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How to justify your SAM tool investment to your CIO


It is undeniable that SAM tools have become an important part of best practice IT asset management. Offering much-needed visibility into software and cloud deployments together with usage levels and entitlement, these tools enable organizations to optimize their IT estates and control their spend. Indeed, with organizations’ estates becoming ever more complex – with the increased adoption of cloud-based services and a growing reliance on virtualized environments – there is a case to argue that these tools are now a necessity.

It is little surprise therefore that specialist tool vendors such as Snow Software and Flexera are experiencing healthy growth, while demand for rival solutions from the all-encompassing ServiceNow is also on the rise. However, feedback from our customers often reveals that they do not always see the desired results from their investments in these tools.

Under no circumstances would I advise against deploying SAM tools – quite the opposite, I would actively encourage businesses to investigate the options – however, it is important to properly understand both their capabilities and their limitations.

ITAM professionals are often sold the dream by sales people yet subsequently find that the tool does not fully deliver on their promises. This can lead to some difficult conversations when the CIO asks the ITAM team to justify what can be a significant investment.

Specialist knowledge is essential to maximize a tool’s full potential, and to help you find the right answers to the tough questions posed by your CIO.


You have deployed a SAM tool; then what?

Many organizations fall into the trap of believing that, once they have purchased and installed a tool, they have fulfilled their ITAM strategy. In reality, this is just the beginning of the journey. Whichever SAM tool you chose, it will require careful and continual management throughout its deployment.

This misconception is partly because tool vendors make their best margins when selling their technology; a service wrap is neither a big money maker or area of focus. Training is provided to help businesses install and configure the tool, but only up to a certain point. This support will never, for example, provide organizations with intelligence on how all their various software and cloud providers structure and enforce their licensing programs. Yet, without this level of insight, the data derived from a SAM tool will have little context and limited value.

This is when it becomes important to enlist the help of external experts who can provide advice on how to configure and deploy the tool, as well as offer a range of managed services that ensure it is always generating an accurate picture of your deployments, usage, entitlement and compliance.


Ensure your tool is ‘audit-ready’ 

Deploying a tool may make a business feel as if it is in a strong position to defend an audit, but – if it is misconfigured or under-utilized – the organization will still find itself in a position of weakness when a vendor comes knocking.

A huge advantage of enlisting a managed service provider is that – as well as helping you extract maximum value from your SAM tool – it can also steer you through the entire audit process. In addition to ensuring you have irrefutable proof of what software and services you have deployed and are licensed for; these experts can help you minimize your risk exposure and prime you with the right questions and answers during any subsequent negotiations.


Strategic managed services offer maximum value

CIOs at large organizations are already responsible for vast environments. Rather than adding to a mounting collection of solutions by purchasing standalone SAM tools they are increasingly opting to go ‘all-in’ with a managed service provider that can provide access to SAM tools and a service wrap as a single offering.

This approach avoids the need to invest in expensive tools, as well as the difficult conversations about proving ROI that sometimes follow. It also provided considerable added value. For example, by understanding current spend and usage – and helping you anticipate future business requirements – such a partner can help you redesign your entire ITAM program, eliminating risk and minimizing future overspend.

Tools are essential devices to help manage an organization’s software estate, but it’s clear that they alone can’t fulfil the growing complexities and needs of a modern business. Livingstone’s experts are on hand to help you navigate the complexities of tools.  Find out more about our services >> here.



Livingstone Group | Blog | David Gemuenden | SAM tools

Author: David Gemuenden, VP Of North American Operations, Livingstone Group

David is a senior technology executive with over 20 years hands-on experience in developing strategy and vision for organizations that align IT solutions with business needs. He is well versed in setting clear goals and building team-based cultures of participation and accountability resulting in increased employee efficiency and loyalty.  David's technical and leadership foundations formed by years of experience in full lifecycle solutions architecture, marketing, delivery and support give him the breadth of experience combined with a track record of success.  He brings a unique perspective and has the ability to bridge customer requirements with business realities, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective organization.

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