Not too long ago I met a customer, Julie, in a mid-market sized organization who recently had been tapped as her organization’s newly-minted Software Asset Manager. Like many of her software asset management peers, software asset management was just one of the many daily “hats” she wore for her employer. Everything was new to her and she didn’t have a lot of spare time.

Where do I start?
Julie’s first question to me was, “Where do I start?”, as this was her first foray into the world of software asset management and much of her organization’s asset-related data lived in a variety of spreadsheets or in databases on servers she couldn’t yet access.

I responded with three priorities:

  1. Figure out what software you own
  2. Figure out which software assets you’re using
  3. Pick a tool to help you track it all in one place

Why these three priorities? Because the key to success for any software asset manager is being able to calculate an accurate license position for the software used across the organization—a task that requires comparing what you own against what you’re using (#1 and #2) and is nearly impossible to do accurately without the help of a software asset management tool (#3).

Where do I find out what we own and what we’re using?
Julie’s next question to me, logically, was “Where do I find out what we own and what we’re using?”. On this question there’s no single answer that holds for every organization, but I told Julie it’s good to start by becoming close friends with her colleagues in the Finance or Procurement department (to figure out what the organization owns) and in the IT department (to figure out what is actually being used).

Finance and Procurement colleagues can provide key contracts, purchase order data, and vendor statements, such as the Microsoft License Statement, to build an accurate picture of what software licenses the organization has purchased and is entitled to use.

IT colleagues can provide access to key sources of asset-related data, such as System Center Configuration Manager or Active Directory, to identify networked devices and the software inventory installed them, as well as the users who are using that software or other SaaS services the organization may subscribe to on an ongoing basis.

How do I pick a tool?
When it came to Julie’s third question, “How do I pick a tool?”, I encouraged her to select a tool that would be easy to install and implement, easy to use on an ongoing basis, and provides licensing content for her biggest software asset management challenge – Microsoft licensing. As a nearly exclusively Microsoft shop, maintaining a compliant Microsoft license position, without overspending, was going to be Julie’s most important software asset management goal by far.

Cireson’s recently-released True Software Asset Management (True SAM) product is an ideal solution for organizations like Julie’s who are heavy users of Microsoft software and are ready to begin proactively monitoring their Microsoft license compliance and usage. True Software Asset Management helps companies track software utilization to make sure the software they own is being fully utilized, allowing them to optimize software spending and realize maximum benefit from the software investments they’ve already made.

True SAM is easy to install and configure with minimal implementation services required, unlike many other software asset management tools which can take weeks, or even months, to fully implement.

True SAM also provides built-in connectors to commonly used data sources, such as Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager and Active Directory, to easily import user, device and software inventory data. It also includes connectors to Microsoft licensing sources to bring in license entitlement data for Microsoft applications and online services, including Office 365. Or, customers can use the available Excel/CSV connector to bring in additional data from human resources, finance or reseller software.

Once the organization’s data is brought into True SAM, it is matched against a comprehensive Global Content Library of Microsoft software titles to normalize the inventory and calculate their Microsoft license position.

True SAM then provides the license position results in a clear dashboard that makes it simple to review licenses that are non-compliant or underutilized and take action to bring the license position into compliance and improve software utilization across the organization.

No tool makes it easier for a new software asset manager to hit the ground running and begin proactively manage their Microsoft license estate. If you’d like to learn more about True SAM, please visit our website and check out the links below.

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