How SaaS is Changing the Role of the SAM Manager

Jan 11, 2021

Adapting to changing environments has become a familiar task for every organization. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted professionals to invest in the quick utilization of remote working spaces and Digital Transformation in order to deal with the challenges facing businesses globally.

Whilst this change has been notable for every professional industry, department and employee, it’s arguably those within SAM positions that have faced, and continue to face, some of the most radical changes. Specifically, how to efficiently adapt their traditional software asset management practices to suit the growing reliance on SaaS solutions.

In this article, we will explore the predictions surrounding SaaS, the challenges this future will present to SAM professionals as well as how their role must evolve to suit the fast-changing IT landscape. This investigation will allow your organization to take proactive measures and ensure little disruption to your everyday working practices – paving the way towards a successful 2021!

The Future of SaaS

It’s no secret that SaaS is set to become the future of Software Applications for all businesses. In fact, research has already found that 32% of IT budgets are now committed to Cloud, SaaS applications and solutions. A figure that is set to grow as we continue to move forward.

Still not convinced?

Well, analyst firm Gartner predicts that the total SaaS market will grow from $85 billion in 2019 to $113 billion by 2021 – suggesting that more and more organizations are, or will be, purchasing SaaS products as we venture into the new year.

SaaS provides mass flexibility and greater choice – two things that rise to the top of every organization’s wish-list in the current climate – but it doesn’t come without obstacles. So, as SaaS solutions continue to hold the largest segment of the cloud-based software market, SAM managers will need to prepare for the evolving Software licensing landscape within their organization. Traditional SAM solutions aim to provide visibility of an organizations on-premise environment, modern solutions will require a more active management role that works to centralize information and understand how SaaS applications are being used within all areas of the organization – making sure that IT has visibility and control.

And with SaaS products defining the professional landscape, it’s time that SAM managers begin their preparation.

Lessons for a Software Asset Manager

Accept SaaS products as the new norm

In the wake of a major pandemic, many may feel that further change will be disruptive. Understandably, you may want to rely upon the more familiar and reliable management methods that have led us to this point but, as outlined above, this is no longer an option.

As we move forward, the digital landscape will change. The first lesson for SAM managers across the globe will simply be in accepting the new reality in order to identify and develop the necessary skills and practices for working and managing the remote SaaS environments.


Understand the decentralization of IT

Although IT teams will often take the lead on new software investments, this is unlikely to remain the case. Many departments outside the IT team’s purview are growing more comfortable with procuring the SaaS solutions they need, when they need them – allowing them to improve their functionality quickly and efficiently. The challenge, of course, rests on how software asset managers can actively control this new way of working.

A key element to consider is the investment in a SaaS Management solution. Whilst the main objective of the solution is to give managers complete, single-pane-of-glass visibility over SaaS platforms, it comes with the added benefits of increased security, improved decision-making procedures and enhanced cost optimization. These solutions ‘join-up the dots’ to give SAM managers the visibility of SaaS adoption across the business and the detailed understanding of precisely how those investments are being utilized. SAM Managers can then rest assured that they have the critical information they need to be able to understand thier SaaS enviroment, so as to be able to right-size licensing and control costs.


Add value to the business

Providing that software asset managers can gain full visibility of the SaaS environments, your organization will then be able to capitalize on the information and boost value.

Similar to self-hosted platforms, SaaS subscriptions can lead to unnecessary expenditures as your organization continues to evolve. Platforms that were vital months ago may become obsolete and forgotten – whether this is due to a change in focus or changes within the staffing situation – and, as such, your organization could continue to pay for monthly subscriptions that are no longer of value.

The conclusion is a simple one; in order to accurately assess and manage the cost of SaaS subscriptions, SAM managers will require all of the information to optimize the attached costs and prevent any overspend. This includes the number of active users, infrequently active users and inactive users in addition to the per-user subscription cost.


Consider the security risks

Security has become of paramount concern for every organization in recent months. With challenges emerging left, right and center, there is simply no time to waste on any breaches within the IT landscape and our growing reliance on SaaS platforms could pose a threat to this.

Whilst these readily available subscriptions allow businesses to operate with increased efficiency internally, it’s decentralized nature leaves something to be desired. SAM professionals will be tasked with gaining full visibility of all platforms in order to accurately assess if the services are being used efficiently, how employee offboarding effects their use as well as leveraging buying power to best effect, to eliminate over-spending on these on-going Software investments.

There is no questioning that SaaS solutions are quickly becoming the norm within almost every industry with the pandemic only accelerating the transition. However, as we move further towards a remote working world, software asset managers must embrace this change in order to effectively control it. Done correctly, businesses will remain high-functioning no matter what physical working situation arises!

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