As technology advances, companies are increasingly using software and hardware assets within their organizations.
Managing such assets is paramount for companies since they come with a cost, the need to stay in compliance with licenses, and so forth.
An ineffective software asset management strategy could result in inefficient expenditures and the continued use of outdated assets and software.
The process of manually managing each of them can be quite time-consuming and tedious.
Luckily, there are many ways through which you can manage your software stack today. This article will point out some of the most relevant ones.
What is software asset management (SAM)?
The software asset management (SAM) business practice involves managing and optimizing the acquisition, deployment, use, maintenance, and disposal of software applications within an organization.
Following are some examples of the kinds of software your company might need across departments and that might be a part of your SAM:
- Content management systems (CMS) software
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Recruitment software
- Call tracking software apps
- Sales analytics software
Software stacks: why companies need to manage them
Many factors explain the need for companies to manage their software stack. In this article, we list a few of the most important ones.
Having a clear, overall overview of all the software you use in your organization helps you understand and identify which applications are used the most and which represent more of a cost than a benefit. Therefore, by leveraging the most commonly used software, your business will be able to improve its efficiency and productivity.
Prevent problems by identifying them in advance
The software stack also allows you to determine whether you or your team are encountering problems with the use of some software.
If you identify these types of problems, you can take the necessary steps, such as switching to better software or upgrading it, and thereby avoid spending time and effort on the inefficiency of the current software.
Plan ahead for contract renewals and negotiations
Almost all software is subject to renewal and contract negotiations.
Unless your subscription is automatically renewed, not knowing when to renew the subscription and letting the subscription expire could reduce the efficiency of some of your business activities depending on how you use the software.
By having a clear understanding of all the software you use, you will be able to know when you will need to renew your subscriptions, as well as the price of the subscriptions you will need to pay.
Ensure you are audit-ready at all times
An integrated view of all your technology assets will help you prepare for audits and effectively manage your license position for every software title and vendor.
Additionally, you’ll have a clear understanding of what your costs are and what they may be in the future.
Best 8 Ways to Manage your Software Stack
There are many ways in which you can manage your software stack effectively. Following are a few of the most important.
1. Manage your software stack with Zluri
One of the best ways to apply outstanding management practices is to manage your software stack with Zluri.
Zluri is a SaaS management platform that assists users in discovering, optimizing, and securing SaaS applications. It streamlines how IT services are delivered within an organization based on people, processes, budgets, and outcomes.
Using this application, you’d be able to manage third-party SaaS applications and their compliance and security in one place. This would give you and your IT team full control over your IT stack.
With Zluri, you can track your SaaS ecosystem, monitor, measure, and take control of your SaaS spend.
Moreover, Zluri offers a vendor management system that has all of the tools you need to manage a SaaS stack. It maintains a SaaS system of record by integrating with your core business system, and then it maintains your vendor life cycle using pre-defined workflows.
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2. Create a unified system of record
Many companies use multiple software applications within their organizations, and these are often provided by different stakeholders.
Even though decentralization can be beneficial, it can also have negative effects if you are not organized enough.
It is possible in such a case to keep track of all the software you use, along with their expiration dates, with a specific program, or you can do so by creating a detailed spreadsheet. This should contain:
- Current spend
- Date of contract renewal and expected expenditures
- Email address of sales representatives or account managers
- Overview of features and usage
3. Disable auto-renewal
Many software applications offer auto-renewal options as part of their subscription plans.
While it may seem convenient since you won’t have to remember when to renew your subscription, it can also have its downsides.
It might even happen that as you use more and more software, you lose track of the old ones, and you keep paying for software that you don’t even use.
You can imagine that this will only be an additional expense for your company, which can also be quite expensive.
One way to manage your software stack effectively is to turn off auto-renewal during the subscription process.
4. Be aware of overage costs in advance
A certain type of software offers different subscription plans based on the dimension of the company or the usage needs and preferences of the company.
If you subscribed to the cheapest plan for a small business, your license limits will eventually be exceeded when your business grows. If that’s the case, you may need to upgrade the plan at an additional cost.
Due to the above reasons, it is important, in terms of both cost and efficiency, to partner with SaaS companies that don’t penalize you for growth during your contract period and that want to grow along with you.
It is therefore important to consider this when choosing software for your organization so that you can better manage your software stack later on.
5. Monitor usage of software constantly
For proper software stack management, you must constantly monitor and track the usage of all software implemented within your company.
Identifying the most commonly used software at your company and those that are hardly or never used will help you make informed decisions.
Then you will be able to decide whether you should renew them, consider software alternatives, or upgrade those you and your team use most.
6. Implement new rules to prevent shadow IT
In large organizations, shadow IT refers to the use and management of IT technologies, solutions, services, projects, and infrastructure without the formal approval and support of internal IT departments.
Nevertheless, this can cause problems, because managing overall spending and provisioning licenses will become a nightmare. There is also no control over the data used by Shadow IT and where it is stored.
It is possible to prevent shadow IT from recurring by introducing new policies such as restricting employees’ ability to get new software, providing them with training on existing software, offering a feedback channel, and so on.
Moreover, many organizations create software review boards to review and approve any new proposed tool for compliance with financial, security, and regulatory requirements, and to check the proposal against the current software inventory to avoid duplicate spending or unnecessary applications.
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7. Report and review
All management processes, including software stack management, involve reporting and reviewing.
Following the implementation of strategies to address your software stack, you should continue monitoring the flow of your organization. For this to happen, you need to analyze and report on cost, efficiency, productivity, and other useful metrics related to the use of all the software implemented within your organization.
If you receive negative results, then you may need to reconsider your software management processes or how you are using and implementing software.
8. Get everyone on board
In order to guarantee adequate software stack management, software apps must be under the control of the entire company, which includes all teams.
Regular communication between your teams is essential to accommodating software use.
Without consistency throughout your organization, you can expect many systems to fail.
It is important that every department takes into account the success of the software they use most frequently. A poorly managed app service can negatively impact each department’s communication, budget, security, and efficiency without warning.
The purpose of software stack management is to manage the efficiency, costs, and quality of the use of software within an organization.
There are many ways in which you can effectively manage your software stack, as this blog post shows. You may choose one or another according to your preferences, needs, and availability of resources.
Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll be able to benefit from it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. We hope it was informative and helpful to you.