HomeCLOUD COMPUTINGStrategic Software Asset Management: Plan And Implement Cloud Usage

Strategic Software Asset Management: Plan And Implement Cloud Usage

Strategic Software Asset Management: Those who cleanly set up their processes for Software Asset Management (SAM), automate them and obtain high-quality data. The more cloud applications a company uses, the less the risk of being under licensed and paying extra for the software. However, those who consume more in the cloud than they have subscribed to pay for the additional service used. On the other hand, companies unnecessarily burden their IT budget if, for example, the license service or production employees for Microsoft Office 365 in the E5 version because that would be completely oversized.

Appropriate licensing avoids this mistake, which is the primary goal of Software Asset Management (SAM) for cloud use. Sustainably oriented SAM also makes the IT infrastructure, including cloud services, transparent and strategically plannable. It contributes to higher sales if it can automate SAM-relevant processes and increase the associated data quality.

Strategic Software Asset Management: Clarify Responsibilities For Software Asset Management

Two aspects are necessary for a sustainable approach: the clarification of responsibilities and cross-departmental collaboration. The first point can be solved using role concepts that clearly define the tasks and responsibilities for using, consuming, and ordering cloud services. In this way, a company regulates how it wants to manage the software life cycle with foresight. Approaching this act in a team involves various internal expertise from purchasing, finance, and IT. In addition, the departments understand the steps required:

  • Requirements planning with identification of the most important manufacturers such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Adobe, or SAP in your software budget and business-critical business software such as Autodesk, Mathematica or QlikTech
  • Evaluation of all SAM sub-processes from license purchase and approval to installation and monitoring to deinstallation and reassignment
  • Determination and correction of weaknesses and flaws in the process chain
  • Automated integration of SAM-relevant data sources such as Oracle, IBM or SAP or MDM (Mobile Device Management) systems such as MobileIron as well as Active Directory and an IT service management tool such as ServiceNow
  • Monitoring of data delivery, including data maintenance and manual spot checks

Plan Your Budget Precisely With Software Asset Management

First, the workflows have to be in place before you try to map them largely automatically with a classic IT service management tool such as ServiceNow or a special tool such as SAM2GO from Software ONE. The tool to be selected should also regularly compare usage with requirements, so-called “right-sizing.” Here, the tool draws data from the cloud providers via standardized interfaces, from which the degree of use of the software is determined. Let’s take active E5 licenses for Office 365 as an example.

The analysis can show that most users only need the functionality that the cheaper variant E3 already fully covers. This savings potential should not be given away. An IT manager can plan his budget much more precisely if the inventory data of the installed software inventory, the versions used, available and assigned licenses, and support periods appear on his dashboard. Ideally, the tool also lists the software issues by the provider and shows inactive user accounts.

Structured Path To Cloud-Based Software

A software asset management tool should also show those responsible for what is happening, for example, with terminal servers at the device and user level. This makes it clear whether you have to readjust the license. Licensing is correct according to the device and not – as many responsible people believe – per user. From the outset, more effectiveness promises to go the other way around – strategically with a cloud infrastructure plan that incorporates the SAM data obtained. Such a plan includes the following aspects:

  • Recording of all cloud services used, including SLAs (Service Level Agreements)
  • Requirements planning for infrastructure, platforms, and software
  • Comparison of offers from cloud providers and software manufacturers, including checking the terms of use on both sides
  • Identification of the right combination of software manufacturer and cloud provider
  • SLA agreements for the selected cloud services, for which the SAM data specify the dimension

Suppose you want to use software from different providers in your cloud environment. In that case, almost every major provider has a marketplace where different manufacturers present their virtual firewalls, switches, VPN gateways, and business apps. Linux systems can be hosted on Microsoft Azure or Microsoft apps on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The terms of use of both providers are decisive. It depends on the application manufacturer whether they also consent to mixed use of their product. Licensing takes place according to the user, accessing device, per processor unit used, or time. Caution is advised with a country license because this unnecessarily restricts the use of the app. If you look at the providers of cloud services, things can get more complex. For example, there is a need to clarify where which cloud instance is located. Suppose a company wants its cloud instance to only run on a European system. In that case, this is often more expensive with the cloud provider – compared to operating it independently of the region.

Software Asset Management: With Managed Services In The Cloud

There is, of course, the risk that the acquired right of use and the required security precautions in the manufacturer’s cloud terms of use do not go together in the way a company needs. However, if you arm yourself with a cloud infrastructure plan that incorporates high-quality SAM data, you run less risk of obtaining unsuitable licenses and wasting cloud resources. This goal is worthwhile but demands a lot from companies that many small and medium-sized companies cannot achieve. But this also applies to the upper-middle class and corporations.

Companies should therefore consider SAM as a managed service. In this case, a SAM specialist such as Software NE supports you in planning cloud scenarios and migrating workloads. The Managed Service Provider (MSP) designs the SAM processes and adapts them to its situation. The fine-tuned templates then map the processes for compliant software use. In addition, the MSP standardizes the patch versions of the various software titles. Its usage analysis contributes significantly to the achievement of the budget goals. The SAM data can also better plan and accompany the infrastructure change towards increased cloud use. 

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