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Cloud Management / Software Asset Management – a delineation

The notion that purchasing a SAM tool ensured proper SAM; that, if done correctly, this SAM approach could minimize risk and aid in planning software usage has prevailed in the market for many years.

For cloud services, cloud service providers confirm software usage (consumption).

Sounds good – in the future we will not need a SAM tool nor a SAM team, right? Not entirely. The use of cloud services requires a very complex and completely different view of IT license management. So, license management or even software asset management is still necessary.

Aside from the fact that it will take a long time for any software to be relocated to or from the cloud, software asset management, at least for software on premise, will retain its old-world existence.

IT License Management is more than inventory

The new risk of cloud use is that of permanent over-licensing because the cloud operator indicates, tracks, logs and documents each usage to generate its billing. Under-licensing and auditing risk – null.

The focus shifts more to user behavior. Who uses what, who needs what, and especially: who doesn’t use or need something anymore?

This affects the order, the reservation and the return of licenses. The software asset management moves back a little closer to the special interest groups and their business purpose, because their demands on flexibility, cost consciousness and further determine the basis for the contract parameters.

From backward tracking and evaluation, IT license management is changing towards future-oriented, constant needs assessments. And that can be even more demanding than the existing inventory because it must deal with different data related to different manufacturer specifications - data that may not have been considered measurable or necessary until now.

Software Asset Management becomes User Mangement

New calculation aspects to be assessed:

  • Time (monthly, daily)
  • Power (IO, Memory, CPU performance)
  • Users (multiple sign-in devices, IMAC, LDAP maintenance)

Software Asset Management becomes user management. Other IT disciplines suddenly become the focus of license management for cloud use: LDAP-AD administration, IT procurement, IT security.

And the identification of the individual user after authentication (clear name, e-mail address) by the provider must not be forgotten. For every single user of Office365 - thus everyone. Should not the involvement of the works council be considered because of the possibility to measure individual user performance (de facto metering)? Or about privacy because of the disclosure of personal information to third parties?

Technologically, an extension of the interfaces is required to determine actual use, for example by so-called cloud tracking, but also for IO and other performance surveys or for verifying indirect usage. Is the existing technology sufficient, must it be renewed, replaced or merely supplemented?

While asking yourself these questions, please remember the update to the SAP licensing model, from the personal named user to volume licensing to processing jobs - and suddenly robots and machines become license demand generators. And whoosh we have, technologically speaking, arrived at Industry 4.0, with closed, cascading networks and machine software, but that will be discussed elsewhere.

SAM can be much more than compliance

Considering this and the continuous cloud usage updates, it is obvious that SAM is more, and can do more than compliance. My colleague, Dr. Jan Hachenberger, points this out in his article in Computerwoche as well.

Indeed, the technological changes and challenges of using cloud services are shifting software asset management and IT license management. If you are thinking or large or small steps to take in the future, please let us know. We are happy to help you plan your IT Roadmap.

About the Author


Lawyer and Data Protection Officer (TÜV) for EU-GSPR, Marco Widlok has been active in the IT industry since 2006. As an expert in software asset management specialized in licensing law, he has extensive experience in the field of strategic process analysis and consulting. Marco is available to companies of all sizes as a consultant for license management, copyright and licensing law (for Microsoft and other e-level manufacturers), as well as audit preparation and follow-up. 

06.06.2018, ©ConSalt Unternehmensberatung GmbH, all Rights reserved.




  • #Cloud
  • #Cloud Computing
  • #Cloud Management
  • #Cloud Readiness
  • #SAM
  • #Software Asset Management

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