An Achilles heel is a weak spot in a healthy human being or a good functioning system. The name is derived from the Greek mythological hero Achilles, who at his birth was immersed in the water of the underworld river by his mother, to make him invulnerable. As she had to be able to hold him, she grabbed his heel, which from that moment on remained the only weak spot in his body and finally led to his doom.
This myth shows that a vulnerable spot in a crucial place can lead to lameness or even worse: downfall. Soft¬ware Asset Management will suffer the same fate if software responsibility is not well organised.
Why is software responsibility the Achilles heel of Software Asset Management? Because software responsibility – for the SAM or License Manager – is the least manageable element of the Software Asset Management.
It is not an easy job for a SAM or License Manager. It is hard work that requires a lot of knowledge and discipline to create good license administration. It’s not easy to assemble all information from the infrastructure that is required to verify whether you are compliant, but good tooling brings you a long way. This information can provide you good advisory reports that inform you on compliance risks and possible cost reduction.
And then what? The SAM objectives – elimination of compliance risks and minimising the cost – have not yet been accomplished and they will only be accomplished when measures will be taken, based on the advice of the SAM or License Manager. This could be the purchase of additional licenses, a change or renegotiation of contracts or starting to remove software that is not being used.
Who is authorised and who has the budget to take these measures in order to achieve the SAM objectives? Generally, this is not the SAM or License Manager. The person who is differs by organisation and by application and software responsibility is often spread across the organisation. The IT Manager carries the responsibility for IT applications, the Finance Manager Finance for the company’s accounting software and Business Unit Managers for the business applications. But how about the basic workspace software? Is this the responsibility of IT or the business? And it gets even more complicated when the same software is used in various Business Units or in various legal entities, in larger organisations. Who should then take action, based on the advice of the SAM or License Manager?
As Softline Solutions has seen in many companies that invest in Software Asset Management, the realisation of the return on investment often fails. This is however not due to the SAM or License Manager, but due to the lack of clear overview of software responsibility – the Achilles heel of Software Asset Management.