The Software Asset Manager
The Enterprise Software Asset Manager (ESAM) is a business professional with software and license
management responsibilities. These responsibilities encompass Software Asset Management which
includes the complete lifecycle of software acquisition planning, purchases, deployment, upgrades,
patches, maintenance, usage control and proper disposal including maintaining all documentation on all
software for the life of the organization.
Software Asset Management at the most basic level is about knowledge and control and the
relationships between the two. The effective ESAM possesses and utilizes the knowledge of proper
software policies, processes and applications that align organizational business drivers with software
management which in turn delivers return on investment (ROI), compliance risk mitigation, IT
responsiveness and maximize end user productivity. The ESAM orchestrates software management
across the organization, blending business objectives, IT strategic direction with IT Asset Management
best practices to maximize the program’s investment in software. The ESAM is a pivotal part of a complete IT Asset Management Program. Listed below are some of the responsibilities that are discussed in detail:
• Implements and builds controls for a software inventory, ultimately linking licensing, usage, locations and documentation for all software products.
• Maintains visibility into software asset processes and builds controls for software assets throughout the lifecycle to uncover more savings and value, reduce support and rollout costs and maintain compliance.
• Develops, implements and promotes policies, processes and procedures for software acquisitions, installations, usage and disposition
• Ensures that all parties understand and adhere to legal requirements for using software
• Provides the correct applications to the specified users at optimal intervals to obtain the best value and to eliminate unnecessary software products.
• Utilizes available resources to solve problems, aware that SAM issues interrelate and impact important business objectives.
• Enacts and maintains a proactive Software Asset Management program or continually works toward replacing reactive processes.
• Uses software policies, processes and procedures to identify and thwart software piracy and theft
• Provides strategic direction to the creation and maintenance of an effective Vendor Management program.
• Empowers, trains and supports all assigned Asset Management personnel.
• Builds and nurtures productive relationships with all other business units, both those that have interaction with the IT business functions and those that are customers.
• Encourages and maintains executive management support for all IT related endeavors.
• Provides employee awareness of Software Asset Management.
• Conducts responsibilities and tasks in support of the CITAM
ESAM Best Practices and Program Management
The ESAM Asset Management best practices is a plan of action that will be used developed utilizing the experiences of IT professionals and covering every aspect of IT Asset Management. Understanding those needs, SAM identified program categories called Key Process Areas (KPAs). Processes were codified for each category based on goals and outcomes. Once the KPAs, processes and related tasks were defined, SAM began identifying the interconnections that unify these categories into an overall program. This SAM framework will have value to TSA professional as a methodology for developing practices that function, deliver value, and are repeatable and sustainable over time. The key process areas are:
• Acquisition Management
• Asset Identification Management
• Compliance Management
• Communication and Education Management
• Disposal Management
• Documentation Management
• Financial Management
• Legislation Management
• Policy Management
• Program Management
• Project Management
• Vendor Management
The TSA program needs to be included the SAM team in the decisions of software acquisition. Pre-acquisition management of software assets means that the organization has a formal process for identifying need, identifying sources, strategically planning purchases, controlling receipt and distribution, closely monitoring utilization along with moves adds and changes, and monitoring eventual disposal. Pre-acquisition software asset management tends to recognize and “pre-plan” the entire lifecycle of a given asset – including the myriad of ways in which the asset interacts with other assets and operations across the organization
Post-acquisition management limits the ability of the Asset Manager to effectively negotiate the terms and conditions of the software license, maintenance / support agreement, lease or other legal documents regulating the lifecycle of the asset. Consider how you would evaluate the prospects for managing assets earlier in the lifecycle, weighing the cost versus the opportunities that open up to participate in the strategic planning for IT. Some questions that should be asked about the purchase before-hand should be:
• Can you plot out a work flow plan covering systems evolution?
• How often do you upgrade software operating systems?