Are ITSM platforms truly effective for Software Asset Management?

SAM-ITSMITSM (IT Service Management) platforms were originally developed to discover, monitor and remotely manage computer systems on a network with the goal to dramatically improve operational uptime. Overtime, the discovered asset database evolved into the CMDB and contained not only hardware and operating system information, but also basic of software inventory information. The difference between an ITSM system and a SAM system is the level of sophistication needed to identify complex software installations and applying the correct licensing rights associated with each product when calculating the effective license position. There are many ‘outside’ factors used to calculate the license position which are not discernable through the discovery process itself.

The difference between an ITSM system and a SAM system is the level of sophistication needed to identify complex software installations and applying the correct licensing rights associated with each product when calculating the effective license position. There are many ‘outside’ factors used to calculate the license position which are not discernable through the discovery process itself.

‘Outside’ factors such as ‘named users’, bundled product suites vs standalone products (such as Microsoft Office vs. MSWord), length of time a system has been in use (Oracle Database Backup Licensing rules, or IBM PVU’s) and many others are examples of licensing metrics that unique analysis beyond the information that can be captured by a standard ITSM platform.

“Reconciliation” is a complex and highly specialized process used in SAM products to apply all of the unique licensing rules against the raw inventory discovered by either an ITSM or  SAM tool. Some ITSM products are starting to implement a basic Reconciliation process into their tools, however, today the most accurate Effective License Positions seem to come from software tool companies that are dedicated to the SAM market.

- Dan Sherwood

 

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