When I left Microsoft around 5 years ago, Software Asset Management (SAM) was all about licensing, compliance and audits. At that time, customers perceived vendor-initiated SAM as a lever Microsoft used to drive revenue and it had little to do with customer experience or satisfaction.
But recently, I’ve been doing some sales strategy work with Software Optimisation Services (SOS), the Microsoft Global Software Asset Management (SAM) Partner of the Year 2016 winner, and I’ve found that the world of SAM has changed radically. I was completely surprised by what I learned.
From Licence Management to Digital Transformation
I recently travelled with Filipa Preston, CEO of SOS, to Microsoft’s annual Inspire partner conference in Washington D.C. (formerly Microsoft WPC) and spent three days learning about updates on SAM. We also met with Patama Chantaruck, Microsoft’s Global GM for SAM.
Patama made it very clear that Microsoft is committed to SAM delivering significant value to the customer, even to the point of collaboration with customers and SAM partners to craft mutually beneficial outcomes.
While licence management will remain a component of SAM, it is now a side effect of the newer elements of SAM that are designed to provide genuine customer benefit.
- Aha moment! SAM for Cyber Defence
A stand-out example of these benefits is in the area of cyber security. Following the recent issues with WannaCry and Petya, I was surprised to learn that one of the most common weaknesses in cyber security is substandard patch management. In complex server environments, this is a moving target that is really hard to stay on top of. The detail that SOS provides their clients in this area is well beyond anything I have seen, and this detail brings a level of insight to cyber security that enables sustainable excellence and risk reduction.
- New Tools and SAM Partner Analytical Skills Drive Daily Efficiencies
There are other profound insights to be obtained through the array of tools that are now available, and, coupled with the analytical skills of the SAM partners, the interpretation of the data will enhance real-time monitoring, management and optimisation in complex network environments, which in turn drives daily efficiencies. This is particularly apparent in the public cloud, where “elasticity” can be a blessing or a curse depending on how tightly it can be managed.
- Optimisation for the New World of Software Asset Management
Customers are also using the data as highly detailed and authoritative content to assist in building business cases or measuring ROI when transitioning to the cloud or starting down the road to Digital Transformation.
- A new breed of partner
During our meeting Patama also gave us her insight into a new category of SAM partner that will emerge with the launching of the new Managed Services category.
Through this program, customers will experience even more value-added service. Watch for benefits that can only be delivered by Managed Services SAM partners, such as “Fresh Start”. SOS is already down the path to accreditation in this new category.
The bottom line is that SAM is now about optimisation and cyber security rather than compliance. Clearly, Filipa was very forward-thinking when she named her business!
If your view of SAM is the same as mine was two weeks ago you might consider reaching out to Filipa and her team for a complimentary Cyber SAM assessment. SAM engagement is a different experience these days - and you may even find some cyber security “open doors” in your organisation and learn how to close and lock them.
You can connect with Brian on LinkedIn here.