Software asset management, or SAM, is a systematic approach to helping organizations gain control of their software estate. It’s the confluence of many disciplines inside and outside of IT, and can generate benefits for companies beyond its technical operations.

SAM programs can generate significant savings, reduce risk postures, and create consistency for organizations. Although it’s an area of high opportunity, SAM is notoriously difficult to garner support for, implement, and sustain in large organizations. However, investing energy into actively managing software investments is well worth the effort.

SAM Improves the Bottom Line

Software moves through a lifecycle, with a defined beginning and end. Establishing processes to manage that lifecycle creates opportunities to save money.

Between 20 and 25 percent of an organization’s IT budget is typically spent on software. When IT departments are facing budget pressures, this is prime area to look for ways to optimize spending. For example, a robust SAM program can identify under-utilized applications that might be costing the organization needless expense.

SAM Supports Better Decisions

A SAM program also generates information and data that can help organizations make smarter decisions and minimize risk. Having access to good data allows organizations to appropriately charge their internal and external customers, because they have a better view of what it costs to deliver those services.

For example, if a company is bidding on a contract and doesn’t know the true cost of the software needed to deliver that project, this can have a negative impact on the overall bid. Having a proper understanding of what it costs to deliver will allow the company to either pass on savings (if the costs were overstated) or to be compensated properly for the expense (if the costs were underestimated).

SAM Helps Streamline Operations

Implementing a SAM program can also streamline day-to-day business activities, such as onboarding new employees. With a robust SAM program in place, the IT department knows who has what software, and when.

Having a user profile for various types of employees means that IT staff can predict what new employees will need. That allows the company to be more agile as a business, which generally leads to increased satisfaction among staff.

SAM Brings It All Together

SAM is a unique discipline in IT where skills need to be balanced between technical, financial, and business acumen. If you’re planning to move ahead with a SAM program, look for opportunities to hone your skills in all three areas, so that you can appreciate the connections between each discipline, and maximize the benefits that SAM can deliver to your organization.