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For a company, keeping track of your software licences is essential for sound corporate governance. A Software Asset Management solution might just help you in becoming a good corporate citizen. 

Software Asset Management (SAM), which ensures companies are compliant with software licence terms, is now gaining momentum in the IT firmament. Today, the tight timescales and sheer complexity of several challenges ranging from software licences, configuration management and security issues regulation to managing business needs mean that an organization cannot survive with knee-jerk approach. 

In order to remain competitive and survive in this cutthroat industry, it is essential to manage the infrastructure and process for effective management, control and protection of software assets within an organization and throughout all stages of (the assets) lifecycle. This is where Software Asset management (SAM) comes in. 

Microsoft has partnered with KPMG to assist in taking the advantages of Software Asset Management (SAM), which is also an ISO standard now, to businesses. The company uses 19770-1 standard and in association with its partners such as KPMG and BSA is educating customers of the importance of managing software as a strategic asset. 

As far as SAM implementation in India is concerned, Microsoft is focusing its attention on top eight cities in the country. For now the company is not touching the smaller cities in the direction. As SAM has caught the attention of IT managers, many solutions providers have begun to offer enterprise SAM solutions. In conjunction with partners, Microsoft is educating customers of the importance of managing software as a strategic asset. Customers that adhere to SAM best practices and renew their SAM certificate yearly have realized better software compliance, cut costs with volume licensing, improved IT administration, and thereby, maximized their software investments 

SAM is all about the right approach to license compliance, problem solving, cost cutting, maximizing infrastructure ROI and security and standardization. An independent study from research firm Gartner Consulting shows that organisations across Asia Pacific that have embraced SAM have seen significant benefits – and these paybacks can have a positive impact not just on an organisation’s IT division, but also on its core business. According to a study by the same research firm, an effective implementation of SAM will lead to 25 per cent savings on IT spend. “The organizations that have implemented SAM have seen significant business benefits. They have seen cost savings on its software licensing and maintenance costs,” said Brian Campbell, Director, Genuine Software Initiative, Microsoft. 
 
Organisations that have implemented SAM have seen some benefits including increased accuracy of budgeting and reporting, reduction in help desk incidents, better software license management, more efficient IT operations, increased employee productivity, continuity of business procedures, minimization of network security risks, compliance with software licensing requirements, greater transparency of software assets to the finance department and greater negotiation power in dealing with software vendors. 
 
“It has become increasingly difficult for organizations, particularly for large enterprises, to manage their software in an effective manner. For organisations who have realized the need for, and implemented SAM, the benefits can be far reaching, said Akhilesh Tuteja, Executive Director, Advisory Services, KPMG. It has become essential to take a tough stance to unauthorised use of software with the launch of a campaign by focusing on educating the customers about the imperativeness of an accurate account for how much software they have. 
 
“If you go to a company today, they’ll be able to tell you the number of PCs and so on, but they wouldn’t be able to tell you how much software they’ve got. So SAM is the critical need of the hour,” says Campbell. 
 
As a result, companies end up with unauthorized software through poor asset management, says Campbell. “So what we have seen in terms of benefits of customers that in the first year when a company deploys and follows through on SAM execution it typically realizes a cost saving of 30 per cent, just because of efficiency, consolidation, defining the standard, minimizing security risks and subsequently in the following years the customers continue to realize 10 to 15 per cent cost saving,” says Campbell. 

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