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What You Need to Know About Software Asset Management in the Era of SaaS

SaaS offers cost-savings but complicates software asset management.

For software as a service (SaaS) applications, the purpose of an effective software asset management (SAM) strategy is less about compliance than with bring you own device (BYOD) or even traditional application access. “The number of licenses purchased regulates the access to an application,” says Jesse Frye, director of product marketing for LANDesk. “Providers aren’t concerned about auditing.”

Many challenges surround licensing, productivity and management costs. A robust SAM solution can assist with the following key issues associated with the ever-growing appetite for SaaS.

Enabling reclamation: “It’s common for businesses to purchase 200 licenses for a particular SaaS application, but only 50 people use it,” Frye says. “You can only negotiate a more favorable contract when your organization’s actual needs are known.”

A SaaS-aware SAM tool can help businesses figure out a best-practices approach. Once a SaaS application is added to a SAM solution’s inventory database, the SAM tool can track which users access the application, when and for how long.

Reducing underutilization: Because the purpose of adopting any application is to improve productivity, driving utilization is critical, Frye points out. “One organization that implemented LANDesk Management Suite discovered only 2 percent of its Microsoft Office 365 licenses were in use,” he says.

“They realized they needed to provide better training and change management to improve adoption in order to achieve the original efficiency and productivity goals for the Office 365 implementation.”

Controlling SaaS sprawl: Because any individual or department can purchase a SaaS license, many organizations are experiencing an expansion in the flavors of SaaS tools in use by their employees. Often when a user has a tech support issue with an application, they contact their organization’s help desk. Soon, the cost of supporting disparate apps may add up.

By using a SAM solution, IT departments can review SaaS tools adopted across the organization, discover where application standardization makes sense and put proper controls in place. In this way, SAM reporting tools can help IT departments become proactive in minimizing SaaS application sprawl.

Once a SAM solution is installed, it’s wise to review asset management processes every 12 to 24 months. This helps to ensure timely adjustments get made to keep software systems tightly aligned with organizational needs and goals.

Download our free white paper Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets here.

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Dec 26 2012 Spice IT

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