The 10 Essential Software Asset Management (SAM) Processes

SaaS Management

Discover the benefits of software asset management and learn 10 essential SAM processes to implement.

Vendr | Software asset management processes
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Vendr Team
Published on
July 11, 2023
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Are you using a lot of software tools for your business? Then you need a SAM tool to manage them.

With a SAM tool, you can avoid having duplicate apps, paying for unused software, and potentially getting fined for exceeding your software license limits.

Want to know more about SAM tools and the processes they help with?

This guide will teach you all you need to know about software asset management, including:

  • What is software asset management?
  • 5+ software asset management (SAM) processes
  • Using Vendr to manage your SAM processes

What’s software asset management?

Software asset management (SAM) is a set of processes that help you manage, control, and protect all your company’s software assets.

With a proper SAM system, you better understand your costs, software usage, potential liabilities, and safety risks.

Software asset management also helps maintain your software assets throughout their entire lifecycle and maximize their value.

Software asset management can help you succeed in three main areas: licenses, audits, and optimization.


1. Licenses

License management is an essential aspect of software asset management and is one of its primary goals.

When you purchase a software license, you must comply with its terms and conditions, renewal agreement, and other policies. The license contains essential details about the software's installation, use, and expiration date.

This information in an easy-to-access SAM system can save your employees time and effort. A SAM tool also automatically updates any changes in the license policy, so your chances of becoming non-compliant are much smaller.

2. Audits

A software audit is the process of a third-party vendor checking whether you’re compliant with the software license you purchased.

Failing to comply can lead to legal issues, company liability, and hefty fines of up to $150,000 per improperly licensed software copy.

On top of that, manually extracting the information you need for a software audit can take up to a month and demand the attention of multiple full-time employees. Without a SAM tool, you’re more likely to make mistakes, miss important details, and lose time and money.

A SAM tool automatically tracks all your compliance information and keeps you up to date. With this system in place, getting ready for an audit takes much less effort, time, and money.

3. Optimization

Many businesses buy too many licenses, and thus many licenses go unused. Without proper monitoring of the number of licenses needed, you may end up paying recurring renewal fees and unnecessary maintenance fees.

Often, this expenditure is just as bad as paying a non-compliance fine. It might even be worse.

Provided the issue gets corrected, paying a non-compliance fine is a one-time fee. On the other hand, unused license fees can recur repeatedly and build up to enormous amounts.

The worst part is that detecting excess licenses is hard if you don’t have a SAM system. Without devoting time and money to seeking out unused copies, you might be unaware that part of your IT budget is going to services your team never uses.

With a software asset management tool, you see all licenses and the percentage of idle ones in your inventory. Such insights can help you cut these costs and optimize license usage.

Benefits of software asset management

Cost savings

The most significant benefit of an effective software application management process is its impact on spending.

To reduce costs effectively, finance teams must closely monitor software purchases and ensure that software is used and disposed of properly, preventing unnecessary expenses and ensuring teams use resources efficiently. Here’s how finance teams can save costs with SAM:

  • Decreasing the total number of users in the software license agreement
  • Spotting opportunities to consolidate licenses and reduce total software spend
  • Improving software compliance, minimizing the likelihood of facing costly disputes, fines, or IT infrastructure overhauls

Reduced risk

The SaaS buying process brings with it several security risks. Every time you work with a new software product provider, you take on the risk of a potential breach on their part. Teams should perform risk analyses and mitigation strategies accordingly.

A good software asset management process helps procurement teams enforce regular compliance audits to ensure that vendors meet the security requirements in their respective software agreements.

Avoiding fines and penalties

Failure to comply with data regulation standards like the GDPR can result in huge fines. But an effective software asset management process helps prevent this by regularly confirming that your data handling habits comply with the relevant guidelines.

Help “right-fitting” your software licensing.

A good IT asset management program keeps an accurate software asset inventory, which lists the current vendors you work with and the number of end-user licenses you pay for under each agreement.

You can then use this information to right-size your licensing agreements by culling or reassigning unused licenses and renegotiating your contracts.

Greater return on investment

By reducing overall costs, mitigating security risks, and right-sizing your software stack, your IT asset management process helps drive greater company profitability and improves your total procurement ROI.

10 Software asset management (SAM) processes

1. License tracking

An advanced SAM tool can automatically detect new software added to the company’s inventory.

Once detected, the software becomes part of the SAM system, and you see all related information.

SAM tools can manage all types of software, including PC software, mobile apps, and cloud services. You can also track the number of apps used, the type of license you purchased, and other vendor information.

Also, you can enable notifications regarding license changes so you’re always up to date on license information and able to manage it from one place.

2. Software licenses compliance

With a powerful SAM tool, you can quickly prepare for a software audit.

The system records all software tools, their licenses, and your compliance.

The best part is you can get all this information in an organized report for presentation to your software vendors. Reports like this give you more credibility and minimize the chances of making mistakes or missing critical information.

3. Usage and spend tracking

When handling multiple software tools, you are subject to different pricing models and payment policies that could lead to confusion regarding billing methods, payment deadlines, and maintenance fees. Trying to keep track of all these details and their associated costs can get out of control.

But with the help of a SAM tool, you can see all purchases, recurring fees, and maintenance billing in one place. You also get valuable insights into your spending to quickly detect and prevent losing money on software you don’t use.

Another feature is the powerful report system that breaks down monthly or yearly app use by employees, departments, and projects. You can customize these reports to show specific KPIs to help clarify whether you’re reaching your SAM goals.

4. Software recycling

When an employee leaves the company, their account might be unused but still paid for. With a SAM system, it might be easier to discover and keep track of all these accounts.

Using a SAM tool, you can recycle unused licenses and give them to new hires. Rather than unnecessarily spending more to purchase additional permissions, you simply reallocate the extra licenses already in your inventory.


5. Software requests control

An employee can purchase software without manager approval if there is no centralized SAM system. In such cases, The IT department must be made aware of the new software additions and user details.

But with the help of a SAM tool, it’s easy to streamline software requests. All departments can use the SAM platform to submit their requests and get approval. Your SAM platform records all software tools in the system and gives managers an overall picture of who uses which programs.

When all software is logged and tracked, it’s much easier to eliminate software with duplicate features to reduce your overall costs.

6. Onboarding/offboarding automation

You can also automate processes like employee onboarding and offboarding with the SAM tool.


Say you’re onboarding new employees and must give them access to around a dozen software tools.

With SAM tools, this process is as simple as 1-2-3. You can create a workflow for onboarding employees in specific departments, and the software will help you execute it each time.


Accordingly, you can also use a SAM tool for your offboarding process.

To minimize the risk of cyber attacks, you want to ensure that you revoke software and network access from all former company employees. You can use a SAM tool to streamline this process and ensure it gets executed to completion every time.

7. Software implementation and adoption

Software Asset Management (SAM) software enhances software implementation and adoption through:


A fully implemented SAM platform offers an overview of software utilization, aiding in effective deployment and adoption.

License management

SAM ensures compliance with software license terms, preventing legal and financial issues that introduce software usage interruptions.

Usage insights

Provides information on software usage patterns, facilitating tailored training and improved user adoption

In summary, SAM software streamlines the software lifecycle, optimizes software investment, and fosters efficient adoption, leading to operational efficiency and cost savings.

8. Managed purchasing

Effective software asset management processes don’t just consider your existing software. They start before a given tool gets integrated into your tech stack.

Activities to adopt as part of the managed purchasing process include:

  • Cross-referencing potential purchases against existing software tools to minimize feature overlap
  • Performing vendor risk analyses during the strategic sourcing phase
  • Prioritizing the purchase of platforms that offer native integrations with software suites, you already use to maximize value

9. Overlapping spend analysis

Overlapping spend occurs when companies have two or more software tools that offer similar functionality.

This often happens when purchasing is decentralized and branch or department managers can purchase software tools independently of one another and without prior consultation.

A good software asset management process includes regular analysis of software stacks for overlapping spend. It uses automated tools like Vendr to identify feature overlaps as they appear.

10. Role-based access control

Role-based access control is essential for minimizing security risks without complicating access permissions.

With role-based permissions, new employees can access specific software platforms or features based on their role or title. This enables them to use the tools they need to nail their job without having to request access from the IT department specifically.

Use Vendr to manage your SAM processes

Still trying to figure out which SAM tool can make these processes happen?

Vendr's software asset management platform helps you build efficient processes and view them all in one place.

With Vendr, you can track and manage your licenses, optimize their usage, minimize costs, and always be ready for an audit.

Some of the key features you’ll get access to include:

  • Usage and spend tracking: Identify and quickly eliminate extra spending, inactive accounts, and unused licenses.
  • Budget forecasts: Create budget forecasts and compare them to your actual spending. You can customize these reports to view spending by departments or apps.
  • Employee workflows: Trigger onboarding and offboarding processes automatically assign software to new employees or deactivate former employee accounts.
  • Vendor workflows: You can prompt vendor renewals, approvals, or terminations through the platform and see all vendor information in one place.
  • Audit trails: Every workflow has audit trails that show your compliance. This way, you can get a compliance report with just a few clicks.


Vendr Team
Vendr Team
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Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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