The Cloud and SAM

By Andre Guerreiro

I remember the first time I brought up software asset management (SAM) as a good opportunity to help clients and vendors have a better, more transparent relationship. It was a win-win: clients could optimize contracts and vendors could protect their intellectual property. But I was told it was a poor idea because cloud would change everything and make SAM disappear.

As you know…some advice you take, some you just disregard. I am glad I ignored that line of reasoning. Not because I thought cloud would go away. I believed it would have a key role in supporting IT and business in the future. Not because I thought SAM was untouchable either.

The reason I ignored the suggestion was because I believed cloud would not replace everything we knew about IT Infrastructure or platforms. I was right in that regard. Cloud has become a powerful option for hosting, for using platform as a service or database as a service, and so much more. Cloud has even changed IT roles. Now we have cloud administrator and cloud optimizer, for example.

I think it’s interesting how change seems to hit us like a ton of bricks, but the essence of what we do stays the same. Back when we had various operating systems in our environments, we had to maintain performance, use features to distribute workload, patch the systems, etc. None of this is going away in the foreseeable future; it might just be changing hands inside the organization.

Not all applications will move to the cloud. Some don’t have a compelling business case to be there. My clients, partners and colleagues all agree. It’s critical to make sure something belongs in the cloud before trying to put it there. Businesses have to assess, verify loads, support and everything else before jumping into the technology.

So where does SAM fit into the discussion on cloud? There are software licensing packages available from cloud providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft Oracle, to name a few. The other option is to bring your own licensing; otherwise you just have CPU power doing nothing. Trust me, if you have a software license on your cloud, someone in the software publisher universe is going to care about it.

Here are some thoughts on these options. First off, if your company purchases a licensing package upon entering the cloud world, it is essentially re-buying a good portion of an asset that the company already owned. What is your CFO going to think about that?

As for the bring our own license approach, how exactly will your company report the consumption of that license? Tracking and reporting user CALs won’t work. Neither will it be possible to use a core processor license to cover it. Why? I’m guessing it will be difficult to convince a major cloud provider to let you scan their infrastructure in order to report the consumption.

Finally, if you think going to a private cloud solves this problem, think again. What exactly is the difference between an Amazon or Microsoft cloud solution versus an HP or T-Systems hosted solution? As far as I can tell, there is none. All were created to provide hosting, platform and services to organizations.

Clearly, cloud is here to stay. However, SAM is not going away anytime soon

About the Author

Andre Guerreiro is the Managing Director at Accenture.