Software Asset Management advice for the aspiring SAM Manager

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Matt Fisher, Chief Storyteller, Certero

A couple of months ago, I posted the following question on LinkedIn, inviting my network to offer a single piece of advice to those starting out in a Software Asset Management role:


“Calling all seasoned (grizzled?!) #SoftwareAssetManagement pros… What ONE short piece of advice would you give to someone new to a SAM role?”

True to form, my network delivered (thank you all) with more than forty comments. Reading through them all (I really did…), four pretty clear categories seemed to emerge:

  • Priority & Focus
  • Soft Skills & Networking
  • Data & Tools
  • Personal Development

Below are just a selection of the comments and advice that I thought were most useful.


Priority & Focus

“Build a SAM plan, start with an agreement between you and the business on what is expected to be delivered. Clear outcomes and deliverables.”
Michael Rainer SAM Manager, nbn™ Australia

“My advice would depend on what role they are entering this world at, but the frame would be consistent on two themes. 1) Quick wins may rapidly erode. Target them within a broad spectrum of establishing best practice and sustaining results. 2) There may be few of you, but you will not succeed in achieving point 1 by going it alone.”
Stephen White, Gartner

“Define the scope along with the specific business outcomes of the SAM program and craft metrics by which success can be objectively measured.”
Lori Sechio, Consultant

“A phased approach allows for measured meaningful results. If you attempt too much you will get lost in the data.”
Don M


Soft Skills & Networking

“Keep it simple and grow both your knowledge and reputation. Engage openly and honestly. Demonstrate the value of good SAM practice.”
Stephen Moulds, SAM lead at Johnson Matthey

“Develop and maintain your people skills to gain and retain sponsorship from your C-level manager and simultaneously ensure buy-in from your key stakeholders.”
Sebastiaan Keurs, SAM Consultant

“Relationships (with stakeholders, leadership, peers) are the foundation on which all SAM progress is built.”
Jason Owens, SAM Lead, Salesforce

“Network, network and network some more. Speak to those who are actually DOING SAM, on the ground, facing (or have faced) the same challenges as you and learn from their experiences and potential mistakes.”
David Foxen, ‘SAM Beast’


Personal Development

“Educate yourself continually; educate your peers within; educate your stakeholders. Most feel they get ITAM / SAM, but often they see it as something it’s not. Then one day you see it in their expression when they finally get it….and your support network just grew!”
Bryant Caldwell, Global SAM Manager, Proctor & Gamble

“Earning a certification in that role would be a big boost!”
Jeff Kerchner, IAITAM


Data & Tools

“Make sure you have the people, tools and processes in place to do your job”
Sofien Askri, Senior Project Manager – SAM ITAM ITSM at International Committee of the Red Cross

“All work is in vain and useless without total data quality and data understanding. Crap data will always be crap data. period.”
Can-Peter Meier, Consultant

Cameron Duff, SAM Manager at the Department of Family & Community Services in New South Wales (Australia) had a slightly different but no-less valuable piece of advice:

“Build strong relationships with your vendors and re-sellers (they are not necessarily the enemy you might think they are). This can mitigate a lot of issues before they arise.”

And I’ll leave the final comment to Lauren Smith, formerly SAM lead at Opel Vauxhall Finance and now a SAM consultant:

“Be passionate – it’s easier to sell a concept if people can see that you love what you do!”

Some great advice for those new to their Software Asset Management role, and proof that there’s no single silver bullet for success. For me, a takeaway is that if you focus on each of the key areas outlined above, you should be able to set yourself up for SAM happiness.

If you’re new to your SAM role and looking for some expert guidance or counsel, I’d strongly advise networking with the wider SAM community, learning from their mistakes and avoiding potential gotchas or blind alleys.

And, because I can, I’m happy to offer up to 30 minutes of any of our Certero SAM consultants to you free of charge. Just drop us a line to set up a call.

Thanks to everyone that engaged with the original LinkedIn post!

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