Picture this: You’re blindfolded, trying to complete a 4,000 piece puzzle—and the clock is ticking. Your company is in the middle of a vendor audit, and you don’t know who to talk to or even what to ask to accurately finish the puzzle on time. Stress and panic begin to take hold.

That’s how software asset management (SAM) can make you feel. But don’t panic. A strong SAM program reduces the guesswork, improves long term financial standing, and creates a proactive approach to software licensing and expenditure.

Many companies over-purchase and/or over-deploy software products to try and fulfill a business need, and they end up losing sight of their current license position. Every company is different, with differing goals, needs, and business strategies. An effective SAM practice implements policies and procedures that address the lifecycle of  software assets. A software asset manager is responsible for the management of the purchase, understanding the terms and conditions and the contract negotiation, as well as the actual utilization in the company’s IT environment. At the end of it’s lifecycle, he or she is responsible for the reharvesting of the software license or the retirement of the product. This in-depth knowledge allows companies to  optimize future purchases and take advantage of software bundling opportunities and other ways to save money.

SAM can be complex, and finding the right solution takes careful consideration of many factors. Company policies, budget, current and future projects, and historical data markers are simply a few things that have an impact on the effectiveness of a SAM practice. Your SAM strategy must address your company’s needs today—but it also needs to be fluid and adaptable so that it can withstand organizational changes. Software asset managers have to adjust his or her approach based on the situation, whether facing software vendor audits, compliance remediation and maintenance, or taking advantage of  new purchase and renewal opportunities.

A software asset manager must do a deep dive investigation of all factors that affect the SAM practice and then present the overall picture to company executives, helping them understand the current license utilization and how it’s influencing the bottom line and compliance position. That means showing not only what products are deployed, but also how they’re being used—and if they’re meeting company needs.

Corporations implement SAM strategies to help control and lower cost—but more important, they do it to maintain compliance. Sometimes SAM seems like an impossible puzzle, especially when you’re crunched for time and resources. As a software consulting firm, CleanSlate leverages our years of experience and depth of knowledge to help our clients do just that.