With the rising costs of software licensing and maintenance, companies are becoming more aware of the importance of a software asset management (SAM) programme, according to the latest KPMG report.
The report titled Software Asset Management - Mitigating Risk and Realising Opportunities indicated that SAM can deliver the positive results desired by companies.
Using a broad definition, KPMG referred to SAM as "a business practice designed to reduce IT costs, limit risks related to the ownership and use of software, and increase corporate-wide and IT efficiencies."
Sophisticated treatment of software assets
"As more companies begin to realise the value of their software assets--and that this value is being compromised by failing to actively manage these assets--undoubtedly, SAM adoption will grow," the report predicted. "It will not be long, in fact, before companies with limited SAM capabilities will become the exception."
KPMG stressed that there is the potential to save millions of dollars through more optimal use of all technology assets once companies apply the same sophisticated treatment on hardware to their software.
SAM can also assist in making better purchasing decisions and negotiating leverage. Through tools such as volume purchase agreements or bundled services, the companies can go beyond the procurement and deployment of the appropriate increments of software in the areas matched.
When companies show difficulties in tracking licensing compliance, SAM can help ensure that firms use only authorised software.
Aiming for enhanced risk management and governance, SAM can provide companies with better understanding and control of the software environment. Without such critical knowledge, data integrity, customer privacy and network security can be undermined.
In terms of intangible benefits, a sound SAM environment can improve responsiveness, flexibility, and information flow, among the other related "soft" benefits.
Hurdles in usage
Despite the benefits that can be derived through SAM, the programme's significance has not been given much attention because of the perceived importance of other corporate priorities.
As licensing rules becoming more complex, some providers are not clear on how their agreements are structured. This can also result in more difficult monitoring and fulfillment of requirements.
Another challenge in SAM deployment is that there is seldom interaction among the main groups that SAM can affect. For instance, a company's legal, procurement, IT and finance units might not be sharing common objectives.
Also, licensing documentation can become a "daunting challenge", according to the report, because of the problems associated with inadequate historical licensing data.