The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

The Software Asset Management £5 Rule

Andy Fisher new business development director for Software Asset Management (SAM) specialist BCS Ltd analyses the “state of the nation” in software compliance control today.

It is generally accepted that the global financial crisis is affecting the revenues of all commercial companies, including all the largest software authors. Consequently, industry analysts predict a significant increase in vendor driven audits during 2012. Customer feedback and the rise in vendor-required compliance consultancy seen over the last six months certainly confirm these predictions too.

Compliance control considerations

Poor deployment, configuration and knowledge of Auto Discovery Tools and the data they produce; expectations not being fulfilled by Software Asset Management (SAM) tools in general and a lack of dedicated or experienced SAM resources are all major contributors to a lack of software compliance control.

For most organisations, the financial risk from non-compliance will be secondary to the potential for adverse publicity and damage to a hard earned corporate brand reputation (whatever the size of the company). However, the financial risks should not be under-estimated as fines can average around £1000 (*1) for each unlicensed software installation.

(*1 Figure based on software costs plus a compensation element)

The SAM £5 rule

We have seen customers with three or four tools deployed all collecting the same data across thousands of devices, wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds in purchase, deployment and management costs!  Partnering with an experienced SAM service provider to outsource the software licence compliance element of SAM can be very cost effective. If you are paying either externally or internally more than £5 per device per annum; you are spending too much money!

One final thought here if I may…

The SAM industry has grown over the years and for some SAM companies has been seen as a way of making a ‘fast buck’.

If however the large software vendors are going to issue software authoring  awards, you would hope they would make substantial investigations into the genuine credentials of recipients.

I for one am left wondering if these awards are given for service to a client or for bolstering the falling revenues of the software giants?

Interestingly we note that being listed as a Gartner ‘Cool Vendor in ITAM’ involves just such substantial investigation and customer validation.

What more can I say, stay in control and stay cool everyone!

About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development and data analytics as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.


  1. Erik says:

    I very much like the idea of a simple quideline … but does the 5£ Rule apply to just Discovery, just software licence compliance, or to the whole lot?  All software publishers?

  2. itsmreview says:

    Hi Erik, 
    I’ve dropped a note to BCS to clarify. 
    Thanks, Martin 

  3. Craigb says:

    Response from BCS for Erik.
    Hi Erik,
    From our perspective, the £5 rule applies to what happens following discovery via a client’s pre-existing or chosen electronic discovery tool.  i.e Making sense of the masses of data returned to accurately identify ALL software deployed across a client’s ICT estate.   In effect; cleansing, optimising and reconciling the confusing data to establish true software compliance and enable specialist reporting.    Too many organisations rely on the confusing and repetitive nature of this initial discovered data in order to promote yet more costly tools rather than just offering a straight forward “what it is and where is it” follow-on service.   

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