Is cloud going to kill the necessity for Software Asset Management?
Well, cloud computing is definitely going to change the playfield for Software Asset Management (SAM). But instead of killing the necessity it rather provides more opportunities. Software Asset Management is all about the interaction between technology, policies and humans. This interaction stays the same, despite the fact that with cloud computing you use a different platform and a different method of payment.
In the old days – or even in a lot of organizations today – licenses needs to be managed. New software is installed, old software is retired. Technology or vendors are added and people join and leave companies. To keep track of all the changes and managing them in a compliant and clever way isn’t easy and typically part of SAM.
When companies, NGO’s, governmental bodies and other organizations start to use cloud computing they still face the same challenges. New cloud computing possibilities are added, others will retire. And still people will join and leave organizations. All of this means that the number of subscriptions change. In the on premise world changes were mostly per quarter or per year. With cloud the subscriptions, and with that the changes, are almost always monthly. So this means that the pressure on the SAM team will even increase when organizations embrace the cloud. Not to mention all the cloud subscriptions that don not run through IT but are set up by business group leaders or individual professionals. And they do not use their own credit card, there will be an invoice with the company name on it. This makes it a direct responsibility of the organization whilst this same organization doesn’t even know about the existence of the subscription. More pressure on the SAM team or SAM supplier …
Still about software
Whether it is an on premise solution or the technology runs on a datacenter platform, it still is software. Software which must be taken into production, maintained, optimized and retired. The software lifecycle, as a part of SAM, will not change due to cloud computing. Even think about what I wrote above, all the ‘shadow IT’ subscriptions (yes, I know, this doesn’t exist in your organization but only at others ….) is software which is in use without IT knowing about it.
Besides that, a lot of organizations have legacy applications which runs locally on old operating systems. The combination of on premise solutions and modern, fast growing cloud technologies makes it hard to manage the software lifecycle as a part of SAM.
You need policies
All that counts for on premise software regarding policies applies also to cloud computing. Organizations need policies to manage what people are allowed or are not allowed to do. In written policies but in technologically enforcements also. This last part can be hard to perform with cloud computing because IT does not always have the proper rights on the cloud environment to setup these enforcements. When you are talking about Active Directory rights, groups and policies there is not much different when using an on premise AD or Azure (cloud) AD. But looking at cloud business applications or cloud branch applications from third party suppliers it is another story. Policies are part of SAM and we can conclude that on this part cloud is not going to make the life of the SAM supplier any easier.
Don’t forget about the SMB
Traditionally the IT environment of an Small and Midsized Businesses were pretty simple and not a whole lot of Software Asset Management was needed. But cloud computing gave the SMBs the possibilities to grow fast and efficiently, spreading around the world. SMBs are the type of organizations to adopt cloud technology the fastest because they don’t have complex IT do deal with. Adding all this new cloud possibilities makes that SMBs can’t do without IT anymore. And with that, they definitely have a need for Software Asset Management. Only a lot of SMB (type like organizations) do not have the sense that they actually need SAM because they never needed it in the past. They do not realize the organizational and financial risk they are facing when they do not properly manage their software and subscriptions. SAM in a BOX, a Quexcel service especially for SMBs can help them get things in order and reduce any risk they are at.
Is cloud killing SAM?
Well, reading back what is written above I think that the need for proper knowledge based SAM must increase rather than decrease when organizations use cloud computing. Might you have other thoughts or just want to share your insights or experiences, please feel happy to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always open for discussion and help.
Peter van Uden
Quexcel, The Power of Knowledge
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