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Forrester Research: Software Asset Management Is Hard! A recent article by Eveline Oehrlich of Forrester Research in Computer Weekly confirms what we’ve been saying at Palisade Compliance for some time: businesses are out of compliance with their license grants and they are spending too much on software. Most companies do not know what they purchased, and do not know what they are using.

One challenge with developing a proper SAM (software asset management) program is finding people with the right skills. Ms. Oehrlich writes that “SAM professionals are a scarce bunch” and “SAM cannot be done by a part-time employee with other operational responsibilities.” The challenge we’ve seen with companies that have deployed in house SAM programs is that the people in those roles do not have the depth of knowledge on a particular vendor that a specialist would have. It’s the classic “jack of all trades and master of none” problem.

One challenge facing SAM programs is the over reliance reliance on available technology. “[I]nvesting in SAM technology does not guarantee you will reduce your software spend.” Companies who are using more than they purchased, and rely only on a discovery tool, might go buy more software without first optimizing their contracts and deployment. Big mistake.

The key to a successful SAM program is moving beyond just “counting users” and providing license/contract optimization, audit risk reduction, and perhaps lowering maintenance costs. The typical procurement approach of beating up software vendors on pricing might work with smaller providers. However, it’s not that easy when it comes to Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and the other big players. Their software is embedded in your enterprise and quite frankly you need their support/maintenance more then they need your cash. It’s only with in-depth knowledge of the vendor’s policies and practices, as well as your utilization, that you can really have an impact on a negotiation and move the leverage back in your favor.

Oracle compliance is particularly tricky because:

a) there are no software keys or codes to prevent over deployment

b) options and features can be run and the user has no idea that a separate license is required

c) policies and products are constantly changing

d) I could go on but I’ll stop here

At Palisade Compliance our team has over 25 years of experience working in Oracle in their compliance and contracting teams. We now sit on the other side of the table putting that knowledge and experience to work for our clients. We have the Oracle specific knowledge and experiences, combined with our Oracle specific tools and compliance methodologies that are required for a SAM program to provide real cost savings and business optimization.

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