SAM tools are an essential building block of an automated approach to SAM. Multiple combinations of tools are possible, including free tools from publishers, tools already existing within your information systems, and tools dedicated to Software Asset Management. Tools allow you to have exhaustive, standardized data, and some tools enable you to process this data to optimize your compliance.
To each organization its Software Asset Management tool
Is it necessary to buy a Software Asset Management tool? If so, how do you choose the one best suited to your needs? How can you use tools that are already in place, such as SCCM, Landesk, and Altiris? According to the white paper “Software Asset & Cloud Management: from software asset management to service optimization” co-written by Cigref and Elée, 52% of large companies surveyed have adopted a commercial SAM solution, and 94% of them use at least one discovery or inventory tool.
SAM tools have quickly established themselves among CIOs who wish to improve their software asset management. This has been accelerated by the growing maturity of software asset managers, combined with the considerable progress made by SAM tool vendors such as Snow Software, Flexera, Aspera and ServiceNow.
It is important to pay close attention to your specific needs when choosing Software Asset Management tools. A suitable tool, combined with a service to integrate and manage it, will bring you great added value, both financially and in terms of controlling your IT assets.
Elée’s role is to help you make an informed choice, both technically and financially, and to support you in harnessing the full potential of your software and cloud asset management tools.
The main issues related to Software Asset Management tools
Discovery and inventory
Collecting quality data is the first building block of well-managed Software Asset Management. What tools should you use to report exhaustive data and metrics and calculate compliance? What free tools can you use? Should you choose a technology with or without an agent? How can you take advantage of the tools already in place, such as SCCM?
Choose a Software Asset Management solution
The success of a tooling project relies mainly on the SAM expertise of the teams who use it. However, certain software solutions are better suited to a particular technical context than others.
How to properly prepare your specifications? On what criteria should solutions be evaluated? What should the budget be, and what are the hidden costs to be expected?
Free tools and publisher tools
Some free tools or tools provided by publishers, if properly configured and used, allow you to collect reliable data at a lower cost. What are these tools? How can you successfully configure and use them in a Software Asset Management process?
The integration of a Software Asset Management solution is not a technical project; it is a project that requires strong expertise in licensing and contracts in order to obtain reliable analyses. What are the pitfalls to avoid? How to check that the tool will give usable and defensible results in the event of an audit?
Exploit the potential of your SAM solution
Too many organizations underestimate the work required to use and maintain a SAM tool and say they are disappointed with their purchase. Most have not equipped themselves with the resources to fully exploit their solution.
Advice and expertise on Software Asset Management tools
Elée offers consulting and expertise in selecting, integrating and using Software Asset Management tools.
Discovery and tooling strategy - Choice of data collection tools
Without comprehensive data that meets the requirements imposed by metrics, it is impossible to assess the financial risks. Collecting this information can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if the organization is poorly equipped or decentralized.
Elée helps you develop tailor-made tools for your Software Asset Management:
- Publisher tools: Tools such as SCCM, ILMT / Bigfix, and USMM SAP are provided by publishers. These tools allow you to collect and work on your data as part of a Software Asset Management process.
- Free tools, scripts and requests: Tools such as MAP Toolkit or RV Tools are free agentless tools allowing you to request quality data on your infrastructure and deployments, without needing an agent. Scripts can also be used, as Oracle does during license audits. Elée can advise you on these free tools and the scripts to use to obtain data that is reliable and defensible in the event of an audit by the publisher.
- Software Asset Management, ITSM and antivirus tool agents: If you already have agents on your workstations and servers, these are a reliable data source to inventory your usage and deployments as well as the underlying infrastructure. Software Asset Management tool agents (Snow Software, Flexera, Service Now, etc.) are designed to report the data necessary for compliance calculations. ITSM and CMDB tool agents sometimes report insufficiently precise data, which will have to be supplemented or cross-checked with other sources.
Please note that some data cannot be collected automatically by tools: for example, the number of users of an application, or data linked to certain metrics such as turnover or number of visitors to a merchant site. In this case, we can put other processes in place.
Examples of deliverables:
- Analysis and diagnosis of your existing tools
- Development of a tooling strategy for Software Asset Management
Support for the selection of a Software Asset Management tool
From the start of the selection process, we provide our clients with a methodological framework and simple tools (maturity diagnosis, market studies, feedback, business case, etc.) to assess the functional needs and the potential ROI of a dedicated solution.
Once the project has been validated, we support SAM managers and technical teams in drafting technical and functional specifications and preparing for consultations with publishers.
Each Software and Cloud Asset Management solution has its functional and technical strengths and limitations, which evolve over time. Elée helps you make the best choice according to your usage and your environment. For example, we consider use cases of the tool, maximum compatibility with your on-premise and Cloud infrastructures, and coverage of your software products by the solution’s signature catalog.
Examples of deliverables:
- Benchmark and market study of Software Asset Management solutions
- Business case and ROI study
- Drafting of technical and functional specifications
- Drafting of specifications and management of the process for selecting a tool
Proof of Concept (PoC) of a SAM tool
SAM tool publishers offer free or paid PoCs. These give you an overview of how the solutions work. However, it may be wise to be accompanied by Elée experts during this phase. Our team has developed a specific methodology for PoCs to assess the suitability of solutions for real-world customer needs.
Publishers will offer you to test standard use cases and publishers where they have special expertise, all in SaaS mode, thus avoiding integration issues.
The challenge is to ensure the PoC focuses on your real constraints, which will determine the success of the project. The PoC must demonstrate that the SAM tool can deal with the following:
- Technical compatibility with your environment (Linux servers, old versions of OS, data sources, etc.)
- Complex functional use cases to be identified upstream
- Native coverage of your high-stakes publishers
Support for the integration of a Software Asset Management tool
Once the solution has been selected, our project management teams can carry out the implementation alongside the client and publisher teams:
- Solution configuration, development of connectors or APIs
- On boarding editor (Sprint Elée): loading discovery data, contracts, rules
- Go live
- Theoretical training from the publisher combined with practical training on your own environment
Integrating a Software Asset Management solution is not a purely technical project. The analysis of data sources, configuration of licensing rules, entry of contracts, and the verification of calculations and reported results, must be carried out by experts in licenses and contracts. Choosing an integrator who is not an expert in Software Asset Management is one of the causes of failure of a SAM tooling project.
Support for the use of your Software Asset Management tool or Managed Service
Software license management tools are very powerful, especially for large organizations that want to include a large volume of devices and publishers. But all Software Asset Management tools require strong expertise to operate and to generate the desired reports.
Many SAM tooling projects fail due to the lack of resources or expertise of client teams who are unable to maintain and operate the tool to provide results that are reliable and enforceable against software vendors. SAM tool providers are not in the business of providing a long-term service, and consulting companies specializing in Software Asset Management are increasingly called upon to rescue and revitalize unsuccessful tooling projects.
Our conviction is that the future of SAM tooling and software license management lies in a managed service, combining internal skills, a tool and an expert SAM consulting partner.
Many large organizations have already understood this and are launching consultations for SAM managed services or SAM tool services, bringing together a commercial SAM tool and a specialized consulting company that will implement and operate the solution through a multi-year contract. For smaller organizations, this support can be provided in a flexible manner with a consultant working full-time or part-time.
Boost the performance of your Software Asset Management solution with Sambox.io
Software license management tools include powerful metrics engines which make it possible to calculate compliance positions across a wide range of products.
However, for products with complex metrics (SQL Server, Windows Server, Oracle DB, etc.), generic metrics engines are overwhelmed, and there is a strong need to improve the calculations.
To strengthen the SAM tools on the market, Elée has developed connectors between its Sambox.io license optimization tool and the main SAM solutions on the market (Snow Software, Flexera Software, Aspera, ServiceNow, etc.). The data from your SAM tool is thus automatically exported, processed in Sambox.io and reimported with an optimal allocation of licenses.
With products like SQL Server or Windows Server, the optimizations are substantial: Sambox.io can reduce the licenses required to cover your portfolio by up to 90%.
”We rely on their sharp expertise...because they always successfully deliver a set of consistent, clean and actionable data for internal compliance assessment”