How to Get Started with an Effective Software Asset Management Capability

Software Asset Management
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In observing the creation and maintenance of a software asset management capability in various organizations, I’ve realized that addressing a few basics – taken from the discipline of business and systems analysis – would benefit any organization trying to get started in this area.

To help your organization to get started with software asset management, here are seven tips for formulating an effective software asset management capability (and these could also be applied to the creation of any business capability).

To help your organization to get started with software asset management, @Joe_the_IT_Guy shares seven tips for formulating an effective software asset management capability. #ITAM Click To Tweet
  1. Know your audience (for software asset management) and their needs

It might surprise you as to how many different parts of your organization will be impacted by your software asset management capability (or lack of one). In understanding what currently happens, you’ll identify a variety of stakeholders. All of these will need to be involved in your formalized software asset management capability. For example, IT, procurement, finance, legal, human resources (HR), supplier and contract management teams, and more.

To help with understanding, communication, collaboration, and agreement across the different stakeholders:

  • Process maps offer an excellent high-level overview of what happens (or will happen, or perhaps even what should happen)
  • Process definition documents offer a lower-level view that’s appropriate for heads of department and team leaders
  • Standard operating procedures offer a step-by-step explanation of what takes place at every part of a process.
  1. Know what you’re trying to achieve (through software asset management)

You must agree on and communicate the primary and secondary objectives of your software asset management capability as early as possible. This helps to provide the focus for the required software asset management strategy as well as preventing “process (or capability) creep.” This is where additional needs and activities are added to the software asset management capability as it’s being created. The result is likely to be something that has lost sight of the original aims and intentions.

You must agree on and communicate the primary and secondary objectives of your software asset management capability as early as possible, says @Joe_the_IT_Guy. #ITAM Click To Tweet
  1. Align your software asset management capability to your software asset management strategy

Use your software asset management strategy as a blueprint, plus as a checking mechanism, for your intended operations. Are you creating a software asset management capability that will deliver against the strategy? If not, then there’s a need to course correct.

  1. Collaborate with all the invested parties

When crafting your software asset management capability, once you’ve identified the stakeholders who are impacted by its introduction, actively engage with them to ensure that the design and implementation of the revised working practices are going to be a success.

In my experience, it’s far easier to engage with these stakeholders from the outset, to gain their trust and to leverage their expertise, than to present them with a pre-ordained view of what software asset management operations will look like after you’ve finished your design work. In the latter case, not only will there likely be resistance to the change, but also a headache of required revisions that better reflect the needs of these stakeholders.

  1. Test your new software asset management capabilities before go-live

It’s not enough to merely design your new software asset management capability, it needs to be tested to ensure that the various practices are workable for your organization. Plus, of course, that they deliver the required (and expected) outcomes.

  1. Ensure that the software asset management capability has a process owner

If you want your software asset management capability to succeed, then ensure that it has an owner who’s prepared to oversee the management, operation, and continued improvement of the new/revised processes. Without such an advocate, your software asset management capabilities will likely degrade over time and there’ll be little impetus for improvement. The result being that many stakeholders will revert to the old ways of working (and the inherent issues within them).

If you want your software asset management capability to succeed, then ensure that it has an owner who’s prepared to oversee the management, operation, and continued improvement of the new/revised processes. #ITAM Click To Tweet
  1. Schedule and conduct regular capability reviews

As with any IT service management (ITSM) or IT management capability, things change over time. Whether this is stakeholder needs or external factors such as best practice, software asset management technology, or the software that needs managing. So, ensure that your software asset management capability includes a periodic review to ensure that your practices still deliver against their software asset management, IT, and business objectives. This will be vital if you want your software asset management capability to maintain relevance and your asset management maturity to improve.

So, that’s seven tips from me on how to get started with software asset management. What else would you add? Please let me know in the comments.

Joe The IT Guy is a native New Yorker who loves everything connected to IT service management (ITSM). He's a passionate blogger and twitter addict, and is also the resident IT guy at SysAid Technologies.

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