM best practices. This includes creating a written policy for compliance, privacy, security, and approved apps. Communication about and training employees on BYOD best practices enables organizations to move forward in embracing new technologies and tools.
Building an Effective SAM Program
The software landscape will only continue to evolve, and organizations with effective SAM programs will be able to optimize every area of their business and best adapt to and enjoy the benefits of a transition to the cloud, a distributed workforce, and more.
The international standard for SAM is ISO 19770-1, and there are several key elements of a sustainable program aligned to the standard.
- Remember that software management is a continual process. Implementing a continuous cycle of improvement allows room to think ahead and prepare as technology, your own business, and the world around us changes.
- Identify objectives: SAM should move beyond its traditional role of managing on-premise assets and adapt to fully embed itself in the cloud environment as a whole.
- Build a plan: SAM functions should review current software licensing agreements and initiate organization-wide policies governing cloud software and services. Clear, written software policies should be in place to address the risk of unauthorized implementations in the cloud.
- Implement security measures and monitoring. You’ll need to build a system for monitoring all software purchases, connected devices, and applications to ensure full governance. This requires real-time monitoring of purchases, renewals, and usage, as well as a systematic procedure for procurements.
- Check to make sure all parts of your organization are implementing SAM correctly. SAM functions must take clear, documented steps to act in the face of any issues, and plan ahead for future IT infrastructure changes.
Certification and Preparedness
Remote work, BYOD, cloud, SaaS — all are redefining how organizations manage their software assets. By getting certified in SAM yourself or offering training and certification to your team, you can begin to maximize the possibilities inherent in today’s landscape.
Interested in getting started? BSA Verafirm offers the only comprehensive training and certification program in the world aligned to the ISO 19770-1. In particular, IT professionals will learn a detailed description of the ISO management principles of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), which should be applied to the SAM framework including the 15 key processes. The course also discusses in detail the fifteen processes considered key to an ISO SAM system. The course is conveniently offered online, so you can earn your certification from anywhere and on any device.
Start a free demo to see for yourself.