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Software Asset Management

“Software Asset Management (SAM) is the infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of software assets throughout all stages of their lifecycle” — Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

EY Advisory aims to create a better working world through the effective management and optimization of the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization and disposal of software applications within an organization.


Can improving Software Asset Management maturity lead to cost savings?

We helped a large manufacturing and processing conglomerate recognize financial liabilities due to its existent software assets. We performed an internal software audit that identified instances of non-compliance as well as a lack of governance model, policies, procedures and controls for Software Asset Management at global and local levels. Resolution of existent issues through software optimization enabled our client to restrict financial risks and realize a greater ROI on software investment.

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Can an organization successfully defend itself during software vendor license audits?

We helped an international financial institution reduce its spend on an ERP system. Our observations on the client’s use of the application helped the client rectify the gaps in compliance and implement measures to leverage optimization opportunities. During a software review by the ERP vendor, no instances of non-compliance were identified, which led to considerable cost savings.

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Can “good” be turned into “better”?

We helped a large FMCG company manage its entire software lifecycle and software inventory and provided inputs on contract negotiations and vendor audits. Our recommendations, based on our coverage of the organization’s assets, helped it manage complex issues such as inventory management and compliance and cost optimization across multiple geographic locations. Our process review resulted in the creation of Software Asset Management policies and procedures and a governance structure. We designed controls around processes across the software asset lifecycle and facilitated the set-up of a fully functional, knowledgeable Software Asset Management team equipped with the tools to handle the responsibilities.

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  • Why we exist

    At EY, our purpose is to build a better working world for our clients, our people and our communities. We strive to help create a legacy of improved business performance, confidence and trust.

    With increased focus on and rapid growth in technology, technology-related risks are starting to have a wider and more significant impact on the business as a whole. The procurement and use of software expose an organization to an array of risks.

    Complex licensing terms
    The clauses and metric definitions in software license agreements can be vague, and the terms of usage may often be intricate.

    Ineffective inventory management
    It can be challenging to compute and document an accurate, updated list of software inventory. This, in turn, makes it difficult to reconcile entitlement and deployment details.

    Lack of software optimization processes
    Software optimization has multiple facets, such as software metering, user access, virtualization and underlying hardware (processor/core count). Identifying and implementing all these processes can be challenging.

    Frequent software vendor audits
    Vendor audits can be tedious, time-consuming activities that are taxing on an organization’s resources. As software vendors become more vigilant, it is not a question of if you will be audited, but when.

    Unbudgeted financial outflow
    If the results of a vendor audit indicate that an organization is non-compliant, it can lead to unbudgeted financial outflow. Additionally, vulnerabilities due to counterfeit or unpatched software can lead to security breaches.

    Complex environment with multi-location presence
    For companies based out of multiple locations, software inventory reconciliation can be a challenge.

    Implementing effective Software Asset Management practices has a vast array of benefits.

    Minimize your risks
    Understanding complex clauses and intricate metric definitions in software license agreements helps determine what the purchase of licenses entitles an organization to. Monitoring usage, and analyzing and reconciling this information with entitlement data can make the organization aware of its software compliance position and eliminate contractual risks posed by software vendor audits. Without the possibility of under-licensing, public disclosure of which could lead to significant adverse media coverage and penalties, the organization’s reputation remains intact. Reducing the usage of unauthorized software, including malicious code, and preventing systems from operating at sub-standard levels can address the organization’s security risks and consequently prevent unbudgeted financial outflow.

    Optimize your usage, reduce your costs
    Less-than-optimal usage of the licenses that an organization is entitled to amounts to wastage — the organization is spending more than it needs to. Effective Software Asset Management involves efficient usage of licenses and reduces costs incurred on licenses, thereby increasing the return on investment (RoI) on procured software.

    Invest wisely for future procurement
    Software Asset Management allows organizations to take informed decisions on software procurement. It eliminates the ambiguity surrounding the supply, demand or terms and conditions of the actual commodity. This enables seamless growth and better control of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

    Everybody wins

    Effective Software Asset Management benefits an organization as a whole. The procurement team has a clear understanding of what is required, which puts them in a better position to negotiate a feasible deal. The CIO is better prepared for any potential audits, and can operate from a position of strength when dealing with software vendors. The management can accurately project the investment required for software. Last but not least, the IT team’s procedures are considerably simplified.

  • How we do it

    At EY, our Software Asset Management offering follows a People, Process and Technology framework.

    We identify individuals within each business unit to be responsible for maintaining licensing information, such as usage measurements, related to specific software vendors and products

    We recommend processes to prevent or detect when software purchases are made outside of the central procurement process and to identify and remove software that has been installed outside of the authorized deployment process. We also help identify software for which historic license entitlement records do not exist, and resolve this issue by obtaining confirmations of entitlement from vendors and rectifying imbalances.

    We increase efficiency and reduce the risk of data duplication by identifying and consolidating disparate data sources relating to asset management. We consider the level of administration rights assigned to end-users with a view to aligning the rights with their roles. We also identify ways to best leverage technology within the current environment.

    EY Atom, a proprietary tool, helps clients manage their software assets and processes. It is a one-stop-shop solution for all the Software Asset Management needs of clients. The tool gives us a competitive edge in the market as we leverage our understanding of clients, software usage and changing technologies.

    EY Atom delivers an end-to-end automated solution that helps our clients manage software entitlements, deployments and license compliance position and thereby keep track of Software Asset Management maturity. With our Center of Excellence for Software Asset Management, we can deliver both onsite and offshore engagements.

    This intuitive and intelligent tool can be customized according to the IT requirements of clients, and the in-built automation feature helps reduce the turn-around time for an engagement. The data presented on its interactive and informative dashboards enables better decision making.

    EY Atom not only addresses compliance challenges, but also extends Software Asset Management beyond compliance by optimizing license costs, addressing security concerns around the use of software and improving the maturity of processes.

  • What we do

    We solve big, complex issues and capitalize on opportunities to help organizations optimize spend, manage compliance and address security-related concerns within their IT setup.

    Organizations spend considerable time, effort and cost in identifying, assessing and controlling risks to their business and earnings. Corporate risk and internal audit functions play the unenviable role of identifying, prioritizing and helping mitigate critical business risks of organizations. However, these functions seldom operate in isolation and need to work together with their business counterparts. Software Asset Management is one such technology function that impacts business, its people and operations.

    At EY, as a part of the solution we offer to clients, we evaluate their license position versus instances of software deployed, to determine their software license compliance position. We evaluate their processes around software optimization and provide recommendations. We also evaluate Software Asset Management processes with respect to governance, management and maintenance of software and assess maturity. We even have the capability to operate an organization’s Software Asset Management function, through co-sourced or outsourced models.

Our offerings

At EY, we have an integrated perspective on all aspects of organizational risk, and Software Asset Management is a key area of focus for us. EY is an acknowledged leader in the current landscape of license compliance and process maturity assessment.

License Compliance Review:

We compare procured licenses over a period of time (entitlements) to software deployed on machines (deployments) and generate a detailed compliance license position (gaps/excess)

Software Optimization:

We identify optimization opportunities based on software metering/usage, user access, virtualization and underlying hardware (processor/core count).

SAM Process Review:

We perform a current state assessment of Software Asset Management processes based on the ISO 19770 framework and provide recommendations to achieve the desired state; create policies, procedures, controls and governance models; enlist key roles and responsibilities; and set up a SAM office.

SAM-as-a-Service (SAMaaS):

We assist in managing Software Asset Management operations for organizations and, through a co-sourced or a completely outsourced model, operate the SAM office.

While these remain our standard offerings, we do provide customized solutions to clients as well.

Who we are

EY has one of the most competent Software Asset Management (SAM) teams in the business. Members of our core team have cleared the Certified Software Asset Managers (CSAM) examination. The rigorous course covers IT Asset Management (ITAM) policies and procedures, the overall SAM framework through the various stages of an asset’s life cycle — from procurement to retirement — as well as Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and its interdependence on SAM.

We work hard to understand our clients’ issues and are driven to ask better questions in the pursuit of making their businesses work better.

Questions like:

  • Which companies get audited by software vendors?
  • What is the most challenging part of maintaining compliance?
  • Is Software Asset Management a cost?
  • What is a software license compliance position?
  • Why is it important for Software Asset Management and IT Procurement teams to work closely with each other?

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