Effective Asset Management

By Vikas bhonsle, CEO, Crayon India

With consistent and effective Software Asset Management (SAM) practices in place, your business is more efficient and can respond quickly to market conditions and opportunities.
Accurate data is paramount to ensuring your implementation plans are appropriate, affordable and have a clear ROI. Following the best practices in SAM, results in effective business intelligence, allowing decision making and a higher degree of operational excellence; ultimately driving long-term business value.
SAM is the effective management, control and protection of software assets within an organisation and its information about related assets which are needed in order to manage software assets.
In my experience, many companies find that they need to devote as much as 80% of their IT budget, merely to maintaining their current investment, leaving as little as 20% for innovation.
Gartner recently surveyed over 2,000 CIOs identifying the top strategic business & technology priorities: 
• Increasing enterprise growth
• Delivering operational results
• Reducing enterprise costs
• Attracting and retaining new customers
Throughout my customer engagements, I have discovered that the documentation and historical asset inventories are rarely up to date. Therefore the lack of business intelligence is a hindrance to progressing at the pace and efficiency desired, ultimately resulting in an unreliable basis for effective planning. 
Planning changes to architecture and infrastructure can be time consuming, requiring a high level of resource and expertise. Organisations struggle to achieve speed & flexibility that they need within the IT infrastructure to focus on their goals and objectives. 
CIOs are facing some serious challenges and dilemmas when making decisions on whether to adopt the new technology options available to them. Questions which most organisations face today include:

Should we move to the cloud?
Cloud is an opportunity for any business to reduce operational costs. The offerings in the market create complexities around licensing, entitlement and usage. SAM clearly assists in the understanding of these complexities, and the differences between on premise and the cloud. 

Should we integrate or innovate?
With current economic uncertainty, companies face greater scrutiny on cost control. Whether you are planning to bring services in house or look to outsource your infrastructure, the liability remains with your organisation.

How do we store our data?
There are many key factors to consider, especially around the Data Protection Act 1998, such as compliance, governance and risk. 

How do we maximise our investments?
Conducting a baseline of your assets enables you to maximise your investment, increasing productivity and scalability through the effective deployment of your software.

How do we enable a mobile work force?
The need for a mobile work force is ever increasing; the number of mobile devices that allow organisations to free users from their desks is at an all-time high. The licensing requirements are a key factor in planning such a move and should be part of your licensing roadmap, as considerable cost savings can be achieved.
By taking a four phased lifecycle approach to SAM, your organisation can start to mitigate risk and immediately reduce software spend.

Here are ten useful steps to take when embarking on a Software Asset Management Programme:
1. Build a SAM plan that documents the scope and objectives.
2. Conduct an inventory of your hardware and software assets.
3. Review your current contracts, agreements and technology deployment roadmap.
4. Review current resources and skill sets against the plan.
5. Ensure skills and training of internal/external resources are in the plan.
6. Review current SAM tools for accuracy and coverage.
7. Engage with a SAM partners for a SAM Program
8. Embark on a programme of work to implement the SAM plan.
9. Ensure measures are in place to repeat the processes and monitor the success.
10. Look to optimise your Tier 1 software through Standardisation, rationalisation and negotiation of on-going agreements and maintenance.
Most of these steps can take time, dedication and resource, and in my experience, many organisations struggle to overcome these hurdles and achieve an effective SAM plan.
SAM helps you streamline all the software applications installed in your organisation, managing, optimizing and tracking software tailored to your needs. SAM also helps in improving your application performance, thereby increasing productivity of your employees. Efficient working systems also ensure speedy results, effective time management, and adhered deadlines for any organization. 
Adopting focussed Software Asset Management practices will also ensure significant financial benefits, by reducing the total cost of software ownership the company needs to spend and speeding up the return on software investment. 
Software Asset Management is not a one time assignment. As technology keeps evolving, SAM must be seen as an effective long- term process to ensure continuous compliance, ethical practice management strategy for a responsible and reputed organization.

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