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13 Roadblocks to SAM Adoption [SAM Survey Results]

What are the biggest blockers to progress with Software Asset Management (SAM)?

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This is the third and final article digging into feedback from Partners and Suppliers for our research study with Stephen Mann from Forrester.

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Blockers to SAM Progress

For this section we asked: What are the biggest blockers to progress with SAM?

Participants were asked to provide general feedback on what hinders progress with Software Asset Management (as opposed to answering predefined choices). The following thirteen roadblocks emerged as major themes in the feedback. They could probably be merged into three of four core themes but I think each of the thirteen is interesting in their own right. Themes are ranked by popularity (% of respondents in bold).

  1. General lack of awareness about SAM or lack of stakeholder buy-in / traction 18%
  2. Perceived high setup costs, not sure about returns / ROI, failed to articulate business value 13%
  3. Lack the time and internal resources to get on with it 9%
  4. Perceived as a one-off exercise for audit defence, no desire for ongoing SAM practice 8%
  5. No budget to implement 8%
  6. Lack of skills / knowledge internally or access to skills / knowledge externally 7%
  7. Ingrained internal habits, fear of change, set in their ways 7%
  8. Low priority, easy to postpone, always more pressing stuff to do 7%
  9. Complexity of License Programs 6%
  10. Pandora’s box – fear of unearthing something nasty during implementation 6%
  11. Inadequate tooling / poor data from tools 5%
  12. Loss of trust in SAM tools due to ‘Silver Bullet’ sales techniques 4%
  13. Too technical, stuck in IT when it should be business / finance project 2%


  • Roadblock 1 & 2 (SAM Awareness, Proving ROI) are no real surprise. You might argue these points of all IT projects – but more general awareness of SAM and the ability to sell SAM as a concept to a non-technical audience is definitely an industry requirement. I will take this onboard with The ITAM Review and try to develop some non-technical SAM evangelism tools in the future.
  • Roadblocks 3, 4, 5 & 8 (Lack of resources, low priority) arguably all stem from 1&2 – projects would be supported properly and correctly prioritized if the concept is sold properly in the first place.
  • Roadblock 6 – Skills / Expertise – There is a real dearth of SAM expertise – demonstrated by high demand for SAM professionals. I believe this is partially linked to 9. Complexity in licensing programs. You could also link this to 1&2 – general operational SAM skills are required but also the ability to consult professionally the real life virtues of SAM.
  • As for roadblock 7 and 10 – the mind boggles. I don’t think there is any hope for these organizations!


  • Survey conducted with ITAM Review newsletter subscribers in October 2012
  • Countries participating: 32
  • Total participants: 176

Forrester SAM Study

The final report from Forrester is in final editing and will be published soon. Sign up to The ITAM Review newsletter to receive a copy. If you are reading this article after publication please refer to the ‘Downloads’ section in the monthly newsletter.


What do you think of these 13 roadblocks? what can the industry do as a whole to address these issues?

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.

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