We reached out to IAITAM, Inc. the other day to find out how SaaS affects SAM and would like to send a big thank you their way for contributing to this article.
SaaS and SAM
Software As A Service affects many aspects of SAM. Before SaaS everything was more physical. Programs had to be physically installed on our hardware assets (desktops, laptops, etc.) and this required a request, justification, approval, and negotiation before the software could be acquired and installed. As technology enables us to move away from handling physical assets – just like we no longer use paper money or credit cards as much as we favor PayPal and Apple Pay – installing new software is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse, enabling departments to bypass the typical acquisition process.
How SaaS Makes SAM Even More Important
This ease of access and ability to bypass the acquisition process does not eliminate the need for SAM. In fact, it further complicates SAM. The assets are still assets and require management.
SaaS requires ITAM managers and teams to have a good deal of control and understanding of their SAM program because subscriptions need to be renewed and can be negotiated as an auto-renewal and are often easier to forget since the renewal doesn’t require any action or permission to happen.
Because SaaS makes it very easy for employees and departments to find what they need with little help, ITAM teams are often bypassed in ways that they couldn’t be before. When this happens, it can wreak havoc on the ITAM team and their ability to manage and control asset spend and affect their ability to accurately inventorying the IT assets of the organization.
SAM, HAM & Security
Another significant impact is that when software is virtual, it is accessible to almost everyone. This makes it very easy and tempting for employees to download what they need, especially if it’s free and without having to put in a request for an IT manager. However, if left unchecked – in no time, the company has no way of pulling together a list of the programs installed on company devices. This is why it’s so important for Software Asset Managers to have solid security restrictions on all desktops, laptops and mobile devices.
Software Asset Management must work more cohesively with Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Security to restrict the ability to download and install software without the knowledge or approval ITAM. SAM must be aware of every detail in the fine print of our EULAs and other Subscription Agreements to remain compliant. This requires a stronger SAM team and more robust tools than we’ve had in the past. Many organizations employ multiple Discovery Tools now, for example.
SAM is More Important Than Ever
In principle, the Acquisition and Vendor Management of SaaS requires the same policies, procedures, and strategies as our traditional IT assets. There are just different questions to ask the vendor and different considerations to make that are specific to the cloud asset itself. Ultimately, the ITAM program remains the same, but the need for the Communication and Education KPA has never been greater!