Trick or Treat! Don’t build a SAM Frankenstack this Halloween!

Oct 31, 2019

Matt Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer, Certero


Don’t build a SAM Frankenstack this Halloween!

Let’s face it, Dr Frankestein’s experiment wasn’t exactly an unqualified success. Yes, he managed to create a living breathing thing by stitching together an assortment of limbs and other body parts. He somehow got blood flowing and managed to spark the ‘borrowed’ brain and heart into life with a massive surge of electricity. But the resulting “monster” wasn’t quite all there in terms of fully-integrated functionality and intelligence.

Dr Frankenstein’s creation was a warning to us all about not only messing with the laws of nature, but the concept of randomly stitching pieces together and expecting them to work seamlessly.

So why do so many organizations think it will work with their Software Asset Management and IT Asset Management technology stacks?

When you bring together multiple inventory tools, some kind of data collection/aggregation service, a separate software recognition database, a disconnected license management application and a third-party reporting or analytics interface, is there ever any real chance of it delivering real SAM value?

It’s what we refer to as a ‘Frankenstack’, a disparate collection of technologies that are forced to work together in a way that they were not originally designed to do.  These days, we’re used to the idea of integrating multiple applications, to having a seamless data flow across them and to be able to build solutions that might our exact use cases.

But the problem is that the concept is often much better than the reality. Especially in the SAM and ITAM worlds. When it comes to building (and maintaining) a Frankenstack, there are several common issues:

  1. Technology footprint – by using multiple tools, it is likely that the combined apps, databases and middleware will consume far more resources than a Unified Platform approach would. This creates cost and overhead many budgets can’t support.
  2. Integrations are brittle at best – it’s often the case that changing the configuration or upgrading one part of the Frankenstack has a negative impact on the flow of data through it, with brittle integrations easily broken by the smallest of changes.
  3. Problem resolution means finding a needle in a haystack – when things don’t work as intended, finding the cause of the problem can be a real challenge, trying to identify which part of the stack – or the wet string connecting it all together – is the culprit.
  4. Increased security fears – the more layers to your Frankenstack, the more apps that need to be maintained separately and the more data transfers that need to be protected. It’s an unnecessary security headache.
  5. Poor user experience – managing multiple data sets and working in multiple UIs decreases the user experience and affects productivity. It’s even worse when different parts of the Frankenstack are managed by different teams who have no real mandate to work together.
  6. More work gets done in spreadsheets than tools – as users can’t perform the necessary calculations or automated workflows, Excel becomes a major part of the Frankenstack, upping the manual overhead and slowing down the process of achieving usable data.


Not all Frankenstacks are created by the end user organization!

It’s easy to think that Frankenstacks are created by the end user, cobbling together bits of existing technology in the hopes of creating an effective solution to a new business need. That isn’t always the case.  Even tools vendors can create Frankenstacks!  Tool sets (or call them ‘platforms’ or ‘portfolios’ if you prefer) that have grown through acquisition or alliances are often guilty of becoming Frankenstacks, as vendors rush to create integrations between their organically-developed technologies and those that they have acquired or licensed. These integrations often cover over the cracks and disguise the fact that different parts of the product portfolio have entirely different code bases (or are even sometimes coded in entirely different languages!) and don’t share any commonality in how the collect, store or process data.  But those cracks often reappear when one part of the stack is upgraded or when customers try to implement (or maintain) custom integrations.


Don’t create a SAM monster!

In certain circumstances, using multiple tools as part of your SAM technology stack is inevitable (at least in the early days as you prove the value of the SAM discipline), but it’s important to understand the downsides of working with multiple technologies, even if they are from the same vendor. The alternative is to look for a truly integrated solution based on a Unified Platform.  The complete opposite to a Frankenstack, the many parts of a Unified Platform have been designed from the outset to work together, to share a common data source and code, to provide the user with a better experience through a single UI and easier analysis of data. What’s more a Unified Platform is actually easier for the vendor to support as well, which means faster resolution of support calls. Accelerated development times mean that customers get access to new features more often and upgrading is much simpler. If you want your SAM program to be more less trick and more treat this Halloween, beware of building or buying a Frankenstack!

Follow us on Linkedin for more Cloud


Read more like this from

Need help with your enterprise licensing challenges?

Certero's [software-as-a-service] Solution

Certero help organizations transform their outdated operations and technologies in days and weeks not years. All of Certero’s solutions can be delivered as SaaS with no loss of functionality. 

Certero Unified Platform
Learn more about Certero’s truly unique ‘unified’ platform.

Digital Transformation Edition
Transform in days and weeks, not months and years, start your journey now.

Verified Oracle LMS/GLAS Solution
Verified LMS (License Management Services), now GLAS (Global Licensing & Advisory Services) solution.

Cloud Management
Manage Visibility, Cost and Governance of your Cloud Resources 

Enterprise Standard Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
Default solution to manage ITAM/SAM for a Wintel environment. 

Enterprise Premium Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
All you need in one place to manage your ITAM/SAM for a Wintel & Citrix environment. 

Stand-a-lone or holistic solutions for IBM, SAP and Oracle.

Software License Compliance
One Stop Shop, products and services for any solution – all in one

Business Intelligence Solution
See how to turn DATA into INFORMATION then transform into KNOWLEDGE, all in a few clicks. 

IT Asset Visibility
Find out: What do I own? Where is it located? Who is using it?

ITSM & CMDB Integration 
Populating the CMDB with ‘Quality’ asset information is more critical than ever

SaaS Subscription Management
Discover, manage and optimize your SaaS investments.

Everything in One place, True Unification

IT Hardware, Software, SaaS and Cloud Asset Management products that can run ‘stand-a-lone’ or ‘holistically’ and optimally together as a single solution, no dependencies. True unification across all asset and platforms and all delivered as SaaS. All of Certero’s products have the best TTV (Time to Value) by some distance.

Certero for Enterprise ITAM
Networks, printers, routers, Wintel, Mac, Linux, zLinux, Unix, all virtualizations and much more....

Certero for Enterprise SAM
Focused on Wintel software vendors, including automated solutions for Microsoft, Adobe and much more...

Certero App Centre 
Enterprise ‘Application Portal’ for Self-Service application provisioning.

Certero for Mobile
Go beyond standard MDM and deliver full management and security for your mobile workforce.

Certero SRDB (Software Recognition)
Transform raw software inventory data into actionable intelligence about application usage and licensing.

Certero for Oracle 
Optimize your Oracle Database, Middleware and E-Business Suite applications.

Certero for IBM
Discover and manage all IBM software & entitlements across the network. Dual Inventory, ILMT and Certero.

Certero for SAP Applications
Managing and automating the analysis of complex SAP named user and engine licenses across your estate. 

An intuitive self-service password reset solution that can reduce service desk calls by 30%. 

PC Power Management solution. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice

Rated #1 for SAM Customer Satisfaction year after year, after year

For the latest in ITAM, SAM, Cloud and SaaS Asset Management

White Papers and eBooks 
Download the latest white papers and eBooks for key insights and guides.

Read the latest news from Certero and the industry.

Events and Webinars
Keep up to date with Certero's latest webinars and events.


View our range of product videos, webinars and customer case studies. 

Data Sheets
Download our datasheets which highlight the key benefits and features of our world class products and services. 

Case Studies 
See how organization around the globe change they way they [Do IT].

We think [and do] IT Differently

We don’t believe in claiming to be something we’re not. We will not do mediocre, average, indifferent, or outdated. We are different and will do it differently.

About Us
Get to know us more

Our Story
See how our approach is different

Our Journey
A timeline of events

Our Vision, Mission and Purpose
Mission, Purpose and Values

Browse our current roles

Find our nearest location