UK organisations are in a sea of confusion when it comes to the risks and complexities of software asset management (SAM), according to research from the Software Industry Research Board (SIRB).
The research commissioned by SIRB, and conducted by market watcher IDC, put the increased costs, risk and complexity of SAM down to a "disconnect" between procurement and IT staff.
Andy Burton, chairman of the SIRB, said: “There is a disconnection between business management and IT departments over who owns SAM and licence compliance. Procurement is clearly buying software, but after the contract is signed sees SAM as a board-level responsibility; in contrast, IT sees it as no more than an IT function.”
According to the research 75 per cent of organisations surveyed claim to have a formal SAM strategy, however confusion sets in when respondents were asked who is responsible for it.
Nearly half (47 per cent) believe it is the IT director, 16 per cent think it is the chief technical officer, 16 per cent cited their line managers, 10 per cent procurement and 9 per cent stated chief information officer.
John Lovelock, chief executive of The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS) said: “Companies cannot afford in these straitened economic times to continue to over purchase software licenses. This is one of the most compelling arguments for adopting effective SAM policies.”
The survey found that on average IT professionals and business managers have not had sufficient training to ensure that software assets are managed effectively.
Over 47 per cent of those surveyed stated that the only training they had received was little more than ad hoc and 17 per cent had no training at all. Only 21 per cent of organisations have a formal training programme, according to the research.
Julia Uttley, director for software lifecycle services at corporate reseller Computacenter, said: “It is important businesses recognise that SAM is fundamental to both risk and cost avoidance.
“We see organisations routinely over-spending on software simply because they do not have the right measures in place to give them confidence that they are firstly exploiting what they own before they buy more and secondly, have control of compliance.”
In addition the findings revealed that confusion also exists in the tracking and management of licenses, with 42 per cent of businesses stating it was the responsibility of one person. Some 35 per cent claimed it was the role of two or more people and 22 per cent believed no one had been assigned that duty.
Petra Van Beneden, senior director for EMEA licence management services at Oracle concluded: “We recommend that setting a SAM policy needs to be a Board level responsibility, due to the high level of the risk implications.
“This by no means diminishes the critical role that IT and procurement plays in the overall SAM programme. But both departments need to not only fully engage, but work in sync.”
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