Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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Results of the 2013 Software Asset Management (SAM) Survey

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Confucius once said, “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” Confucius may not have had software asset management (SAM) in mind, but this quote suggests that planning and preparation, both important—if not essential—elements of SAM, are key to success. This January we conducted a survey to gauge the status of SAM efforts among organizations that evaluated software asset management products within the last two years. Given our commercial interest in this spaey chose. (To ensure we were comparing apples to apples, we defined “SAM tool” as technology that collects and analyzes software inventory data for the purposes of license compliance and/or overall inventory tracking/management.) We also asked participants a few questions relevant to their experiences, such as whether they had been audited in the past couple of years, and whether they believe software asset management is a top priority at their organization.

Not surprisingly, more than twice as many organizations ce, we were primarily interested in learning how many companies went on to purchase a tool, and of those who did, how satisfied they are with the technology thwe surveyed have a software asset management tool in place than those organizations that don’t. And we are pleased to note that 60% of respondents felt that software asset management was on their IT department’s list of top priorities for 2013.

To follow is a summary of some other the findings of the survey, which was comprised of 115 organizations of all sizes:

Notes: Most survey participants without a tool cited multiple reasons for not having implemented SAM technology to date. It should be noted that these responses are closely tied to each other; for example, it stands to reason that if software asset management has no executive approval, it will not be an IT priority, and there will likely be no budget.
Notes: When participants were asked what challenges are being experienced with their current software asset management tools, responses were varied. Among the challenges cited were: complexity of software, incompatibility with other systems, lack of details and accuracy, inability to “scrub” data effectively, and too much manual data entry.
Notes: Unfortunately there is no clear data on what percentage of organizations are audited annually. It undoubtedly depends on on multiple factors such as company size/growth, purchasing trends within the company, and complexity of infrastructure. Our survey is very likely a biased sample, given that companies that have been audited may be more likely to evaluate and implement software asset management tools.

The findings that always surprise me the most are those related to how many organizations are unhappy with the effectiveness of their tool, especially in light of the fact that they purchased so recently. It underscores the eternal importance of defining your software asset management goals and requirements at the outset, thoroughly testing available technologies that purport to meet your needs, and defining a bulletproof set of SAM processes that are well-aligned with the tool(s) you select.

Thank you to all those who participated in the survey; it is both fascinating and extraordinarily helpful to hear firsthand what end users are experiencing in the real world.