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7 Success factors for optimal use of SAM tooling

If you decide to support your SAM processes with a SAM tool, you want to be sure that this tool is used in the best way possible. The information that can be extracted from the tool must be accurate and complete in order to give a real and accurate view of your compliance position. Only then you can take the right measures to manage compliance risks and implement cost savings.

What are the most important success factors for the optimal use of a SAM tool in support of your SAM processes?

1. Think carefully about the SAM information needs, the design of your SAM tool and the working method of the SAM team after the implementation.

  • Determine what information is needed to be able to make a correct report for the software publishers in scope. For Oracle, different information is required than for Microsoft. Which license consumption should the SAM tool be able to measure in order to determine the compliance position? Which reports are required within the organisation?

  • Design the set-up of the tool with the right stakeholders and use (external) experts to advise you on this.

  • Train the users on how to use of the SAM tool, for all the components that will be important to them.

  • Set up conventions and best practices together with the users for a uniform working method. Monitor the conventions, processes and working method to prevent “garbage in = garbage out”. If purchase orders or License information are registered or imported incorrectly, the risk of inaccurate output and incorrect compliance calculations arises.

2. Before you implement, ensure a clear overview of the infrastructure and keep checking the inventory.

  • Know what numbers of workstations and servers you should see after the inventory agent roll-out in your SAM tool.

  • Monitor the degree of coverage of the tool in order to provide the correct information.

  • Verify at least once a month whether you achieve the desired coverage ratio and define necessary mitigating actions within your internal organisation. If verifying the inventory from multiple sources is too time-consuming, outtask this activity to an expert or use a tool to automate the verification process for you.

3. Check your agreements with possible service providers.

  • Have agreements been made regarding the provision of  inventory data from workstations / servers within the environments managed by the service provider?

  • Can the agents of the SAM tool be rolled out in the environment of the service provider? Service providers often argue that the availability cannot be guaranteed when inventory agents of third parties are running on the servers in their environment.

4. Allocate sufficient time for the users to actually fill, manage and maintain the tool.

  • Nothing happens out of its own, nothing is registered automatically by the system; registering purchasing orders and licenses requires the necessary preparations, time and knowledge.

  • Prevent the situation where employees have to perform SAM duties as an extra task on top of their regular tasks, the correct use of the tool will disappear into the background. To avoid this, you can consider outsourcing the registration, verification and management of the tool.

5. Apply regular time to Application Evidence processing.

  • Every report or license is based on applications. An application is recognized by means of a smart mechanism (ARL / SRS / etc.). Even though the library is automatically updated, "unrecognized evidence" items still remain. Think of executables or MSI files that are not automatically recognized because they have been repackaged. Without this evidence to be processed, a possible incorrect calculation of the compliance position arises. It is possible to outsource such activities to experts.

6. Ensure that the systems in the SAM tool are always classified.

  • Different types of environments (O / T / A / P) can be licensed in different ways. Think, for example, of a test environment that can be licensed against more favorable conditions than a production environment. No SAM tool is capable of automatically detecting whether a system is actually in a production or in a testing environment. It is necessary to pay attention to this. Either manually (time-consuming) or by linking to your service management tool (ServiceNow, TopDesk, BMC).

7. Ensure that regular technical and functional / substantive health checks are applied.

  • Check whether the licenses and purchase orders have been entered in accordance with the conventions.

  • Check the degree of coverage of the tool.

  • Check the technical functioning of the tool and, if necessary, carry out actions in the organisation or log tickets in case of problems.

  • Check whether the functional design is still in line with the SAM processes and your information needs.

A solid working SAM tool offers a lot of support to the implementation of the SAM process. Keep in mind, however, that a SAM tool is not the solution to fix all your problems. Your SAM tool is capable of measuring many applications, but there will always be licenses for which the consumptions cannot be determined with a tool. The drafting of compliance procedures in which the consumption of a license is determined is a crucial part of every SAM implementation.

If you would like to know more on any of these successfactors or on how to optimise your processes to be more cost efficient, get in contact with the Softline Solutions team.

Ronald Schreur | Tags: License Management, SAMtools, Software Asset Management, SAM as a Service, Flexera Flexnet Manager, SAM Assessments, SAM tool, FlexNet Manager, Audit