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IT Departments Should Take Strategic Approach to Software Asset Management Governance

April 29, 2016

IT and software governance are an important but often overlooked component of most IT departments. In the mad race to keep abreast of changing technologies, increased network demands and a flurry of revolving applications and services, software governance is typically not ranked high on the priority list for overworked IT departments.

And yet implementing a comprehensive Software Asset Management (SAM) governance program can be a huge benefit for any organization, helping IT departments realize cost savings and efficiencies while also staying on top of software management, licensing and compliance. To successfully achieve this, companies must follow some key processes and procedures to ensure their SAM program is working to achieve core business objectives and give IT departments maximum benefits and value.

A recent blog post from Flexera outlines the main steps IT departments should follow to properly implement SAM governance programs. Since procedures and processes tend to have deep rooted dependencies among themselves, it’s important for organizations to look at the big picture when it comes to governance.

The first step is to examine software discovery, inventory, identification and normalization. This process takes into account which applications an organization has installed, where they reside and who is responsible for them. After this is accomplished, application rationalization and consolidation may begin. This step includes evaluating which applications are truly needed and being used, looking at versions and editions of software for potential redundancies and consolidating apps to ensure they are being used as efficiently as possible.

IT departments should also examine packaging and installation for all software, evaluating how apps are packaged, maintained, upgraded, modified and distributed. They should also take a look at the process for software installation requests to ensure users are being matched to the appropriate software. They may then begin the process of “harvesting,” which includes defining usage, allocating or re-allocating licenses, and reusing applications and licenses when appropriate.

Mobile applications can present an additional challenge, and administrators need to take a broad look at what is in use, by whom, and how licenses and usage are being managed on the mobile front.  They should also take a look at cloud infrastructure services as well as SaaS (News - Alert) applications from the same perspective. Finally, security should be examined throughout the entire IT landscape in an effort to reduce the amount of unlicensed or unauthorized software that may be present as well as to pinpoint areas of vulnerability.

By following the above guidelines, organizations can take a holistic approach to SAM governance with minimal disruption to operations along with minimum financial liability. By maintaining an organized and strategic plan to tackle governance, IT departments can realize a host of benefits and value in the long run.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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