Is SAM more aligned to Finance or IT?
Software Asset Management (SAM) is a business practice that involves managing and optimising the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilisation and disposal of software applications within an organisation. To efficiently run SAM, support and interaction are required from a number of areas within the business:
- Operations/IT need to provide data from discovery tools/Active Directory/Anti-Virus/SCCM etc.;
- Operations/IT need to support, maintain and run any SAM tools and databases;
- Commercial/Finance need to supply Purchase Order and Contract information;
- Commercial/Finance will be the interface for software audits.
Although these stakeholders are responsible and accountable for the information required, it must be decided who will ultimately own the service line, govern it and create the policies.
The majority of the information that feeds SAM comes from tools that are managed by IT. Also, as well as SAM relying on hardware information, it can provide analysed data and reports back to IT to support refresh, maintenance, decommissioning, leasing, end of life and data quality etc. With this in mind it could be considered that SAM is more aligned to IT as that is where the data comes from and they also benefit from the analysis.
However, SAM is about software – including licensing, compliance and audits. If a piece of hardware is operating how it should but is not licensed correctly, it is not IT that will bear the financial burden. Consequently, it would make sense that the ownership of SAM sits with Finance.
SAM must be policed. Policies need to be written and adhered to by all stakeholders. There is significant service compliance and governance involved due to its cross functional nature. If there is a Service Integration and Management (SIAM) function in place at the company, its aim is to seamlessly integrate interdependent services from various internal and external service providers into an end-to-end service, in order to meet business requirements. SIAM should therefore police SAM however Finance would still be ultimately accountable.
To conclude, it is generally understood that SAM should be aligned to Finance due to the implications of the software finances. However, they cannot manage this alone and will need IT and other areas to be responsible and accountable for the data they provide and policies they must adhere to. A governing board will ensure this.
For any further help or advice around SAM, please contact ITAMS.
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