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The gang at Ivanti kindly offered me the opportunity to string a few words together during this festive season, to see if I could put a Christmassy spin on the topic of Software Asset Management (SAM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM). If you don’t want to be considered as a flightless bird at this time of year, then perhaps it’s worth revisiting a very simple (but often overlooked) concept:

Change is the enemy!

Think about it: If we could generate licence compliance reports—and tattoo the stats that comprise our beloved works of art into the CMDB (configuration management database)—then life would be so much easier. However, our IT estate is susceptible to deviation; it expands and contracts to demand (and rightly so). 

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So, what can we do in SAM to ensure that we are included in those changes? And more importantly, what can we do in SAM to ensure that we can influence those changes for the better? I’ve compiled a selection of tips that won’t be included in any licensing exams or on the slidedeck of a salesperson promoting the latest whizzy bit of SAM tech.

And since the holidays are a time when friends and families come together and binge a lot of movies, I thought I’d tie these five tips into five classic movie quotes.

5 Software Asset Management Tips

1. "You’re a good man, Briggs. A good man knows his limitations.” (Magnum Force, 1973)

Dirty Harry may not be on the payroll, but ensuring you know the reach of your SAM program will help determine your effectiveness when delivering SAM, and how to effectively structure requests for more budget/personnel/technology if a growing scope demands it.

2. "We’re gonna need a bigger boat." (Jaws, 1975)

Or do you? Refine that scope. DO NOT throw your arms around the IT estate and assume a professional fait accompli. Your goal as an ITAM professional should be to rationalize and optimize at every given opportunity. 

Who knows what basket of snakes you could inherit from day-one? How many instances of Linux do you need on your IT estate? How many PDF readers? How many versions and editions of databases do you need? The more you can standardize, the more software you can treat in a volume capacity. This has consequential benefits not just for SAM, but also for Information Security, Service Management, Contract/Procurement Teams and Networks.

3. "Don’t cross the streams!" (Ghostbusters, 1984)

Treating SAM as a siloed discipline is a recipe for disaster, not least because SAM is unlikely to be a master of the data that comprises your compliance reports. Processes are the glue of SAM, and SAM needs to be the glue of the IT estate—those processes will involve personnel not in the SAM team, so play nicely!

4. "Show me the money!" (Jerry Maguire, 1996)

Jerry Maguire might not be your boss, but knowing what data you have to present, how to present it, and when and in what format demonstrates the need in SAM to know your audience. Talking about core-consumption or speaking in acronyms will not impress many folks outside of IT, but money and finance is something more of us can get our heads around.

5. “I see dead people.” (The Sixth Sense, 1999)

SAM is primarily a risk management discipline, so do your level-best not to treat the prospect of a vendor audit like having just seen a ghost. Have a structured plan, but make that plan part of a wider business-as-usual cycle, so that ELPs are not merely generated when a vendor asks, or when a contract is renewed.

Another oft-used expression is “Prevention is better than cure.” Understand who in your organization is driving IT change, and work with them—empower that change, but in a fashion that suits both them and you/SAM.

I hope this short piece gives you food for thought on how best to take forward SAM/ITAM in 2020. Do not become an ELP machine; you are so much better than that! SAM and ITAM have the potential to unleash so much business intelligence, so having exercises to find out what information the business needs that your SAM suite can provide could (in return for such reports) facilitate an easier path in helping you achieve your SAM goals.

To all of those who have made it to the end of this blog: Thank you! (Love and hugs) Have an awesome break over this festive time, enjoy a few classic films, and I hope that you are suitably recharged for the new year ahead.

Find out more about this blog author, Rory Canavan, by checking out his Twitter page @DNAofITAM, or by visiting