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How does a SAM (Software Asset Management) Managed Service Provider add value?


Some organizations choose a SAM Partner as a short-term fix whilst they build out the capabilities of their team or technologies; some choose to work with a SAM Partner as a long-term solution to allow their team to focus on more strategic ITAM/SAM initiatives.

Regardless of the initial driver, the function of SAM is not to deliver one-off projects, but to deliver a repeatable long-term process to manage the entire lifecycle of software and cloud contracts. Unless you have one hand on the rudder, your organization is not only susceptible to audits but at risk of damaging overspend and waste.

The challenges of rapid business transformation and the effect that has on the rate of IT change (business change, move to cloud, management of multiple environments, diverse usage scenarios and more complex software licensing metrics) has placed an even greater pressure on the capabilities of the most competent and knowledgeable in-house SAM teams. Combined with an increase in skill shortages for SAM (Great Resignation), the role of a specialist SAM Partner will become paramount in plugging resource gaps.

Gartner® understands the importance of the Software Asset Management function and, as such, has continued to provide ongoing analysis of 11 providers of these services for the last 3 years in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Services. You can download your complimentary copy of the 2022 report from our dedicated Gartner page.

There are four critical factors to consider within your SAM function and engaging with a SAM Partner can often be the most cost-effective way to ensure you have these covered.


Expertise & Knowledge

Organizations engage with SAM service providers to bolster the skills and expertise shortfalls that are available to them in house. The management of many high value software publishers requires specialist resources and keeping inhouse expertise up to date across all vendors is challenging and impractical as these skills may only be called upon once or twice in a 3-year period. Your SAM Partner will have this expertise across their team and in addition, their skills are being utilized constantly through-out the year: your organization will benefit from their experience working with similar organizations, so will understand all the nuances and the pitfalls a particular vendor presents.

By relying on third party expertise for the data collection, cleansing and analysis elements of SAM, your team can focus on the strategic business and IT projects. SAM Service Providers have the knowledge and experience of tooling and will help you realize the true business value from your investments in SAM/ITAM, cloud management /reporting ad ITSM system integrations (e.g., ServiceNow). They will utilize all the data sources, consolidate and normalize and turn the data into information for effective management. Read more about that in our article SAM Tools: Experience from the frontline


Benchmarking and the Independent Perspective

Many ITAM providers also resell software, hardware, and cloud licenses. This means they may be heavily influenced – not to mention, financially incentivized – by vendors to sell as many licenses as possible, particularly for priority services, such as those that are based in the cloud or offered as-a-Service. This could mean that the same company that you have employed to right-size your estate, eliminate overspend and ensure you are only investing in the solutions that you really need, could also be incentivized to sell you as much as possible, and push services that might not be the best fit for your organization.

Independence is a key factor to ensure your SAM Partner is acting in your best interests, if they are not selling licencing or tooling there is no conflict of interest from a vendor revenue perspective

Independence will ensure they are objective in matters concerning internal politics and can give realistic advice and wider benchmarking that is required for optimal negotiations. For an optimized SAM/ITAM strategy, independence matters.


Operational Cost Savings

A SAM Partner offers a scalable source of expertise and skills, available when they are required but, not draining finances when they are not. This encompasses all people, process, and technology requirements to deliver optimization, vendor management, renewals management, commercial and contractual negotiation, audits and reporting.


Faster ROI – Software and Cloud Expenditure

Bringing in an expert partner to focus on up front optimization allows your internal team to focus on the BAU (Business as Usual) SAM activities with the additional clear guidance around changes that can be made to reduce risk and IT spend. A good managed service from a provider can become self-funded through the savings realised ensuring good governance and effective lifecycle management.


As a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Managed Services , Livingstone Group supports organizations like British Telecom. Their Director of IT Partnership’s said “Livingstone was able to simultaneously process very complex, and vast amounts of data whilst also supplying deep expertise, including daily C-level engagement, to support my team and the wider BT team in what was a key project for us”


To find out how we can support your business strategies you can contact us or email


About the Author

Kate Hawgood, Head of Marketing

I am currently the Head of Marketing at Livingstone Group and have over 17 years’ experience in technology Sales and Marketing roles spanning global markets.

I have extensive Business Development experience having managed and trained teams to bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing.  I have successfully defined and and delivered marketing content and campaign strategies for multiple tech start-ups and supported Sales and Business Development teams to maximize opportunities through delivering relevant and timely content.  I have a high level of expertise in CRM implementation and Management particularly HubSpot.



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