Avoid costs and stay compliant with software asset management

SaaS Management

Maximize cost savings & minimize audit risks with software asset management (SAM). Learn about SAM, choosing the right solution, & how to manage software assets for compliance & optimal usage effectively.

Vendr | Software Asset Managment
Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
January 16, 2023
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When growing your company, it is essential to ensure that your organization utilizes its software assets cost-effectively and competently. Using multiple software solutions with complex licensing metrics and virtualization can make keeping track of app usage, license compliance, and cost efficiency challenging.

This is where software asset management (SAM) comes in. SAM systems can help your organization:

  • Avoid overspending on software that is not being used
  • Ensure compliance with all purchased software licenses
  • Minimize the cost and effort required for software audits
  • Optimize usage of all software assets

Implementing SAM in your organization can be a daunting task. However, with the proper knowledge and resources, you can transition smoothly. In this article, you will learn about the following:

  • What software asset management is
  • The critical importance of software asset management
  • How to choose the right SAM solution for your organization.

What is software asset management?

Software asset management includes all processes and IT infrastructure you need to manage, control, and protect the software assets of your company throughout its life cycles.

SAM is a subset of IT asset management (ITAM), IT service management (ITSM), and hardware asset management (HAM).

ITAM software aims to maximize cost savings and minimize audit risks while improving hardware and software asset management. In addition, they give you a holistic view of your IT operations footprint across on-premises data centers and the cloud. In contrast, SAM focuses explicitly on software management and optimizing your total cost of ownership.

Over some time, isolated software solutions become more complex and dependent on each other, and tracking them becomes clumsy and inefficient. IT departments must also track any updates, license changes, expiration, and software compliance.

Related: 5 best practices for software license management

To do this efficiently, your team needs more than a workflow. You need management software that helps you understand software costs, liabilities, and potential risks. With a software asset management process, you can manage all of your software from one place and maximize the value you’re getting.

SAM can help you in 3 main areas:

1. Software licenses

Licenses are some of the essential software assets. License entitlements have information about the terms and conditions, installed software, and proper software product usage.

As an end-user, you have to ensure that the company complies with the license agreement and you’re not violating any of the terms.

Software providers are very strict about compliance and don’t want you to use more software than the license permits. Thus license management is one of the main goals of SAM.

2. Usage audits

Software vendors perform software license audits to verify your compliance with the license. Being non-compliant can be expensive—we’re talking six- or seven-figure fines for big enterprises. But, at the same time, this can also lead to many legal issues.

Besides that, if done without the support of a software asset management system, an audit is much more costly. It can also take more time and interrupt the normal flow of your everyday business operations.

3. Spend optimization

Many businesses that don’t have a proper SAM in place end up overspending on the software they’re not using.

They end up paying for licenses they don’t use and maintenance they don’t need. This practice can be just as costly as non-compliant, maybe even more!

When you’re non-compliant, you face a steep one-time cost, but when you overspend, you pay recurring fees for something you don’t use.

The worst part is that businesses without a software asset management system are unaware of unnecessary costs, so fees can escalate. As a result, the problem can drag on for months or even years on end.

Why software asset management is critical

Did you know that software-as-a-service (SaaS) waste nearly doubles yearly?

SaaS waste includes all the software licenses your company charges for but doesn’t use. That also includes duplicate or orphaned app accounts that are paid for but not used.

Unfortunately, that’s very common for rapidly growing companies, adding many SaaS apps without a strategy behind such decisions. This rogue spending can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted per company.

Want to avoid all those unnecessary expenses? Then, you can use a software asset management system to manage your software tools.

Some other benefits of using a SAM program are:

1. Effective software asset tracking

Since software assets are intangible, they’re not as easy to track as hardware components. With software, it’s harder to detect when you’re non-compliant and track the overall usage and cost trends.

And since US companies waste an average of $259 per desktop for rarely used or unused software, this can be very expensive.

A software asset management solution can help you manage your SaaS tools and reduce your software expenses. Gartner states it can be easier to control costs effectively with proper SAM practices and clear usage visibility.

2. Asset lifecycle management

Using SAM, you get a good understanding of which lifecycle stage any given software is on.

The stages are:


That’s when you make strategic plans and decisions on what software your company needs and which software solution fits your company's needs best.


That’s the procurement stage, in which you buy the license for the software.


At this stage, you introduce the new software (software deployment) into your business processes and give users access.


You update the software and work with the software support team if you have any issues. This way, you maximize the value of the software solution.


You might want to switch to a different software solution if the current one is not useful or your company has different needs.

With a SAM system in place, you can quickly identify each stage, make better software choices, and understand when a software solution no longer works for your company.

3. Increased accountability

With a software asset management system, you can ensure compliance regarding audits.

This way, you’re more accountable in front of the software vendors. Plus, you’ll have an official record of tracking your compliance.

4. Automated asset discovery and inventory tracking

Asset management systems can automatically detect new software and user accounts added to the company’s network. The SAM will then automatically add them to the system.

This way, you can prevent double accounts and detect inactive accounts or unused software.

How to choose the right SAM tool

There are many SAM solutions and service providers—most of which are cloud services. Which tool is right for you? Which provider is better for your digital transformation?

Are there any factors you should consider before picking a SAM tool?

In this section, we’ll answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision and choose the best software asset management for your company.

When you’re choosing a SAM tool, you should consider the following:

1. The size of your company

Suppose you’re a small company and use only a few software solutions. In that case, you’re probably not in danger of non-compliance and can easily manage your software usage.

However, a SAM tool can save you lots of money and time if you’re a mid-size company or an enterprise with many apps and software licenses. Plus, it will help you manage your software usage much more effectively.

2. The complexity of your infrastructure

A software asset management tool is beneficial if:

  • Your company went through a merger or acquisition.
  • Your company has multiple locations and is present on an international scale.
  • You outsourced part of your operations.

Tracking your software can be difficult due to the complexity and complications of various factors. However, using a SAM tool can significantly simplify this process.

3. What will the SAM tool’s main functionality be?

SAM tools can focus on either inventory or license management or offer a combination of both. Inventory management allows you to identify unused accounts that cost you money, while license management ensures compliance with all requirements.

When choosing a SAM tool, consider the licensing model that best suits your business needs and look for a tool that offers inventory and license management features.

4. Integrating the SAM tool into the company’s system

When choosing a SAM tool, it's essential to consider how it will integrate with your current systems, such as HR, IT asset inventory, and procurement. Be sure to ask vendors if their tool is compatible with your existing systems and to understand the features they offer to see how they will work within your organization.

Simplify your software management with a SAM solution. You can optimize your software usage with real-time tracking and inventory management, saving time and money. SAM tools also help increase accountability, ensure compliance, and automate asset discovery and inventory tracking.

Vendr + SaaS management: The all-in-one SAM tool

Vendr is your ultimate solution for software asset management, helping you save money, simplify operations and boost security. With Vendr, you get the following:

  • Real-time visibility into all the tools used across your organization
  • Automated discovery and inventory tracking for easy usage monitoring
  • Effortless usage and spend tracking to uncover inactive accounts and excess licenses
  • Streamlined license management for renewals, extensions, and cancellations
  • Effortless security and compliance, preparing you for audits with ease. Upgrade to Vendr for a top-down view of your SaaS landscape and optimize your software usage today!
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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