Software Asset Management Software tools: A Definitive Guide

Healthcare Asset Tracking

Software Asset Management (SAM) software is used to manage the entire lifecycle of an organization’s enterprise software, including installation, maintenance, protection, and disposition or removal. Software asset management tools orchestrate all licensed and unlicensed software that is on-premise, on devices and endpoints, or available as a service in the cloud.

Gartner describes Software Asset Management software as useful for identifying and eliminating unused or infrequently used software, consolidating software licenses, or moving toward new licensing models.

This article helps you understand what SAM software is, how it works, and how to build a SAM software adoption strategy and use case. Specific points covered in this article include:

  • Common features in software asset management software
  • Pros and cons of different types of software asset management tools
  • Unique features of the Oomnitza SAM solution

Features of Software Asset Management Software

SAM services come with a variety of features and capabilities. More bare-bones SAM software functions as a glorified form of a spreadsheet. Advanced SAM software and services incorporate robust workflow automation and analytics as well as pre-configured connectors and APIs. Here are some of the key features to look for in SAM software:

Discovery :

Find all software installed on enterprise assets and classify that software by publisher, type, and license.

License tracking :

Show available licenses compared to allocated licenses

License projections :

Project license trends and predict when licenses will need to be renewed or additional licenses will need to be purchased

License query engine :

Quickly find and ascertain the status of any software license under management.

License reconciliation :

Maintain accurate license position data by automatically comparing license position entitlement to usage and cost calculations.

Blacklisting :

Improve enterprise security by blocking installation of potentially risky personal or other types of high-risk software on corporate assets and facilitating removal of that software

Spend tracking :

Monitor, analyze and surface total software spend

Usage tracking :

Monitor usage trends and surface usage data in interactive dashboards or regular reports

Vendor visualization :

Visualize vendor name, category, cost, and renewal date

REST API :

Well-documented and structured API to allow for data to be called out of your SAM software and shared with or imported into external systems.

More advanced SAM services provide additional license management and more robust integration capabilities, including:

SaaS license management :

Pre-configured management of SaaS licenses for major online tools including Adobe Creative Cloud, DocuSign, Zoom, Box, G-Suite, Jira, Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Dropbox, Microsoft O365, and Webex.

Cloud infrastructure license monitoring and management :

Monitor license usage of cloud servers and software running on Amazon AWS, Google Compute Platform, and Microsoft Azure.

SSO connections :

Leverage widely used SSOs such as Okta and Ping Identity and employee directory software such as Azure AD and G Suite to automatically import and monitor software usage.

ERP and finance tool integrations :

Pre-configured integration with finance and procurement platforms such as NetSuite and Oracle ERP.

How to Choose Software Asset Management Software That Works for your Enterprise

Choosing the right SAM software for your organization is a complicated task that requires diligent research. To start the process, first, identify and prioritize the use cases that your SAM software will fulfill. These may include:
Software Asset Management

Security Stance Improvement

SAM allows infosec teams to better manage and track software patching to improve security.

Software License Tracking

Risk Reduction

SAM decreases the risk of overages in license usage or out-of-date licenses, which can incur seven-figure penalties from software vendors.

Software Asset Management

Audit and Compliance Simplification

SAM simplifies audit and compliance processes by creating a single source of truth for the entire software estate and related software assets.

Software Asset Management

Optimizing IT Spend

SAM helps IT teams identify stranded licenses and "shelfware" as well as opportunities to consolidate purchases and access economies of scale.

Workflows Screenshot

Automating Workflows

Modern SAM automates many of the repetitive manual tasks involved with asset management and integrates with other tools using automated workflows.

Software Asset Management

Analyzing / Visualizing Software Usage

IT, procurement, and finance teams can quickly and continuously analyze software consumption

Integration and reconciliation of software data

SAM can integrate and reconcile data for software across on-premises, SaaS, and cloud infrastructure to create a single source of truth for software license usage and trend information.

Software Asset Management

Streamlining procurement and license management

Procurement teams can use SAM to streamline procurement processes. IT teams can create software usage management strategies.

Software Asset Management

Improving Employee Experience

SAM helps IT and HR teams ensure that all employees have the software they need when they want it, from their first day on the job until their last day working for the organization.

Once you have built out your potential and likely use cases, then assess what features and capabilities are required to match those use cases. This means comparing the numerous SAM solutions available, ranging from on-premise installed software to hybrid software-cloud solutions to SaaS-only SAM solutions. Some questions to consider in selecting may include:

SaaS or On-Premise

Most organizations today are adopting SaaS because it is easier to install and set up, more economical and flexible with regard to license expansion or reduction, and tends to be built on more modern infrastructure that supports more types of software assets. Security-conscious firms that wish to air-gap their SAM may opt for on-premise.

Software asset coverage

Does the SAM cover all three types of software - on-premise, SaaS, and cloud infrastructure? Also important, does it integrate data across all types into a single source of record that is accurate and easy to query or visualize?

Software discovery

Consider how each SAM solution discovers software assets. Can they discover virtual and mobile instances of software? Today's best SAM systems are agentless - meaning, they aggregate data from existing management tools like SSOs rather than installing additional agents.

extensible

Extensible and flexible

How customizable is the SAM software? Does it offer pre-configured connectors to other commonly used systems that can automate workflows? How easy is it to create integrations from scratch? Will you need to write code or can you simply connect via APIs?

Deploy

Scalability

How quickly can you scale your activity on a SAM and add new assets? Is it usage-based or seat-based, or core-based? Do you need to renegotiate additional licenses, or does it offer usage bands?

Allocate assets to the correct tax zone and cost center

Software License Management

What are the software license management and software license tracking features of the solution? Can it provide license recycling, license quarantining (for legal purposes on sequestered machines), contract management, and quickly tabulate licenses in use to respond to vendor audit requests that could lead to penalties?

Analysis and Reporting

Can the solution be quickly set up to analyze and report on common KPIs for security, IT, financial, and operational metrics? Does the tool enable role-based reporting for each stakeholder? Does it come with visual dashboards or charts and graphs to simplify SAM storytelling and reporting?

Strategy
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Pros and Cons of Software Asset Management Software

There are numerous pros and cons of different types of software asset management services, so it is important to identify where the strengths and weaknesses of each SAM service lie. Broadly speaking, software asset management is a crucial tool for modern enterprises to help them manage, secure, and purchase an ever-expanding pool of software for diverse roles and capabilities. Software asset management services make it possible for organizations to scale out software asset management in a non-linear fashion. The best software asset management solutions help organizations to: reduce risk, improve software utilization, automate workflows, improve employee experience, and improve security posture and patch management.

Pros and cons to consider include:

Integration with larger ITAM packages

This can be a positive if you are looking for a single ITIL solution. It can be a negative if you want more flexibility over how you configure your product and more ability to change your SAM services.

Usage-based versus seat-based licensing

Licensing terms and structure can dictate costs. The pros of usage-based pricing are that it works well for fast-growing companies. The cons are that it may be harder to control the costs of your SAM tool.

Integration and connector ease-of-use

Usually, easier integration and connector structures (Python or Powershell, for example) are a big pros rather than cons. This ties into the first item on this list, as well - flexibility. For the cost, having an easier way of integrating into other systems means less money spent on development time.

The Features and Benefits of Oomnitza Software Asset Management Software

Oomnitza is a modern and holistic IT asset management system that includes a full-featured SAM software module. Specific features and benefits of Oomnitza SAM include:
Oomnitza is designed to work as an overlay atop other ITAM and SAM systems, SSOs, and directories. Oomnitza automatically discovers, integrates, and reconciles the data from existing systems into a single “golden” database.
Oomnitza covers the full spectrum from automatically ingesting and populating asset data via vendor API to onboarding to servicing and refresh to the retirement of software license information. This includes more ephemeral licensing, such as for cloud infrastructure.
Oomnitza automatically reconciles and dedupes all asset data to provide an accurate and timely view of assets tracked, including owner, location, security status, and service status
Captures integrates data from existing asset management systems without installing new agents on devices or assets
IT teams can deploy Oomnitza SAM in a matter of days with no coding and no major configuration changes required. Once deployed, Oomnitza’s intuitive UX makes it simple even for non-technical users to query the SAM database and construct automated workflows.
Oomnitza works equally well to track all types of assets, including hardware, software, cloud infrastructure, and SaaS. It also works on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and ChromeOS systems.
Aside from dozens of built-in connectors, Oomnitza’s API is Python-based and easy to extend into other systems that have their own REST APIs
Oomnitza’s SAM module simplifies life both for IT specialists and employees with native apps that allow IT, support teams, to provide check-ins and service startup lookups at the employee’s own desk.
Some of the more advanced features of Oomnitza SAM include:
Oomnitza SAM maps data fields automatically to generate flexible schemas that future-proof your SAM management and allow for easy inclusion of new data sources, asset types, and fields
Oomnitza SAM comes with dozens of pre-built integrations, natively integrating with over two dozen systems including Jira, ZenDesk, NetSuite, JAMF, Microsoft InTune, Tanium, Salesforce, and many more.
Oomnita allows anyone to build with drag-and-drop ease multi-step SAM management workflows across multiple systems to automate or enforce process
Oomnitza supports bi-directional data syncing between the Oomnitza platform and other applications, including ERPs, lower-level asset tracking and discovery systems, HRIS systems, ticketing and ITSM systems, and security systems such as SIEMs and threat analysis platforms
Oomnitza comes with pre-configured dashboards to quickly generate beautiful reports for KPIs and monitoring. New reports or dashboards can be configured with only a few taps or clicks, even by non-technical users
Enterprise Asset Management

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