Software Asset Management and The Art of Moving Cheese, by Insight's Ben Brand.

SAM and The Art of Moving Cheese

3 Jun 2016 by Ben Brand

Bear with me for a few minutes, this will make some sense, I promise you… There are many great reads for those who wish to pursue personal and professional success and two which are commonly mentioned as "Must Reads" are The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Who Moved My Cheese (An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life) by Spencer Johnson.

The Art of War is a 5th century BC text detailing strategies of warfare and tactics from ancient China. This writing has found its way on to the desk of many leaders, as the learnings can be applied throughout the business world as a framework for how one can shape their thinking around planning for success. In fact, a large part of this document talks to fighting without having to do battle, a key point in this post.

Who Moved My Cheese is an amusing tale to help people better understand and deal with change, or to use the current buzzword, disruption. The basic premise is if you always do what you have always done, especially through fear of change, that you cannot evolve as the environment around you does and this applies to both our personal world and our professional one.

So, I hear you asking: what does this have to do with SAM?

A good SAM practice, and I mean more than a spreadsheet and an extract out of a tool like SCCM, will provide a huge amount of opportunity to organisations that choose to recognise it. A good SAM practice will give you both a strategy for success and a mechanism for managing change... see where this is going yet?

Nearly every form of technology in the business world today is disruptive in some shape or form, and nearly every form of technology in the business world today is underpinned by software and or licensing.

I speak with many companies who choose to manage this by exception in the sense of finding out what has changed and then working out how to deal with it. In the SAM space, this change happens in the form of ever changing technology, software, licensing rules and lack of visibility around current software and licensing usage.

This is often capitalised on by some vendors who use audit as a revenue stream as they realise companies struggle with understanding and an inability to stay up to date with the above.

Add to this the porosity that has permeated our traditional infrastructure boundaries; by this I mean how easy it has become for software to flow in and out of organisations, and we find that our strategies that may have once been sound, now no longer achieve the required objectives.

So what is the objective here for any organisation that really wants to succeed in this space - the best outcome achievable?

  • Plan for winning without having to do battle.
  • Instead of having your cheese moved, be the Cheese Mover.

This is "The Art of Moving Cheese".

Plan to defeat an audit by not having to undertake an audit. By removing the threat of an audit, you have already won that next audit battle.

Plan for an environment where you decide where you want to be with your software and licensing rather than have a vendor decide it for you. Only by understanding your deployment and usage against your current contracts can you decide if you are on the right plan for you now, or over the next several years of committment.

The list of opportunity here is long and hopefully the above gives you an idea of how you should be thinking in regards to SAM in your business. Above are just some of the basics you should be planning for and with a good SAM process you can absolutely have control of your software related risk and cost, present and future.

Of course, to achieve the above zen-like relationship with your software and licensing, you must have a good practice comprising the right tools, people and process. There has to be clarity and understanding of what you are consuming, what you are entitled to, how you are consuming it and probably more relevant here how you want to be consuming it.

This is where Insight's License Consulting and Optimisation Services specialise in helping you understand where your cheese is, and where your cheese should be. Achieving this level of control is possible through good SAM, however with Insights full range of SAM Services we can make you a master in The Art of Moving Cheese.