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SMBs Historically Underserved by Software Asset Management Tools (Part 1 of 2)

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Small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t have it particularly easy when it comes to implementing IT solutions; they’re cursed by their need for capabilities similar in sophistication to those delivered by larger enterprise-oriented solutions. However, because of their smaller size, they generally can’t dedicate the same level of resources, whether financial or human, to investing in and managing complex framework products. The discipline of software asset management (SAM) is no exception to the SMB dilemma.

In our ten years of focusing on software asset management, we’ve observed that small- and mid-sized companies have been perpetually underserved by the vast majority of SAM products. The tools market is comprised primarily of:

1) Large enterprise-oriented solutions that are difficult and costly to deploy and manage, and tend to “bolt” SAM features on to a broad suite of functionalities such as help desk, deployment, and/or configuration management. These products are offered by some of the biggest software titans (Microsoft, BMC, CA, etc.) who endeavor to deliver entire portfolios of IT solutions to their customers. Because SAM is typically secondary to these companies’ more profitable areas of focus, such solutions frequently lack the domain expertise and dedicated support required for SMB customers to be successful in their SAM initiatives.

2) Cheaper, less sophisticated software inventory tools that claim to do software asset management but don’t come close to delivering the full spectrum of SAM benefits. At first glance, they seem to satisfy your checklist of required features at a much lower cost than other SAM solutions. And even if it doesn’t meet all your requirements, you figure with a little ingenuity, you can jerry-rig it to give you exactly what you want. But upon deployment, when you actually look under the hood, it becomes apparent that no amount of work you do will get the job done…the plumbing just isn’t there.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to address this topic without making generalizations… the truth is that every tool has its strengths and weaknesses, and these must be properly balanced with the end user company’s goals, requirements, and limitations. That said, I’ll attempt to summarize my view of the shortcomings SMBs often encounter when evaluating technology to assist with their SAM efforts.

Specifically, in my next post, I’ll explore five functional areas where SMBs have been underserved both by large, enterprise-oriented suites, as well as by the more basic, lower-cost computer inventory products:

1) License management capabilities

2) Software identification methods

3) Reporting capabilities

4) Support for virtual environments

5) Technical support

CLICK HERE to proceed to the second article in the series.