When first implementing a Software Asset Management (SAM) program you will in all likelihood need to prioritize which software vendor you will initially focus your activities on. This is because you are likely to have many tens (if not hundreds) of different software titles being used across your organization and so understanding which are the most important ones to focus on is important.
Factors to consider when choosing a software vendor to focus on
Whilst a lot of people will go with ‘gut feel’ there are a number of factors that when considered will help you in this choice. These are:
- Risk – the risk can come from a number of areas. Firstly, have you recently been audited by a vendor who found major non-compliance? If so, they are more likely to come back again soon. Also, you may have read about a software vendor being particularly active in your country or market sector, so an audit from them soon is more likely. The second area of risk comes from business change – a merger, acquisition or disposal (MAD). If one of the organizations involved is a major user of a vendor’s software any MAD activity will be more than likely to trigger an audit.
- Spend – This one is more tangible and easier to measure. Basically, the higher your spend with a particular vendor the higher they should be up your list for SAM activities.
- Volume – typically the highest volume of software within an organization is on Microsoft products and whilst this does not always equate to the highest spend (datacentre products are typically very expensive) the high numbers of licenses involved mean that the potential to be non-compliant or over spend is high and accordingly should be high on your list.
- Strategy – is a particular vendor’s software strategic to your business going forward? If so then this should be a high priority for your SAM activity.
- Transition – are you increasing or decreasing your use of a particular vendor’s software? Rapid changes in either direction are likely to attract their attention and so increase the risk of an audit. So, even if you are moving away from a particular vendor’s software you should still consider prioritizing it for SAM activity.
You will need to assess all your software vendors against the above criteria and give weight accordingly to each factor. This will allow you to identify a top 3 or 5 to initially concentrate your efforts on, as it will be impossible to focus on all the vendors of software that your organization uses.
If you have any questions on this topic or would like help assessing which software vendor you should be focusing your SAM activities on, please get in touch.