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SAM programs must include R&D departments

4/30/2012

Software asset management professional Natalie Overstreet Lias recently wrote an article for the blog Enterprise License Optimization, making the case for including research and development departments in enterprise-level SAM projects.

R&D departments often operate at a remove from a company's central IT, Lias noted. She wrote that IT departments logically concentrate their SAM efforts on products that are most commonly used within a company, such as application software like Microsoft Word or server-based Oracle software. However, R&D departments have very different computing needs. For example, they might be running Linux systems while most workers in a business are using Windows. Because of this, IT departments sometimes overlook or exclude R&D when it comes to software management. Lias sees this as a potentially big mistake.

Although R&D might not be the biggest department, it frequently employs engineers who use software that is much more expensive than standard desktop programs. Because of this, R&D's software licensing and maintenance needs can sometimes account for a high percentage of overall IT budgets, according to Lias.

She also pointed out that engineers often have the technical savvy to acquire programs that are not authorized by IT, but because they are usually not involved in the software contract process, they may not be aware of the financial risks associated with noncompliance.

"Even in cases where an organization has an agreement with a software publisher, engineers often think in terms of site-wide licensing and may not consider that their individual actions can affect overall budget," Lias wrote.

IT pros who are looking to institute an effective SAM program might consider another recent post on ELO, which identified some key elements in promoting an SAM initiative. These elements included the identification of stakeholders and the establishment of a clear communication plan during the program's implementation.