Sam, Sam, pick up thee ITIL……

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Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

I was at a FAST-sponsored
CEO roundtable on Wednesday around Software Asset Management (SAM)
– the previous FAST Roundtable in the series
is written up here.
An interesting discussion was had by all, including representatives from
Microsoft anti-piracy, FAST, the BSA,
several end-user customers and, of course, SAM

Now, I’m all in favour of asset management and, indeed, configuration
management systems. Unless you know what IT assets you have and what (changing)
state they are in, any IT governance you claim is built on sand. With good
asset and configuration management, you can take business risks your
less-well-governed competition can’t afford to (because they can’t identify,
let alone manage the risk), you can use your resources more effectively – and you
can eliminate the scourge of “shelfware” (all, potentially, quantifiable
business benefits). Without it – well if you don’t know what software is running
on your computers, how can you claim any sort of IT security, with a straight
face, for a start.

However, it became apparent fairly quickly that (outside of
the roundtable participants) there’s a very immature attitude to SAM
around in the general community. For a start, most people probably don’t do SAM
(as part of the configuration management process and with identified business
benefits) at all. They do “commercial licence management” with no benefit aside
from compliance and avoidance of the civil penalties associated with

But commercial license management is purely a benefit to the
vendors and “should” be (in my opinion) a service (an opportunity for SaaS, “Software
as a Service”) provided, at no cost to the customer, by the vendors.

This is something for businesses to think about as they
contemplate buying licence management software and the hardware, databases etc
it runs on. They should also think about any Open Source licences they’ve
signed up for – assuming that they’re aware of all the Open Source software
assets used by the business. Open Source licences have teeth – and perhaps
lawyers are beginning to see Open Source licensing as an opportunity (I
certainly would). Are your Open Source
licences managed? It’s not just MS Office
you have to worry about. You might like to read this this
IT Analysis piece on the issues around supporting Open Source Software.

And, perhaps they might think about implementing a proper
Configuration Management System (which is the basis for ITIL v3). As it happens 🙂 I’m involved in a joint BCS
CMSG and itSMF conference in this area, “The
CMDB and CMS – the Powerhouse Of Service
, being held at Olympia
on 8 & 9 July 2008). With luck, and
good management (mostly good management), this will deliver real business
benefit – and licence compliance will just “fall out” of the mix as an
incidental benefit.