What is Software Asset Management? The essential guide for 2024

What is Software Asset Management? The essential guide for 2024

Get back to basics with this guide on the benefits of software asset management, and why SAM is so important to businesses today.

Published on 19th March 2024

When you think of asset management, you might picture large equipment or electronic devices being physically tagged and tracked by asset monitoring software.

However, many of these platforms can track more than just equipment. Enter software asset management, or SAM, which describes the process of tracking the acquisition, consolidation, maintenance, usage, and disposal of business software tools. Considering the majority of businesses use some kind of online platform in 2024, this kind of service can do a lot of good.

In this guide, you’ll learn about what software asset management is, the best practices for the process, and how it can help your business.

What Is Software Asset Management?

Software asset management (SAM) is an online system that allows users to consolidate their software licenses, patches, inventory, and metering in a comprehensive, all-in-one hub. Essentially, this kind of platform can help you manage your online IT infrastructure across multiple devices, systems, and servers.

What Is a Software Asset?

A software asset is any online tool, app, or program that you use to run your business. Essentially, any digital element of your IT infrastructure would be considered a software asset.

Examples of a software asset include software licenses, terms and conditions agreements, maintenance documentation, and any other resource associated with these kinds of online tools.

Software Asset Management Benefits: Why is SAM Important?

Now that you know what software asset management is, it’s time to get a better idea of why you should care. After all, software asset management systems, like most business software, cost money and your budget might be too tight to sign up without a good reason.

However, given the importance of SAM to both IT security and legal licensing compliance, it’s an investment that you might decide is worth making. After all, smaller businesses can’t afford the eye-watering cost of suffering a data breach, while larger ones with deeper pockets don’t want the PR headache.

These are just two of the clear benefits of software asset management platforms that show you exactly how important it is for your business.

Save money

The goal of installing any kind of business software is often to save money, and luckily, that’s exactly what software asset management systems do. How exactly? Well, there are a lot of ways that these platforms can help you reduce costs across your business.

For starters, software asset management allows you to effectively track all the online tools your business uses, preventing redundancies, overdue payments, and other costly mistakes that result from a lack of information about your IT infrastructure.

Additionally, with so many tech regulations hitting the business world, software asset management can help you comply effectively, so you won’t get hit with unnecessary fines.

Reduce risk

Tech regulations have become quite significant in recent years, which means businesses need to have their various software in order to ensure the security of user and company data. Software asset management platforms can help you respond to audits, which will generally help you reduce risk.

That’s not all, though. Given the threat of security breaches across the business world, software asset management tools are designed to keep you up to date on all security updates, so you can be sure that you have the latest iteration of a particular tool to prevent your data from being leaked.

Improve IT productivity

Your IT team has enough to worry about, with all the forgotten passwords and malfunctioning technology. The last thing you want them to have to worry about is what kind of software is available, expired, or redundant.

This is where software asset management platforms come in handy. They empower your IT team to improve productivity by giving them a full picture of your digital infrastructure. Basically, in the same way a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help your sales team, a software asset management system can help your IT team.

Software Asset Lifecycle

The lifecycle of a software asset is important to understand, as it can help you better manage your system for your business. Here is the typical lifecycle of a software asset within your organization:

While that might not seem like a lot to keep track of, the reality is that each software asset in your business may follow this path, and that can be a lot to manage without a good system. Software asset management can consolidate, organize, and generally improve this process, and all the others that follow, so you aren’t left playing catch up.

Software Asset Management vs Hardware Asset Management

Given the fact that software asset management exists, it’s fair to assume that hardware asset management is also an important aspect of overall IT asset management. So, what is the difference between the two?

In the simplest of terms, software asset management deals with digital and intangible assets, like software licenses and online applications, whereas hardware asset management tracks physical objects, like equipment and devices associated with your business.

Additionally, hardware asset management typically uses some kind of tracking technology, like RFID tags or BLE beacons, which are physically attached to the assets in question. This allows them to be scanned in via smartphones or other devices, allowing their physical location to be tracked as well.

Software Asset Management Best Practices

If you think that software asset management is something that your business should be prioritizing, we don’t blame you. This kind of business tool can make a big difference for your company, particularly if you have a lot of online resources that require licensing and maintenance on a regular basis.

But what is the best way to roll out a software asset management strategy? Here’s a step-by-step guide that should help you get started:

Now that your software asset management system is actually set up, the world is your oyster. You can categorize specific software assets to keep a closer eye on them, consolidate redundant software that is costing you money, and develop business policies that ensure your infrastructure stays tidy and productivity throughout your business.


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