Mastering the Software Asset Management Process

Let’s dive into the Software Asset Management Process (SAM) world. Now, you might be wondering, what is SAM?

Well, think of it like this: You have a toolbox, and inside it, you have all sorts of tools – a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, etc. Each tool has a specific purpose and helps you accomplish a task more efficiently.

In the same way, an organization uses various software tools to run its operations smoothly. These could be anything from word processors like Microsoft Word to complex database management systems. Now, just like you need to keep your toolbox organized to find the right tool when needed, organizations must manage their software tools effectively. That’s where Software Asset Management (SAM) comes in.

Understanding Software Asset Management Process

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive a bit deeper.

Definition of SAM: Software Asset Management (SAM) is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization. It’s like a librarian who keeps track of all the books in the library and knows which books are borrowed, which are most popular, and when to order new ones.

The role of SAM in IT and business strategy: SAM plays a crucial role in both IT and business strategy. SAM helps manage software licenses, ensure compliance with software usage policies, and prevent software piracy in IT. On the business side, SAM helps control costs by avoiding unnecessary software purchases and ensuring the organization gets the most out of its existing software. It’s like a strategic advisor, helping the organization make smart decisions about software usage and investment.

Critical components of SAM: The SAM process has several key components. Here are a few:

  • Software Inventory: This involves keeping track of all the software assets within the organization. It’s like taking a roll call of all the software tools.
  • License Management: This is about managing the licenses of the software. Each software tool has a license that dictates how and where it can be used. Managing these licenses effectively is a crucial part of SAM.
  • Compliance: This involves ensuring that the organization uses the software in compliance with the license agreements. It’s like making sure you’re following the rules of the game.
  • Lifecycle Management: This is about managing the entire lifecycle of a software asset from its purchase to its disposal. It’s like overseeing the journey of a software tool throughout its life in the organization.

The Software Asset Management Process

Now that we’ve got the basics down let’s dive into the actual process of Software Asset Management (SAM). It’s like a journey; like any journey, it has several steps. Let’s walk through them together.

1. Software Inventory: This is the first step in the SAM process. Imagine you’re in a library full of books but have no idea what books are there. It would be pretty chaotic, right? That’s why the first thing you need to do is take an inventory. In the context of SAM, this means identifying all the software assets in your organization. This includes everything from the operating system on your computers to the apps on your employees’ mobile devices. It’s like making an extensive list of all your software tools in your toolbox.

2. License Management: Once you know what software you have, the next step is to manage the licenses for that software. Each piece of software comes with a license that sets the rules for how that software can be used. Anyone in the organization can use some software, while others might only be licensed for use by a specific department or a certain number of users. Managing these licenses effectively is crucial to avoid legal issues and ensure you get the most out of your software.

3. Cost Management: Software can be expensive, and it’s essential to keep track of how much you’re spending. This includes the upfront cost of purchasing the software and ongoing maintenance and updates costs. By closely monitoring these costs, you can ensure you’re getting good value for your money and avoid overspending on software.

4. Compliance and Risk Management: This is about following the rules. This includes complying with the terms of your software licenses and laws and regulations related to software use. By managing compliance effectively, you can avoid legal problems and protect your organization from risks like software piracy.

5. Software Recycling: Sometimes, you might find that you’re not using a piece of software as much as you thought you would. Instead of letting it gather digital dust, you can recycle it by reallocating it to another organization that can use it better. It’s like passing a book to a friend after reading it.

6. Software Request Control: This is about managing requests for new software. Employees who need a new piece of software can submit a request. This request is then reviewed to make sure it’s necessary and fits within the budget. This helps prevent unnecessary software purchases and keeps your software environment clean and organized.

7. Automation of Onboarding: When new employees join the organization, they’ll need access to specific software tools to do their job. The onboarding process can be automated to ensure new employees get access to the software they need as quickly as possible. This helps the new employee get up to speed faster and reduces the workload for your IT department.

And there you have it! That’s the journey of Software Asset Management. By following these steps, you can ensure that your organization makes the most of its software assets.

Benefits of Effective Software Asset Management

Keeping your house tidy has perks; effective Software Asset Management (SAM) benefits an organization. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Cost savings: You can avoid buying unnecessary software or licenses by keeping track of all the software assets and their usage. It’s like avoiding buying a book you already have in your collection.
  • Risk reduction: With SAM, you can ensure that all software use complies with licensing agreements, which helps avoid legal issues. It’s like following the rules of a game to avoid penalties.
  • Enhanced productivity: When software assets are well-managed, employees can find and use the tools they need more easily, which boosts productivity. It’s like having a well-organized toolbox where you can quickly find the tool you need.
  • Improved software compliance: SAM helps ensure that all software use is in line with licensing agreements, which can prevent legal issues and fines. It’s like making sure you’re following the rules when you’re playing a game.
  • Efficient resource allocation: By understanding what software is being used and where you can ensure that resources are being used efficiently. It’s like ensuring every book in a library is being read, and none are just gathering dust.

Challenges in Implementing Software Asset Management

Now, implementing SAM isn’t always a walk in the park. There can be some bumps along the way. Here are some common challenges:

  • Understanding the complexity of software licenses: Software licenses can be complex and hard to understand. It’s like trying to understand the rules of a complicated game.
  • Keeping up with changes: Software is always changing. New versions are released, old versions are retired, and keeping up with them all can be challenging.
  • Getting everyone on board: SAM isn’t just an IT issue; it’s an organization-wide initiative. Getting everyone in the organization to understand and support SAM can be challenging.

But don’t worry; these challenges can be overcome with the right strategies, like providing training on software licenses, using SAM tools to keep track of changes, and promoting the benefits of SAM across the organization.

Case Study: Successful Software Asset Management Implementation

Let’s look at a real-life example. Company X, a large multinational corporation, was struggling with managing their software assets. They faced high software costs, legal risks due to non-compliance with software licenses, and low productivity due to inefficient software usage.

They decided to implement a SAM program. They started by taking a comprehensive inventory of all their software assets. They then implemented a license management system to keep track of all their software licenses. They also provided training to their employees on the importance of software compliance.

The result? They reduced their software costs by 30%, eliminated legal risks, and increased productivity by ensuring all employees had access to the software tools they needed.

Future of Software Asset Management

The world of SAM is always evolving. SAM is becoming more automated and efficient with technological advancements, like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. For example, AI can automatically keep track of software assets and their usage, making the SAM process faster and more accurate.

Checklist for implementing a Software Asset Management (SAM) process:

1. Define Your Goals:

  • Why? Having clear goals will guide your SAM implementation process. It helps you understand what you want: cost savings, risk reduction, or improved efficiency.

2. Assemble a SAM Team:

  • Why? A dedicated team will drive the SAM process. This team should include IT, procurement, legal, and business unit representatives. They will bring diverse perspectives and ensure all aspects of SAM are covered.

3. Conduct a Software Inventory:

  • Why? This is the foundation of your SAM process. You need to know your software, where it’s installed, and how it’s being used. This helps you avoid waste and ensures you’re compliant with software licenses.

4. Implement a License Management System:

  • Why? Managing software licenses is a key part of SAM. A license management system will help you track your licenses, ensure compliance, and avoid over or under-purchasing.

5. Establish a Software Request Process:

  • Why? This process will control how new software is requested, approved, and deployed. It helps prevent unnecessary software purchases and ensures new software is managed correctly.

6. Develop a Software Recycling Strategy:

  • Why? Software recycling involves reusing or reallocating software no longer needed in one business area. This can help you maximize the value of your software assets and avoid unnecessary purchases.

7. Regularly Review and Optimize Your SAM Process:

  • Why? SAM is not a one-time project but an ongoing process. Regular reviews will help you identify areas for improvement, adapt to changes in your software environment, and ensure your SAM process continues to deliver value.

8. Train and Educate Your Staff:

  • Why? Everyone in your organization plays a role in SAM. Training and education will help your staff understand the importance of SAM, their role in the process, and how they can contribute to its success.

9. Automate Where Possible:

  • Why? Automation can make your SAM process more efficient and accurate. This could involve using SAM tools to automate software inventory, license management, and compliance monitoring.

10. Measure and Report on Your Success:

  • Why? Measurement and reporting will help you demonstrate the value of your SAM process, justify its costs, and identify areas for improvement. Key metrics might include cost savings, compliance rates, and software utilization.

Remember, implementing a SAM process is a journey, not a destination. It requires ongoing effort, but the benefits – cost savings, risk reduction, and improved efficiency – make it well worth it.


So there you have it! Software Asset Management is a crucial part of any organization’s IT strategy. It can help save costs, reduce risks, and increase productivity. But like any journey, it can have its challenges.

However, these challenges can be overcome with the right strategies and tools. So, whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, it’s time to start your SAM journey!


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson possesses 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. Having worked at Oracle for 9 years, he gained an additional 11 years of expertise in Oracle license consulting projects. Fredrik has provided assistance to over 150 organizations worldwide, ranging in size and tackling various Oracle licensing challenges, including Licensing Assessments, Oracle audits, Oracle ULAs, and more.