Make the most of your software investments with a Dynamic asset management strategy

27 April 2020

Sean Robinson


The License Dashboard 2020 ITAM Community Survey revealed that only 17% of all respondents would describe their Software Asset Management (SAM) program as Dynamic. But what is Dynamic asset management? License Dashboard describes Dynamic SAM as:

a fully robust SAM strategy that manages each software asset throughout its lifecycle

To be truly dynamic, SAM Practitioners must know that every piece of utilized software within an organization should be tracked and managed for the purpose of licensing compliance, IT efficiency, and cost optimization.

Correctly controlling software comes with a raft of benefits including preparing an organization for any new installations or upgrades, ensuring each piece of software aligns to a license and mitigates security and overspend risks. In an ideal world, 100% of organizations would have a dynamic asset management strategy in place, but unfortunately, as the survey shows, that is simply not the case. SAM strategies falling short of ‘dynamic’ fall into two other categories.

Reactive Software Asset Management

Organizations only manage their software assets when there is a requirement to do so, for example a vendor audit

31% of survey respondents stated that they only prioritized SAM when they must. This is one way organizations can make sure they are paying for software licenses, it puts them in a weak position should they receive a vendor audit. At audit time, they will have no power to negotiate the price of software licenses and may be forced to pay a fine. Gartner states that the average software audit costs $500,000 – and that only includes the costs of licenses and any fines that could be incurred, not the cost of the time away from business as usual.

Unfortunately, the cost of an audit eats into a large chunk of your IT budget that was supposed to be allocated elsewhere.

Proactive Software Asset Management

Software managed regularly for the purpose of licensing compliance

Proactive SAM is a great way of accounting for each license, as well as making sure it is being utilized correctly. But it stops there. There is no room for optimization, there is no potential for significant cost reductions, and there is no capacity to make product changes. This can be seen as being very similar to a Managed Service where a SAM services provider will produce monthly effective license positions to keep an organization up to date with software usage, but it is then up to that end user organization to action any recommendations based on the data.

As IT estates evolve and new software is implemented, understanding exactly what suits your business requirements allows you to purchase the correct licenses for all IT projects.

Making the most of your software investments

Whilst both Reactive and Proactive SAM strategies equip organizations in managing their software licenses, they can’t make the most out of investments. A Dynamic SAM strategy presents many benefits to an organization and ensures each department is making the most out of their software investments.

Dynamic asset management ensures there are policies in place to download or upgrade software that run through the IT department for deployment and the Finance department for budgeting. Understanding exactly which piece of software is being used, and where, helps organizations make purchasing decisions and enables the tracking of employees’ usage. This becomes incredibly useful when managing SaaS subscriptions because it provides a clear view of which user is assigned to which software, and in some cases whether accounts are duplicated. Tracking and optimizing any software install means organizations can get more from their software investments, but especially when it comes to SaaS and Cloud software.

A SAM team needs to work closely with all departments to ensure each piece of software is correctly utilized. This will offer protection in the event of a software audit, and it will prevent the purchase of unused licenses. License Dashboard recently highlighted £217,000 of risk due to over deployment within one organization’s Microsoft estate. This presented reharvesting opportunities where the SAM Manager could allocate unused licenses to movers or new starters, rather than purchasing new ones.

Managing licenses within a specific SAM tool is easier than manually discovering, tracking and moving licenses around. Working with different technologies you can automatically ‘scan’ your IT environment to understand exactly what is installed within each device, then bring the data back to you in a clear, readable format. License Manager has built-in licensing knowledge to help show when and where purchased licenses can be moved or reused, all while adhering to vendor terms and conditions.

An organization with each of its stakeholders involved in its SAM program means it is driven and considered at each IT and business decision. A dynamic SAM strategy will provide a central hub of information for holding all IT data, and to involve all department stakeholders, highlighting the information most relevant to them. With this detail, organizations are far better prepared for major transformational projects.

Dynamic asset management opens opportunities for optimizing your software investments and makes certain you are utilizing your installed software correctly and efficiently.

Sean is a pioneer of SAM with over 20 years’ experience in software licensing compliance. He developed our industry leading, software asset and license management tool, License Manager, delivering SAM services to some of the largest companies in the world.

Sean Robinson

Further reading