Take control of your SaaS sprawl with software asset management

SaaS Management

Vendr | Software asset management
Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
March 14, 2022
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Key takeaways:

  • Unmanaged software assets pave the way for an array of security risks, ranging from compliance risks to audit risks. A software asset management process helps businesses stay clear of those risks.
  • Software asset management aids businesses in managing and optimizing the end-to-end software life cycle from purchase to disposal.
  • SAM processes track software licenses, ensure compliance with license agreements, streamline software purchases, forge better vendor relationships, and mitigate inherent risks.
  • Steps involved in building a software asset management plan are performing a software audit, understanding software spend and compliance levels, and implementing a SAM solution.

Recognizing the need for software asset management (SAM) doesn’t necessarily mean a team will know how to get started. 

Software asset management can equip businesses to respond well to security threats, outages, and other potential roadblocks. Additionally, effective SAM processes assist with software spend optimization, SaaS license management, and cost savings. 

What is software asset management? 

Software asset management is the process of effectively managing and optimizing software procurement, deployment, inventory, software usage, audits, compliance, and disposal within an organization. This process facilitates the management, maintenance, and governance of software products throughout their lifecycle. 

Software asset management identifies the list of software products used within an organization. The process provides an understanding of their license agreements and license compliance requirements. Once this process is complete, software stack managers can maintain software assets to meet business needs in a cost-effective manner.

How software asset management works

As businesses continue to embark on digital transformation, the need for proper software asset management increases with it. SAM is an essential part of a larger IT service management (ITSM) or IT asset management (ITAM) program. 

While SAM can fulfill a variety of functions based on an organization's IT infrastructure and business needs, its core functions don't vary much from firm to firm. An ideal SAM program will:

1. Control spend on software licenses

Because of tiered and complicated pricing models, businesses tend to over- or under-invest in software licenses. A thorough software audit outlining the usage levels and consumption rate of a specific software will give businesses the insights they need to negotiate their packages and control spend on their software licenses effectively. 

2. Ensure compliance with the license agreement

Software vendors always list terms and conditions of using their software licenses explicitly within their master services agreement. It’s the duty of a buyer to ensure their end-users comply with these conditions. In these instances, a software asset manager who understands what's at stake can train and educate end-users about proper compliance practices.

3. Streamline software purchases

The democratization of purchasing power has made the new software purchasing process complicated for purchasers and end-users. When anyone with a business credit card can procure SaaS software, tech stack management can spiral out of management’s control. A designated software asset manager can analyze and approve new software purchase requests, spotting duplicate or redundant purchases instantly — cutting software costs considerably.

4. Forge good vendor relationships

Software audits can put a strain on your vendor relationships when instances of non-compliance are detected. A SAM tool will help businesses stay clear of these awkward situations by enforcing compliance across the board. What’s more, the utilization feedback collected by SAM tools can offer vendors valuable feedback about their products. 

5. Mitigate inherent risks

Software assets come with compliance risks and audit risks. Businesses that don’t have designated vendor risk management software in place need a SAM process to stay clear of these risks. For instance, if a business doesn't have visibility into their software assets, they may end up missing vital updates, becoming incompliant, or paying more.

7 benefits of software asset management

It’s easy to underestimate the impact of having a software asset management strategy in place. The top benefits of a good software asset management process are:

  • Cut down software spend with effective negotiation of contracts and software license agreements
  • Streamlined IT operations by automating necessary processes in a reliable manner
  • Optimized utilization of software licenses through reallocation 
  • Sped-up resolution of SAM-related queries
  • Ensured compliance with license agreements of installed software
  • Eliminated chance of maverick spend with an established software procurement process 
  • Reduced administrative overheads involved in regular software maintenance 

Building a software asset management plan

The best software asset management plan not only identifies the shortcomings of the current software stack situation, but also highlights opportunities for improvement and helps set goals for the future. 

Listed below are steps involved in creating a rock-solid software asset management plan:

1. Perform a software inventory

Before businesses step into the SAM game, they need to know a few basic details, which can be obtained by conducting a thorough software inventory. When businesses understand what software assets they have, who uses them, how much they cost, and how often they’re used, it’s easier to calculate the monetary worth of software investments and their impact on the bottom line. All this information can be stored in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a simple SaaS stack template.

2. Understand and cut down software spend

When functional managers are in charge of software purchasing decisions, they often overlook several critical aspects that can result in gross overspending. They may have either purchased too many software licenses or chosen the wrong license type. Recently, a Gartner analyst said organizations that do not have an asset management plan in place overspend on software assets by 40%.

3. Determine the current compliance level

Software service providers have the option to levy hefty fines when they detect an organization's non-compliance with their terms and conditions. If entities like the Business Software Alliance (BSA) are tipped off about a compliance violation, an organization may be subject to legal actions and a hefty statutory demand. 

A software asset management program will help businesses understand where they stand in terms of compliance and what they must do to meet the expectations outlined in their service entitlement agreements.

4. Implement a SAM solution

A software asset management solution facilitates the safe and efficient management of software assets. With the help of a SAM solution, businesses can easily improve the experience of end-users and the IT team while streamlining software spend. Plus, the SAM solution decodes license entitlements, automates the collection of software utilization data, and shares all pertinent software asset-related information with specific stakeholders swiftly.

How Vendr helps your company with software asset management

Finding the ideal SAM solution for your organization might be a hectic task in such a crowded market. To vet your options, compare these top three software asset management tools that offer best-in-class features and support. 

Vendr offers features to automatically discover, organize, and track software used throughout your entire organization. This, combined with  with key vendor contracts and documents are available to manage in one central location. With a single source of truth, you are protected from lapsed renewals, duplicative purchases, and shadow spend.

With Vendr's SaaS management solution, software users can monitor adoption, usage rates, and total spend over time across the company to make informed purchase and renewal decisions. With the ability to filter data in a way that works best for you, you're always looking at exactly the right software asset management information.

Any size company can reap the benefits of software asset management

Although software asset management might look like a daunting task, it’s a necessary process. A solid SAM plan has the capability to become an organization's primary decision-making tool and is something that shouldn’t be skipped. 

Businesses that embrace a software asset management approach need SAM tools to help them measure, manage, and control software assets and their associated data. A powerful software asset management tool can help businesses implement their SAM strategy.

While SAM tools may help track software contracts and renewal dates, performing vendor negotiations is outside their scope. Vendr saves businesses from the back-and-forth hassle involved in software negotiations. 

Vendr Team
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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