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BSA Launches SAM Training & Certification – SAM Advantage

How Do You Eat An Elephant? Piece by Piece

How Do You Eat An Elephant? Piece by Piece

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched an industry training course and certification scheme based on the ISO/IEC 19770-1 SAM Standard.

Breaking 19770-1 into Manageable Chunks

I think this is the best thing to happen to ISO/IEC 19770-1.

The whole purpose of a standard is to offer common ground for the industry to measure itself against.

Without a standard industry players work in isolation. For example if you adopted the Microsoft  SAM approach and made some good progress it might be completed ignored by Symantec, or if you worked with a SAM partner your work might be ignored by Adobe and so on.  A standard provides an independent yardstick without commercial bias.

Benefits of this initiative by the BSA:

  1. The current standard in it’s current published form is an unwieldy beast. This breaks it into bite size chunks.
  2. It already has approval from major software publishers (Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe and Autodesk – I’m sure more will follow)
  3. It is actionable. Organisations have referred to the standard or asked their SAM partner to measure them against the standard with no real baseline. Now they can implement these steps knowing that they will be recognised industry wide.
  4. It will sort the wheat from the chaff. Having reviewed the courseware I know it is no walk-in-the-park rubber stamping exercise. Achieving the Certified Software Management Professional (CSMP) certification won’t be a replacement for hands-on experience at the coalface implementing SAM but it will be a credible stamp of approval.
  5. It will provide useful validation and recognition for partners (as Martin Callinan explains in the video).

Reaching Critical Mass

I wish the BSA luck in pushing this forward and gaining traction. They have the issue to overcome of being seen purely as an enforcement agency compared to other SAM training organisations. Perhaps they have learnt from Microsoft’s experiences with promoting SAM (that beating companies with a stick doesn’t cut it) and have begun their transformation into a more proactive organisation with a modern message. It would be good to see Oracle LMS validate or at least recognise SAM Advantage (The largest vendor absent from the BSA member list).

The program offers a tiered approach that allows organisations to progress at their own pace with alignment to their unique requirements:

  • Tier 1: Trustworthy Data – facilitating license compliance
  • Tier 2: Practical Management – Quick Win Cost Optimizations and creating a structured control environment
  • Tier 3: Operational Effectiveness – Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Tier 4: Full ISO/IEC Compliance

Commenting on the news, David Bicket, Convener of ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 WG21, responsible for SAM standards said “Having a SAM program aligned to the global ISO standard really sets SAM Advantage apart, offering an effective solution to managing software, balancing costs and reducing risks. Becoming certified as a CSMP can also increase an individual’s value within the industry and enhance their credibility as a software asset manager.”

Learn More about SAM Advantage here.

Other training Providers here

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.


  1. Rob Harmer says:


    It is really questionable whether being granted a Certified Professional

    status after a 12 hour online learning session, with case study and a Q& assessment, is valid or warranted without significant

    experience and other training to go with it.

    This devalues the status of Certified Professionals and is questionable whether any

    CEO or CIO would pay a premium or hire someone on that basis.

    The call of being the only organization offering certification for

    ISO 19770-1 is also incorrect as I believe ITAM and ISBMA also cover that area and have for some years.

    Rob Harmer

  2. Hi Rob,

    I understand your

    point but remember this is the first wave. I’m sure if this is successful the BSA will release a “Master” professional based on hours at

    the rockface (Although how that will be measured will be tricky – since every company and engagement is different – this is not about

    configuring a Cisco switch or SQL server).

    I think the point regarding ISO/IEC 19770-1 is that it is the first course to be

    wholly aligned and based on the standard. It is my understanding that IAITAM and IBSMA/ECPWEB only refer and incorporate the standard

    into their training. Whereas this is built from the ground upwards using the standard.

  3. Rob Harmer says:

    Hi Martin,

    Maybe, I guess time will tell. I don’t have a problem with their SAM

    Advantage approach, just the Certfication process. I don’t see CEOs buying anyone or paying with those “qualifications” without a

    validated experience and practical component.

    My concern as you are aware is around the use of the term “Professional” after 12

    hours online eLearning. It just doesn’t cut it with my experience and knowledge of what it takes to conduct SAM.

    I have been in

    this game for 20 years and it’s become even more complex with Open Source software making an impact on systems along with SaaS along

    with COTS solutions all of which have very complex and varying licensing arrangements and they too are blended hybrids and variations on

    a theme. It’s a very complex mixed environment you deal with today.

    Add to that the Apps that are appearing on corporate devices

    such as Blackberrys and Smartphones (iPhine/iPad etc) all of which constitute part of the SAM equation.

    In terms of ISO 19770-1

    there are Six SAM Process Categories in ISO/IEC 19770-1 and each category has a number of sub-elements as listed below.

    • Corporate governance processes
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • Policies, processes and procedures
    • Competence

    Planning and implementation
    • Planning
    • Implementation
    • Monitoring and review
    • Continual improvement

    Software asset identification
    • Software inventory management
    • Software asset control
    Verification and compliance
    • Software

    asset record verification
    • Software license compliance
    • Software asset security compliance
    • Conformance verification

    Operations management and interfaces
    • Relationship and contract management
    • Financial management
    • Service-level management

    • Security management
    Life cycle process interfaces
    • Change management
    • Acquisition
    • Software development

    Software release management
    • Software deployment
    • Incident management
    • Problem management
    • Retirement

    Life was one

    hell of a lot simpler back in the mainframe days, (for me from the 1960’s through to and 1980’s) but many of you arent that old to even

    know what a mainframe system was!

    We were actually 100% compliant, at all times with ISO 19770-1 back in 1975 well before the

    ISO was even invented. 🙂

    Regards Rob

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