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SAM (Software Asset Management) Managed Service: Checklist for successful on-boarding


As a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Software Asset Management Managed Services, we know how important the on-boarding process is when we start working with a new customer as this helps to define and build the on-going working relationship and shares success criteria.

I have spoken with some of our Account Managers, Pre-Sales and Delivery team to put together a check list of things they feel are important to avoid the common pitfalls of implementation and ensure a smooth and collaborative relationship.


1 Kick off Meeting

This is a good opportunity to review the statement of work and goals of the service – especially for those operational stakeholders who might not have been involved in the sales process when the SAM Partner was chosen. You (the customer) will have certain responsibilities and it is in the interest of both parties to have these clarified.

The agenda should include:

• What is needed for the service to be successful?

• Why the service is being delivered and a reinforcement of the benefits to the company so that stakeholders are fully engaged.

• Agreement of roles and responsibilities.

• Identification of roadblocks (particularly IT and data security).

• Key delivery and meeting dates.

• Service governance activities (including escalations).


2 Agree Major Milestones

For a purely licensing-centric SAM service this is likely to be focused on a) Generating an ELP (Effective Licence Position) and b) Maintaining an ELP for chosen software publishers. Also, ensure that the sign off process for an ELP or other primary deliverables has been agreed, typically involving a draft, check/refine and sign off process.


3 Major events in company calendar

This might include compelling licensing related events such as renewal dates, reporting cycles, major initiatives underway at the company, major upgrades or projects and strategically important times. The SAM Partner will work from the information you provide them with. If you do not know these dates, this is also a good opportunity to make business contacts and become more strategic and forward looking. You would not want your managed service partner gathering data for a system you plan to terminate; or planning for service deliveries when a pre-Christmas trading lockdown is planned.


4 Agree Service Levels and what happens in the event of an escalation

Roles and responsibilities for data provision should be agreed and formally documented. The SAM Partner will need to plan resources to work on your account: not having data available due to failures on your side puts you in a poor position. Agree that internal teams will generate inventory of at least 90% of the estate to fulfil the service. What happens if this is not reached or there is some other shortfall in data or permissions required to complete the service to an agreed standard? The SAM Partner could be left twiddling their thumbs, freewheeling, because they lack sufficient data to get the job done. Answer the questions: How will it be escalated? And to whom shall it be escalated?


5 Agree software publisher volumes and sequences

Agree what the SAM Partner is contracted to deliver, e.g., maintain a compliance position for your top thirty software publishers – will they do all thirty at once? Will they complete five at a time in priority order? Will one be completed after another sequentially? The other side of the coin is: Can you service the agreed volume and sequence internally? Some complex, campus wide agreements with vendors such as Microsoft might need up to twenty data points to maintain compliance, have you got the internal resource and authority to deliver against these requirements? A partner could deliver a Microsoft ELP in a week, or a month, or three months – depending on the availability of information required and complexity of the environment.


6 Agree the data gathering and refinement process

Collecting data, for both inventory and entitlement, will typically involve the establishment of a baseline, then continual comparison, enrichment and refinement over time. How will this be achieved and what data sources shall be used?


7 Agree What will happen in the event of the service needing to be changed

Has the SAM Partner agreed flexibility in the contract for the future, in the event of changing requirements? What if the service does very well and the scope needs to be changed? What if gathering information is more difficult than planned? What happens if the business goal posts change?


8 Agree what the process is for reviewing the service

Have monthly or quarterly service governance meetings been scheduled to review progress, performance checked against key metrics and new improvements discussed? How will you work collaboratively with the SAM Managed Service partner to stay on track and deliver against your broader ITAM goals? This is a fantastic opportunity to involve senior management to both review the performance of the service against contract and present the outputs of the service to date – this level of meeting helps focus the minds of all parties involved.


9 Understand the vehicle for delivery of the service

What format does your partner use to deliver information back to your organization? Ensure this works for the different personas within your organization that will be relying on the service. For example. Livingstone’s Hub Platform collates the data, cleanses, normalizes, and dedupes then delivers this back in a single paned view, overlaid with clear recommendations and actionable insights also with multi-level reporting depending on who the report is intended for.


Get some early successes

It is important that the senior management team see value from your partnership as soon as possible, so in the early stage of the relationship, focus on demonstrating some early successes.

Prioritise Your Vendors

Not all software vendors are equal and getting control of your licensing should be an iterative process, where you prioritise your most important vendors and then gradually work your way through the long tail of software publishers. Which vendors you prioritise will depend very much on your SAM goals. Are you focused on managing compliance risk? Then focus on vendors with a high audit risk and complex licensing models. Are you cost conscious? Then prioritise vendors with the biggest spend to see where you can optimize your licensing and reduce ongoing costs.

Identify Quick Wins

Is reusing software high on the agenda? Is senior management hungry for improved analysis and reporting? Is license leakage a problem and you want to be informed of new installs to validate those licences have been purchased? In this case, your SAM Partner can help implement software harvesting policies and processes, work with senior management to define a regular reporting schedule or implement event management to alert you of new installs and license purchases. Quick wins such as these will bring measurable benefits and demonstrate the value of the SAM Team and your SAM partner relationships.

Build a Software License Renewals Calendar

Managing and optimizing your support & maintenance renewals has always been important, but with subscription licensing becoming ever more common, managing license renewals has become critical. Work with your SAM Partner to understand what software contracts you have and when they renew and build a renewals calendar, so you know exactly what is due when. This will allow you to start working on the renewals well in advance and align your reporting and compliance activities to support renewals and contract re-negotiations.

Consolidate and Co-Terminate Contracts

Many organizations find themselves in the situation where they have multiple license contracts for a single vendor renewing through the year, and your SAM Partner can provide advice regarding which licences and contracts could be co-terminated, improving your economies of scale AND your administration overheads. Many SAM partners will also be able to provide support and advice you as you negotiate a new single contract, making sure you get the best possible deal for your organization.

Having clarity in all these areas will ensure a long and strong working relationship that will provide the best results and deliver measurable return on investment.


If you are considering your SAM strategies and would like to discuss the services that Livingstone provides to large and complex businesses globally, let arrange some time to speak. You can Contact Us through our website or by emailing

We presented an online seminar recently with the ITAM Review “Defining ITAM value in changing times" The session explores how ITAM, as a discipline, is being challenged and the true business value it delivers. This is particularly useful if you need to build a business case for SAM.


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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