It has been a little over a year since I started a new role at Microsoft as General Manager of Worldwide Software Asset Management and Compliance. During that time, I have met with partner organizations from around the world to discuss the benefits of Software Asset Management. What became apparent in these conversations is that there is a misperception around Software Asset Management and Compliance Audits.
Bringing SAM and Compliance into Context
At Microsoft, we’re committed to helping organizations maximize value, minimize risks, and achieve more with their IT investments. We recognize the importance of clear guidelines and support for our customers to reach their goals as easily as possible.
What is the difference between a SAM engagement and a Compliance audit at Microsoft?
The core difference is that Microsoft SAM programs are voluntary services designed around industry standards that help customers gain data insights, optimize licensing, minimize risks, and be more productive with their IT investments.
A compliance audit is a mandatory review of a company’s use of Microsoft’s products and services designed to help customers achieve and maintain license compliance and to protect Microsoft intellectual property rights. These compliance verifications are initiated across less than 5% of Microsoft’s licensing customers worldwide. Read more here.
What are the benefits of SAM Programs for my business?
Implementing a SAM program can help organizations save on cost and free up time and resources to focus on accelerating their digital transformation journey. These benefits are significant to the long-term success of businesses and are worthy of a closer look.
By eliminating waste and empowering IT departments to centralize licensing contract management, IT managers understand their software inventory better and can streamline operations and gain efficiency.
My favorite story demonstrating this is from Wylie Wong of FedTech Magazine, who said NASA has saved over $100M over the last 6 years by implementing SAM best practices across their divisions. With a little work up front, they have seen a huge change as they embrace digital transformation across their business and seen significant cost savings as a result.
Accelerated Cloud Adoption
In many cases, the insight learned from optimizing inventory often shows that even more money can be saved by moving to cloud solutions, creating the much-needed impetus to grow into digital.
A great example of cloud adoption as a positive by-product of SAM is this recent case study from our team in the UK. In it, the CIO of Care UK talks about how a Microsoft SAM program helped his team implement Power BI across their business, enabling decision makers in the company to have real-time data at their fingertips via the cloud.
Another benefit lies in compatibility and security. The business owners and partners I speak with say SAM helps them sleep a little better at night, as our programs help them mitigate risks associated with products that do not receive regular updates. Ensuring their company infrastructure and workforce are all using software that’s compatible across the board goes a long way to keeping their business secure and booming.
With the need for increasing levels of cyber security on the rise as well, SAM engagements have proved invaluable in identifying holes in IT infrastructures which could have proved costly had they been penetrated by criminal elements.
Business confidence is further boosted by knowing that a solid SAM plan can help them recover quickly should their business suffer any kind of outage. Disaster recovery can be expedited if there is a centralized inventory of software and offsite data backups have been set up correctly.
Where can I learn more about SAM and Compliance at Microsoft so I can educate my team on what to expect?
We believe on-going communication and dialogue is crucial to the success of SAM and Compliance at Microsoft, so we have revamped the SAM website on Microsoft.com which helps to provide clarity on SAM, how companies can benefit from our best practices and procedures, providing details about our Software Asset Management programs, and a suite of tools and proven use-cases to help businesses efficiently and confidently get the most from the service.
As we head into planning for the next fiscal year at Microsoft, I’m personally relishing the opportunity to build on the roadmap we have drawn up for the SAM community and to work with customers and partners to reduce friction and increase predictability. To learn more about how SAM can help your business grow, I encourage you to attend a couple sessions on SAM at Microsoft Inspire.
What questions do you have regarding SAM and Compliance at Microsoft? How having SAM best practices helped your business grow? Share your thoughts in the comments below.