Key takeaways:

  • Software asset management needs to move out of multiple spreadsheets to efficiently identify and track SaaS purchases, renewals, and usage information.
  • Software asset management tools help streamline your software inventory once and for all. 
  • Software asset management tools offer improved cost optimization, seamless license management, heightened negotiation power, improved life cycle management, and streamlined risk mitigation.

Software asset management (SAM) is a business practice that has been gaining traction over the past decade. As the procurement and usage of software assets continue to increase, so does the need to manage them properly. Software asset management principles — also known as IT asset management (ITAM) practices — help you manage and optimize the end-to-end software purchase life cycle.

However, not all software can be considered an asset. For instance, an organization's investment in Microsoft Office can be counted under the asset category. At the same time, a free browsing tool, such as Google Chrome, is not an asset. Software assets are tools for which you purchase software licenses, and your software could either be an on-premise solution or a SaaS platform.

An ideal SAM strategy must cover everything from software procurement and license management to software usage and disposal. However, managing SAM with outdated tools like spreadsheets is time-consuming and cumbersome. Software asset management tools help procurement managers implement a SAM strategy in a matter of days. 

This blog will look at what software asset management tools can do and their benefits. 

What is software asset management?

Software asset management is the process of optimizing software inventory, purchase and deployment, compliance monitoring, maintenance and utilization, spend management, and the disposal of software products. SAM aspires to automate and streamline aspects like spend optimization, license renewals, and mitigation of legal, financial, and compliance risks associated with on-premise and SaaS stack management.  

What can software asset management tools do?

Software asset management tools: two people at their own desks working

Software asset management tools can improve IT and end-user efficiencies while streamlining spend management and identifying cost-saving opportunities. They help in asset discovery, asset tracking, software license management, software vendors, and compliance management throughout the asset life cycle. 

SAM tools provide actionable insights that improve purchasing decisions and help spot better negotiation opportunities. With an ideal SAM tool, businesses can reduce instances where they overspend or under-license software assets. These solutions help you conduct software audits, which in turn help you understand software usage trends and extract more value from available apps. 

What are the benefits of software asset management tools?

Unlike other enterprise asset management software, which focuses primarily on hardware assets, software asset management tools focus on streamlining the software asset ecosystem within an organization. SAM solutions, when employed properly, deliver a ton of benefits. Listed below are some of the benefits that businesses can enjoy by deploying them.

1. Increased cost optimization

Businesses can enjoy cost-saving opportunities by optimizing software spending. Businesses often end up overspending on software assets when they have no idea where they spend their money or what software they already own. SAM tools solve this problem with proper asset-tracking practices, commonly referred to as software asset optimization.

To perform software asset optimization, businesses need to perform an asset audit and collect data about:

  • Software owned by the organization
  • Name and information of the software provider
  • Quantity of licenses purchased
  • Renewal date and contract type
  • Stakeholder name and department

Software asset optimization is the process of comparing the existing software need (number of users, applications required) with that of the available licenses and associated license entitlements. This process will identify instances of overspending and highlight underused software licenses helping businesses weed out excess software. 

2. Seamless license management  

Software asset management tools highlight opportunities for improvement and help maintain an effective license position. Ever since self-service procurement came into play, shadow IT has gained free reign. Shadow IT refers to instances where end users purchase and use software without proper approval from the procurement or IT team. 

The democratization of purchasing power and the lower cost of SaaS products make it easy for anyone with a business credit card to purchase a license. As a result, businesses may end up procuring more than one subscription for the same or similar SaaS product and never be the wiser. Effective license positioning can resolve this problem once and for all. 

License positioning is the process of comparing purchased licenses with that of software deployment and usage. An effective SAM solution monitors whether or not users are using their credentials to log in and to utilize the software. It also looks for license compliance issues like two or more users sharing credentials because SaaS companies consider it a breach of their license agreement and may block accounts if this happens.

3. Heightened negotiation power

Team sharing ideas

Equipped with SAM tools, businesses can take their negotiation power up a notch. When businesses know the usage patterns, features used, stakeholders, and other important information about their software stack, they can make informed decisions about future purchases.

SAM tools will keep track of renewal dates and notify stakeholders to negotiate better terms well in advance. For instance, some software service providers may provide an array of time-sensitive discounts like early payment discounts, high-volume purchase discounts, and more. SAM solutions help reduce contractual risks by offering better negotiation power to the buyers.

4. Improved life cycle management

Software asset management tools improve competence and efficiency across all stages of software asset life cycle management. It is also the ideal tool to ensure configuration management, which is all about keeping your on-premise servers, data centers, and SaaS platforms in a consistent and desired state.

SAM tools also come in handy for technical and end-user support. Especially in on-premise scenarios, internal IT teams can run hassle-free ticketing and help desk management processes since they have a clear idea of the end-users system configuration and usage patterns. Troubleshooting becomes much easier when the IT team has all the information they need about the end-user’s machine.

5. Streamlined risk mitigation

When businesses have no idea what software they subscribe to, they pave the way for a ton of risks — ranging from compliance risks to audit risks. Businesses that don't have vendor risk management software in place can use their software asset management tool for risk monitoring and mitigation.

While IT service management (ITSM) focuses primarily on the risks associated with hardware assets like laptops, SAM tools focus on the endpoint security of software assets — both on-premise and cloud SaaS applications. Nowadays, software providers are starting to conduct regular audits to check for non-compliance with license agreements.  

If a business is found to be under-licensed and non-compliant with the software compliance rules of the licensor, they may end up paying a hefty price. A recent Flexera report shows that nearly 24% of respondents paid more than $1 million as a result of violations. SAM tools help mitigate such situations with timely software audits and insightful reports on end-user usage patterns.

Manage all your software assets seamlessly

Most businesses today manage large software stacks and field a ton of help desk requests related to software assets. Having a software asset management solution helps track all software assets and manage software licenses and their associated risks effortlessly. If employed right, it can offer numerous benefits, like cost optimization, risk mitigation, and more. It can also help protect an organization from costly non-compliance fines.

SaaS stacks need a little more care than on-premise solutions and hardware assets due to the battle with shadow IT. You can enjoy a hands-off approach to SaaS stack management by working with Vendr services. Vendr is SaaS buying and renewal management service that tracks software contracts and renewal dates for improved software asset management. 

Vendr helps you buy and renew all of your SaaS and get software licenses at competitive prices without having to negotiate a single deal. Contact Vendr today and see how hassle-free SaaS buying and renewals can be.

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