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ITAM market on the move: What this may mean for future tools and services

The ITAM and SAM landscape has changed significantly in recent times. The acquisitions of LeanIX by SAP and most recently Snow Software by Flexera mark a turning point in our industry. They not only raise positive expectations but also raise important questions for customers about the challenges and opportunities of the future. This blog is aimed at IT professionals responsible for managing software licenses, SaaS, and cloud costs and who use a SAM solution.

The ITAM and SAM market is in a state of flux

Established SAM providers are disappearing or being taken over, with new, specialist tool providers conquering the market. This also leads to increased uncertainty among many users, especially if there are doubts about the future of the SAM tool they are using or whether the solution will no longer meet the higher requirements.

Especially in the case of company mergers, the convergence of different technologies and solutions inevitably entails a certain degree of complexity and various challenges: several solutions or different platforms must be maintained and supported, customer support and services must be coordinated and smoothly guaranteed, or price lists must be adjusted.

In short, a merger-related migration involves considerable effort and potential price increases, and the exact configuration of the product portfolio and future development remain uncertain.

On the other hand, software asset management has become an integral part of current IT management practice. The volumes of data processed are too large to sustainably manage software usage and the associated costs. Accordingly, return on investment (ROI) expectations are high. Practical examples such, as the Forrester study, regularly show significant cost savings and success after just three months.

However, such results are not a guaranteed success, because according to Gartner, only 23% of SAM investments meet expectations. A good ROI is possible but does not happen overnight and depends on proper implementation and other important factors.

Sometimes anticipated outcomes may fall short. Changes in underlying conditions, such as a partner facing financial challenges, the departure of reliable customer representatives, or unresolved support queries, can contribute to unexpected situations.

Recognize warning signals early and act fast

If you are getting frustrated and are no longer satisfied with the performance of your SAM tool, you should take a closer look at these five factors in particular

  • Functional scope does not meet actual requirements
  • Insufficient quality of delivered data
  • Potential of the SAM tool is not fully utilized
  • Mismatch in data sovereignty requirements
  • Stagnating SAM tool and uncertain future

The functional scope does not meet the requirements

Once the technical implementation is concluded and the tool begins to collect and normalize software license data and apply license rules, an important step has been taken. SAM tool manufacturers usually make a major contribution but rely on receiving clear instructions from the customer as to which specific and/or technical adjustments are needed. Such adjustments are crucial to the success of the implementation and future use of the tool. If, despite correct tool configuration, the scope of functions or performance of the tool does not meet your requirements, you should carefully consider whether better results might be achieved with alternative solutions and draw the appropriate conclusions.

Delivered data quality (e.g., for qualified compliance) is insufficient

The success of the tool largely depends on two things: firstly, whether a professional configuration and the possibility of adapting to individual customer situations and processes is ensured, and, secondly, whether the quality of the supplied data is enough to correctly determine actual license requirements. Constantly new or changing license models mean that the configuration of the tool and its data requirements must also be continuously monitored and adapted. As the data in the SAM tool’s supplier systems is often subject to continuous change, quality assurance is a Sisyphean task. Mastering it requires a stable tool and SAM experts who are very well versed in the details.

The potential of the SAM tool is not fully utilized

Firstly, the SAM solution is only as good as the (normalized) data it is given. Secondly, success depends on whether the data obtained and processed with the tool can also be applied, for example to correctly mapping compliance situations, determining license requirements or sustainably optimizing the software inventory. To this end, however, the tool needs to fully cover the license models and usage rights of the targeted software products. This usually requires fine-tuning or customization of the tool configuration, as simple tools quickly reach their limits with SaaS and the Cloud. Professional SAM solutions use experienced SAM consultants and customized services to maximize the benefits of the tool.

The SAM tool does not meet data sovereignty requirements

Data sovereignty ensures that data remains secure both in transit and when idle. The most important aspects of data sovereignty include data security, cyber security, data protection and the protection of sensitive data. When selecting a SAM tool, you can indirectly influence the security of your data by taking a closer look beforehand at the tool provider’s infrastructure. Some regions, such as the EU, have made data protection a high priority through the corresponding GDPR requirements, while the US takes a case-by-case approach without across-the-board regulations.

A stagnating SAM tool or uncertain future

If there are no new developments, i.e., the provider no longer provides tool updates and other improvements or the technology catalog is not updated with the latest software products, the benefits of the SAM tool will gradually diminish. If you can look after the catalog yourself, you don’t necessarily have to change your tool. With SaaS and the Cloud, however, this will be almost impossible to manage with an outdated tool and will increase the pressure to look for alternatives sooner or later.

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Summary

Questioning a decision is never easy. Choosing a new SAM solution involves additional effort and cost, especially if you have already invested in your current tool. However, given the current upheaval in the SAM market, it can make a lot of sense to consult experts for optimization. A thorough analysis of your needs is crucial to revitalize the existing tool or guide the choice of a new SAM provider.

So, take your time - you should only change your SAM tool if the decision is easy or there is no alternative. If it isn’t possible to stick with the existing tool, you should check what alternatives exist on the market based on your requirements.

 

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