Software assets are indispensable in the IT world. In today’s complex IT environments, you need a definitive approach to make sure that your software assets are well managed. Since software tools make up a sizeable part of any IT budget, you must strive to gain maximum value out of them. This can be made possible with the help of software asset management.
In this blog, we’ll take a detailed look at the significance of software asset management and how you can get the most out of your software assets.
What are software assets?
Software assets refer to any applications, licenses or programs used by business organizations for the purpose of business operations. Businesses need to diligently manage their software assets since they are subject to various risks, including data security risks, compliance risks, business continuity risks, etc.
To effectively manage their software assets, companies need to incorporate Software Asset Management (SAM). There must be clear policies and well-developed processes in an organization regarding how software assets must be handled.
What are examples of software assets?
Some common examples of software assets include software programs, software licenses, data rights, documentation, software development agreements, maintenance agreements, etc. These assets are typically used in the conduct of a business.
What is software asset management (SAM)?
Software asset management (SAM) is a part of IT asset management that ensures the optimal use of software assets in an organization. It refers to all the processes involved in the management of software assets, from their procurement to disposal.
Businesses can strategize their software asset management process by identifying unused or infrequently used software licenses and eliminating them from their IT environment. Businesses can also consolidate software licenses to optimize the use of their licenses and achieve cost and time savings.
In today’s digital environment, organizations use an array of software products in their IT environment, and this makes SAM a critical business process. When done right, SAM can protect an organization from compliance penalties, anti-piracy litigations, unintentional license overuse and more.
What is the software asset lifecycle?
Today’s global businesses are heavily reliant on their software assets for their everyday operations. To ensure the peak performance of these assets, their lifecycle must be monitored properly. Just like any other business assets, software assets go through their inevitable wear and tear. After a certain period, these assets may not perform optimally and may require regular maintenance.
Software products usually go through the following four stages in their lifecycle:
- Planning: This is the stage where you identify the need for a software tool and submit a request to the IT manager. This stage also involves the evaluation of the existing assets in the IT infrastructure and the value that will be added by a new software tool.
- Procurement: This is the stage where you purchase the software tool. Besides focusing on the financial aspects, this stage also involves the deployment of the asset and the initial setup for the tracking process.
- Operation: The asset is deployed now and put to its intended use. During this stage, the asset will be regularly monitored and periodically tested for performance issues. The main focus here is continuous operations without any downtime. Companies can implement various maintenance strategies to ensure seamless operations here.
- Disposal or decommissioning: Once the software asset has served its full purpose, it is time to decommission it. Removing an outdated software program is just as important as installing a new one. The disposal process eliminates security and compliance risks arising from a software tool.
What does software asset management do?
Software asset management is all about optimizing and protecting the software assets in your business organization. From reducing IT expenses to mitigating security and compliance risks, SAM plays a key role in the effective functioning of an organization. Here are some of the notable functions of SAM in an IT environment.
Software license management
This refers to the process of managing all software licenses used in an organization from a unified, centralized platform. With a software license management system in your IT infrastructure, you can better comply with your software license agreements. Moreover, you can keep track of your license expiries, inactive licenses, license overuse, etc.
Software vendor management
With the global IT infrastructure getting more and more complex every day, it is important for organizations to keep track of third-party service providers who have access to their internal environment. Software vendor management can streamline this process by managing software programs from third-party vendors. This process includes managing orders, invoices, contracts, payments, etc.
Software spend management
Spend management is a part of the supplier or vendor relationship that exclusively focuses on company purchases. Companies aim to get maximum value from every dollar they spend, and this can be done better by managing all software-spend-related activities through a SAM solution. Keeping track of software spending can help organizations ensure higher efficiency, lower supply costs, higher productivity and effective collaboration.
What are the benefits of software asset management?
Software asset management offers a lot of benefits, from cost savings to risk mitigation. If you are an organization with a vast array of software assets in your IT infrastructure, SAM provides the best way to ensure seamless operations. Here is our take on some of the key benefits of SAM.
Optimized software costs and utilization
Software and hardware assets contribute to a significant portion of IT budgets. With SAM incorporated into your environment, you can ensure the optimal utilization of your software licenses and eliminate waste in your system. This prevents overlicensing and underutilization of software programs. As a result, you can witness significant cost savings.
Increased visibility and accountability
Asset management goes hand in hand with asset visibility. When you have a way to manage all your software assets, you have better visibility into your IT network. Besides identifying the software licenses in your environment, you can also track license expiries, monitor update requirements and more.
Improved planning and predictability
In today’s digital landscape, IT environments are getting more and more complex. Asset management can help organizations plan their resources and minimize issues caused by human errors. When you have software asset management in your system, you will always have an idea of what you have and what you need. This prevents surprises and ensures predictability. As a result, organizations can use their SAM data to make knowledge-driven decisions.
Reduced security and liability risks
When you have a mature SAM process that offers better visibility into your legacy systems and third-party software, you can minimize security risks to a great extent. SAM keeps track of your authorized users and prevents the installation of unauthorized software programs in your network. By increasing security measures, SAM discourages opportunistic cybercriminals who are looking for an easy payday.
Lower risk of compliance audits and penalties
Data privacy laws have evolved significantly in recent years to ensure the optimal use of user data. Companies have to adhere to many regulations related to the use of software solutions in their IT infrastructure. Software asset management can help you better understand your software assets and how they are being deployed. This reduces the risk of compliance audits and non-compliance penalties.
What is a software asset management tool?
Software asset management tools are products that ensure the optimal performance of software solutions in an IT environment. These tools track all the software licenses effectively and deliver data on the performance of your software assets. Some of the data delivery by SAM tools include usage metrics, software asset inventory, active or passive assets, software spend, data management, etc.
Considering the complexity of today’s IT environments, a software asset management tool is a must-have for all IT teams. In case of an audit, a SAM tool will come in handy for accessible reports on software assets. Most importantly, the security component of a software asset management tool can help mitigate the chances of cyberattacks and network breaches.
Software asset management with IT Glue
Understanding the assets in your IT infrastructure, both hardware and software, plays a critical role in its seamless performance. It is important for IT managers to know who those assets belong to, where the assets are and how to troubleshoot the issues arising in them. With the right tool, you can achieve all that.
IT Glue is an award-winning documentation solution with powerful asset management capabilities. With its powerful integration capabilities, IT Glue can deliver a full inventory of all your assets, who has your assets, where your assets are, etc., all in one pane. You can leverage this data when making critical decisions.
To learn more about how IT Glue can facilitate software asset management, request a demo!