IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

MSPs’ Role in Software Asset Management

Successful SAM programs require people and time. Turning that over to an experienced MSP with established processes can help ensure maximum ROI and reduced risk. By Diane Conaway

ORGANIZATIONS ARE ADOPTING NEW SOLUTIONS at rapid rates to keep up with digital transformation efforts. Multicloud environments, SaaS applications, and connected devices are among the key business drivers. Onboarding these solutions without a strategic software asset management (SAM) plan in place, however, can actually negate benefits and increase the risk of audit, security gaps, and overspend. This risk has pushed companies to implement or upgrade SAM programs. Decision makers, though, are often unfamiliar with what is required to make such programs effective.


Unsuccessful efforts frequently come down to overinvestment in a SAM tool and underinvestment in the necessary people and processes. Simply deploying a SAM tool will not automatically result in compliance, and moreover, can result in a skewed perception of the level of compliance in place. To ensure maximum ROI and reduce risk, organizations must also invest in an experienced team to manage and maintain the tool and the insights it provides.


MSPs Can Help Ensure SAM ROI

It’s time-consuming and often impractical for end users to build their own SAM teams with individual expertise in the licensing structure of each major software publisher. Enlisting a managed service provider (MSP) with the expertise and established processes can help ensure maximum ROI and decrease risk. Moreover, SAM is resource- and time-intensive, so working with an MSP can decrease strain on organizational resources and ensure accuracy, support, and spend optimization.


Experienced MSPs ensure that goals are prioritized and time is used effectively to derive maximum value from the [SAM] program.

Here are five key areas where MSPs can help:


  1. Deployment and maintenance. SAM tools must be constantly supported to ensure complete discovery coverage, necessary data integrations, updates to software signatures, troubleshooting, and regular maintenance. SAM tool maintenance is time-consuming but vital to collecting accurate data. MSPs work with myriad SAM tools, giving them the experience to optimize the tool in use to meet specific business needs.
  2. Data quality and integration. Bad, inaccurate, or duplicate data destroys many SAM programs. Maintaining accurate data that can be turned into actionable insights requires businesses to align discovery information with SAM tools, manually verify legacy entitlements, and continually add new ones. Curating this data necessitates a mix of automated discovery and manual license validation processes that can only come from an experienced team with the time to review each entitlement.
  3. Licensing expertise. For end users to normalize licensing, entitlement, and inventory data from solutions that span the cloud and data center, they must be familiar with the license structure and end-user license agreements (EULAs) of major vendors. Entitlement verification cannot be automated, meaning businesses must leverage license expertise to verify purchase and use, and account for nuances that tools do not consider. MSPs have experience and access to resources such as publisher contracts and VAR feeds for major publishers.
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