Businesses that operate in multiple countries or that have disparate systems or departments face major organisational challenges. Duplication, misalignment and confusion is common. Many businesses operate with multiple silos within the business, whether structurally or culturally, the IT department is no exception.
For larger organisations, the IT departments are usually quite diverse due to a range of IT requirements. Specialist IT staff are used to manage the different parts of the infrastructure, from service management, end user computing to the datacentre. They might even go further and have dedicated individuals or teams for different platforms and applications.
Additionally, there are other teams outside of the IT department who are tasked with ensuring that the organisation doesn’t over-spend on software licenses or put itself at risk of compliance fines. These teams commonly include individuals from procurement, finance, governance and even HR. Overall, that’s a lot of people, all supported by some kind of system. For example, a financial system for the finance and procurement team, a help desk solution for the service management professionals, and possibly an IT asset management solution for the team charged with end user computing support.
In reality, there will be far more systems, all of which are decentralised and most probably do not share a common dataset. Therefore, the individuals responsible for managing different aspects of the Software Asset Management (SAM) function are all using different tools, looking at different data and working mostly in isolation.
Decentralised management for SAM presents specific problems around budgeting, financial issues, lost efficiencies and more exposure to risk. These are not insignificant problems and should be addressed as a high priority due to the impact on business as a whole. If one department is found at fault, the whole business is found at fault. But maintaining a centralised and controlled software environment despite company silos for some organisations is an impossible challenge.
Businesses need to increase flexibility, allowing for a mixture of closed, controlled environments and a more free-flowing model. This flexibility enables organisations, but they also need to identify key stakeholders, SAM champions and find a way to gather data despite silos.
Key stakeholders are employees who have been tasked with looking after licenses for certain vendors or departments. They are best identified for SAM functions because they understand all previously related processes and organisations will benefit from their expertise. SAM champions, on the other hand, are stakeholders assigned as key contacts for specific software vendors.
For some organisations, the only option is to accept a decentralised SAM function. However, if your organisation is managing software licenses from a central management solution, then having a decentralised SAM function does not mean you are not in control. All SAM users will be looking at the same data, and managing licenses from the same source. Overall, this is beneficial as it allows different SAM professionals in different regions to focus on data relevant to them – whilst using the same license and data sources as the rest of their SAM colleagues.
Su Kent, Marketing & Communications Manager, Snow Software
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