Are SAM tool-agnostic consultants who believe in doing everything manually actually a good thing?
With Software Asset Management (SAM) becoming ever more important to many organizations, it has seen the increase of independent consultants offering to come in to your business and utilize any existing SAM tool and processes to produce an ELP. Whilst being SAM tool-agnostic is sold as a good thing, a closer look at what is actually happening is quite revealing.
From what we have seen, many consultants will take a look at the technology and processes you already have in place and come to the conclusion that the only way to produce an accurate ELP, that they will be happy to sign off, is to compile it manually. Naturally, this will be costly, but in the overall scheme of things you will likely come to the conclusion it is money well spent. But is it?
Initial Problem: Out-of-date ELP the Moment it is Produced
Firstly, an ELP is a static point-in-time report that is effectively out-of-date the moment it is produced. Whilst it is important in demonstrating compliance and so protecting you from the worst effects of a software vendor audit it needs to be constantly updated to remain effective. So, with a manually produced ELP, whilst you may be compliant today, you won’t know if you will be the next day, week, month or even year – unless you repeat the whole costly exercise again.
An ELP is only a starting point in optimizing your licensing – a key activity in these cost-conscious days. Furthermore, SAM is a multidimensional activity, whilst spreadsheets (the favored tool in producing a manual ELP) are only 2-dimensional. So, how can they hope to cope with the complexities and dynamic nature of SAM activity?
As a result, having spent a significant amount of cash on a SAM tool and then time implementing processes around it, all this investment is wasted by going back to a manual activity. Surely, the better and more cost-effective approach, is to firstly, choose the right tool and then make sure you get it working properly by putting the right processes and people in place around it.
Being SAM Tool-agnostic and going back to Manual is NOT a Good Thing
This ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ approach that most consultants employ seems to be based on them protecting their IP and aiming to mystify and over complicate good SAM activity, enabling them to prolong the engagement and consequently charge you more.
That is why, at Certero, we only offer our SAM services when they are based around our AssetStudio SAM suite products. As, we believe, they produce the most accurate and real-time information for SAM purposes, we can deliver an ELP more quickly than with a manual process. What is more, as this information is dynamic, it is always up-to-date and so you know if you will be compliant next day, week, month or year.
With dynamic, built-in alerts, you can be automatically notified immediately you become non-compliant, allowing you to quickly resolve the cause. It also enables you to use it as basis for optimizing your licensing going forward. This will not only save you money but deliver a compelling ROI on your initial AssetStudio investment.
So, if you get approached by an independent SAM tool-agnostic consultant, look very closely at what they are offering. If they are not proposing to leverage the existing investment you have made in your SAM tool to deliver an ELP, but instead go back to a manual process, then we would recommend you ask them why.
What are your ELP and licensing requirements? Get in touch with Certero to discuss.