The ITAM Review

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

ITAM in 2019: Leadership, Networking and saving $120m – by George Arezina, 2018 ITAM Professional of the Year

This article has been contributed by George Arezina, Head of Global Software Asset Management at F. Hoffman La Roche AG2018 ITAM Professional of the Year Award Winner

George Arezina

George Arezina, Head of Global Software Asset Management at F. Hoffman La Roche AG – 2018 ITAM Professional of the Year Award Winner

George Arezina

Innovation is at the root of every progression. It is for this reason that I have continually pushed for SAM projects that focus on driving change.

Having acquired over a decade of experience in SAM and a deep understanding of software license costs and risks, I have had the opportunity to work on countless projects where I have developed software policies in order to establish robust governance models and implement long-term management strategies that reduce risk and software spend for Roche.

Navigating an ever-changing world of SAM means that innovation is necessary to evolve, therefore my approach has always been to emphasise and place change at the forefront of my efforts, whilst still ensuring that my skill set and experience are not only applicable to the world of SAM, but are also being shared with stakeholders and direct reports to better educate and enable them to reap the benefits of SAM.

Recognising Excellence

In 2016, Roche won the ITAM Review Project of the Year award and was awarded second place at SAMS Europe conference in 2017. Through planning and defining a six-phased strategy with accurate collection and organization as the centrality of every stage, we worked diligently to secure a foundation for success. Our main objectives for the SAM Initiative were to reduce the total cost ownership, improve forecast demand accuracy, implement standard global processes and tools to automate license control, ensure compliance and provide global software license services and optimisation. The strategic approach has resulted in saving Roche over 120 million dollars’ in software spend, with the financial savings achieved being applied to fund future clinical trials, and in turn producing lifesaving medication.

Networking – The SAM Forum Switzerland

My individual priority was to build a platform and create a space which would allow myself and others to exchange and share knowledge to bridge the gap between the world of SAM and the management of IT assets in the Cloud. In 2018, I started the SAM forum in Switzerland with the objective of bringing together SAM managers from different organizations to share their current Cloud management strategies and address their experiences in managing SaaS software licensing and compliance. The SAM forum gives industry peers a platform to collaborate and exchange issues, share solutions and discuss in a secure and vendor and/or provider free environment. This allows the members to benefit from combined knowledge of all participating companies. The forum acts under Chatham House rules.

The SAM forum includes leading multi- nationals that share the same complexity and similar challenges as Roche, such as Novartis, Takeda, Sanofi, Nestle, Philip Morris International, BMW, ABB, ING Bank, Metro AG, Heidelberg Cement, Panalpina. The next SAM Forum will be hosted by ING Bank in April 2019 and will continue to take place bi-annually.


Axel-Knut Bethkenhagen – IT Governance at BMW Group – “SAM cloud workshop was a pleasure to attend”

Florent Lea – IT Asset Manager at Nestle AG – “Thanks again for organizing this session, it was very interesting and well organized”

It is this exchanging of information that is responsible for nurturing education and growth of ITAM, therefore it has always been important for me to maintain an active role. This was why I decided in 2017 to become an active member in the WG21 ITAM ISO group which enables me to assist in preparing standards that positively impact the ITAM market, as well as support the industry in the uptake of ITAM & SAM standards. I’m also the co-editor to 19770-10 (IT Asset Management System – Guidance) and actively participate in two other Study Groups (IoT Study Group – led by Matt Marnell and Evangelism led by Martin Thompson).

ITAM Strategy at Roche

In terms of IT Asset Management at Roche, adopting new technologies comes at the expense of solid strategy. For Software Asset Management (SAM) this means finding new ways of saving money, remaining compliant, and being flexible whilst supporting Roche’s Global Infrastructure & Solutions organization move to the cloud.

A solid understanding of our cloud data, provides the foundation for long-term (SAM) strategy. Data has always been a critical piece of the SAM puzzle. As software migrates to the cloud, the data relationships change and SAM needs to evolve to handle the complexity and be in the forefront.

In coming months, you’ll be hearing more from me on SaaS & Cloud licensing topics, stay tuned for now, and may the SAM force be with you.

This article has been contributed by George Arezina, Head of Global Software Asset Management at F. Hoffman La Roche AG2018 ITAM Professional of the Year Award Winner

Are you interested in setting up similar networking groups in your city? Please contact us! Thanks, Martin 

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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