License Dashboard’s Commitment to ISO Standards

31 August 2018

Sean Robinson


Here at Licence Dashboard we’re intimately acquainted with the ISO 19770-1: 2012 standard. Members of staff at License Dashboard who were integral in establishing the Software Asset Management (SAM) arm of the business also contributed to the standard, so we’ve always felt a sort of paternal pride about the document. The update of the standard to ISO 19770-1: 2017 proved to be quite an overhaul. The practice of SAM has matured significantly in the five years between iterations of the standard and that comes through strongly in the new standard, which takes a noticeably different tack to its predecessor.

Back in 2012 the standard was almost a how to guide for establishing a SAM function. There was a lot of detailed documentation of objectives and outcomes for various process areas, which helped organisations to shape the key processes required to establish a SAM function. There were also pages devoted to identifying the parallels between the ISO standard and other key industry standards, such as COBIT or the IAITAM Practice Library. This was presumably to help confused IT staff understand this new-fangled IT discipline by identifying the parallels between it and older, more established, and better understood IT management frameworks. That said, the SAM function in the ISO 19770-1: 2012 standard was portrayed as a somewhat standalone function, an outlier that needed to keep a beady eye on other operational IT activities.

ISO 19770-1: 2017 brings SAM into ITAM

Fast forward to the 2017 standard and the idea of SAM as a standalone area of IT operations has been scrapped, instead being recognised as a specialised subset of a wider function now referred to as IT asset management (ITAM). Personally, I feel that this is entirely the right way to view the function. ITAM is utterly reliant on good quality data, and obtaining this data means additional demands on inventory tools and other data owners. However, once this data has been collected, collated and interpreted it can be used to support a whole host of functions across an organisation, both inside IT and beyond. Integrating ITAM into IT operations, rather than having it act as some sort of external overseer, is a far more positive approach and a far easier concept for the staff involved to get on board with.

The new standard does a great job of giving a framework for classifying IT assets and is designed to integrate with other relevant ISO standards such as 27000 and 55001. It also delivers high level guidance on areas where policy and process are required to support an IT asset management function and condenses the 4 tiers from the previous standard into 3. While some of the detail in the 2012 standard has arguably been lost, what has been delivered is a more intuitive framework. It aims to put ITAM at the heart of the IT operations framework, while at the same time highlighting key requirements such as the need for a well-defined service scope, backing from senior management, and frequent reviews and updates of policies and processes to be aligned with business goals.

License Manager to manage IT assets

Here at Licence Dashboard we take the best of both worlds when it comes to delivering outstanding ITAM and SAM. The process driven rigour of the 2012 standard can be seen crystallised into the core functions of the Licence Manager tool. The need for clear workstreams to identify and manage IT assets and calculate licence demand, and to identify, document and manage licence purchases and calculate licence entitlement are reflected in the separate functional areas of Licence Manager. Licence Manager is an ideal platform for collating and managing data on your IT assets, and the reporting functionality along with the interactive dashboard provided by Licence Dashboard Portal interprets that data to deliver accessible information that can support the wider IT operations functions, from Security and Change management through to procurement.

When it comes to integrating ITAM and SAM into an existing IT operational framework within an organisation, there’s no silver bullet. As the ISO 19770-1: 2017 standard so ably captures, there’s a whole heap of policy and process required in the background to enable an organisation to deliver a successful ITAM function that both supports and drives the successful delivery of IT to an organisation. Whether it’s reviewing software purchase strategies to ensure an organisation is procuring their software in the most cost-effective way, taking inventory data and using it to support inventory tool owners in their quest for 100% coverage, or integrating SAM into the existing Change management function, License Dashboard has a team of consultants who can help. We can work with any organisation to help shape their policies, processes and future strategies to make sure they’re making best use of the valuable information an ITAM function can deliver.

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