I never envy that division of the marketing fraternity whose job it is to sex up the technology infrastructure layer. As much as storage, networking, configuration management and (today’s chosen subject) software asset management (SAM) are fundamentally important to the daily workings of your average IT mega-structure, they’ll never be quite as easy to get excited about as more front end services.
Nevertheless, buy it, install it, deploy it, forget it – is the attitude of many a feckless IT manager. As for ongoing tracking and management those assets, all too often it’s a case of ‘no thanks – I’m off to the pub’. SAM vendors are of course keen to popularise the oft-touted fact that more than two-thirds of organisations have a discrepancy of up to 30 per cent between expected and actual inventories.
This devil may care approach is not without related factors that can lead to further problems. If you don’t know how much IT ‘stuff’ you have, how can you budget and plan? How can you help the business function eliminate waste and control costs? What about security and corporate governance, how do you lay down those ground rules? Simply put, umm, you can’t really. Well if you do, it’s a reckless methodology.
SAM vendors will tell you that it’s not as hard as it looks and that discovery and license management are comparatively straightforward. “Many businesses still view SAM as a hindrance that is confusing and time-consuming, rather than as a project that is easy to deploy and can bring many rewards. Taken together, discovery and license compliance form the basis of successful SAM best practises, providing a rapid return and a less complex implementation than deployment or patch management,” said Matt Fisher, VP of marketing for Centennial Software.
So should we sex up SAM? Perhaps that’s going too far. But should IT managers think about the volume license discounts, accurate asset depreciation, the importance of corporate governance and everything else they ‘might’ be missing out on? I’ll go with an enthusiastic definitely maybe.