7+ Essential SAM Best Practices

SaaS Management

Vendr | Optimize vendor performance
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Vendr Team
Published on
September 23, 2020
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Want to get the most out of your Software Asset Management (SAM) tool?

You’ve come to the right place – in this guide, we’re going to teach you all the SAM best practices.

Everything about how to choose the right tool, build a strong SAM team, and more!

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What’s Software Asset Management (SAM)
  • 7+ Software Asset Management Best Practices
  • How to Use vendr For SAM

What’s Software Asset Management (SAM)

Software asset management (SAM) is a system with which you can manage, control, and protect all software assets of your company.

Most organizations use dozens, hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of different software tools to manage your business.

And in a lot of cases, you’ll end up getting software that you’re:

  • Under-Using. You buy the software, but not all of your employees end up using it.
  • Over-Paying. You buy a software license that you don’t actually need, and end up overpaying.
  • Forgetting. You stop using a given tool, and someone forgets to cancel your license, so you end up overspending.

So, to avoid all this, you need to use a SAM tool.

Using a SAM tool, you optimize software usage, cut on costs, minimize risk, and enhance the efficiency of your business operations.

Want to learn more about the best practices of SAM tools? Read on!

Software asset management is a subset of IT asset management (ITAM), a type of software that helps you manage both your hardware and software assets.

7+ Software Asset Management (SAM) Best Practices

These best practices can help you choose the right tools for your company’s needs and build a proper SAM strategy.

1. Choose the Right Tool

There are lots of SAM tool options on the market. So, choosing the best one for your company’s needs can take some research.

When you’re looking into the different options, it’s important to know what features and functionality you’re looking for in the SAM tool.

Some important features that your SAM tool should include are:

Software discovery

Your SAM tool will ideally recognize all sorts of new software that’s added to the company’s software asset inventory, alongside all relevant data (pricing, billing dates, etc).

License management

Figure out if the SAM tool you want to deploy has an advanced license management feature. License optimization, contract expiration dates, and vendor audit request features can make license management and compliance much easier.

Measurement and reporting

Your SAM tool should be able not only to collect information but also give you valuable insights on your operational and financial metrics. Such reports can help you manage your SaaS applications better and optimize their usage.


When you’re choosing your SAM tool, think about how it fits in your long-term plans. If you’re in a growing company, choose a SAM tool that can scale up along with the organization.

In this case, a tool that can support multiple SaaS apps from different departments, locations, and platforms is a much more useful asset.


Make sure the SAM tool you choose is flexible. This means you should be able to customize it and easily integrate it with your organization’s already existing applications.

On the same note, make sure that the SAM tool integrates with all the tools you’re currently using.

Not sure if you need a SAM tool? These 10 essential SAM benefits will convince you!

2. Build a Strong SAM Team

A software asset management tool can automate some processes for you but that’s not enough.

Good leadership is essential for achieving your SAM goals.

You’ll need either a dedicated team or individual who’s going to be in charge of your SAM processes.

This includes:

  • Teaching your employees the new SAM processes including procurement, licensing, etc.
  • On an ongoing basis, keeping track of your app usage and discovering software that you might be overpaying for, or not using at all.
  • Ensuring that you’re using the right software licenses for your business needs.

3. Get Support From Senior Management

Speaking of building a good SAM team, you should get a C-level manager to lead it.

Having a senior on the team gives you more credibility and will help you keep all stakeholders well-informed on your SAM strategy.

After all, not all of them will understand why you need a software asset management system in the first place and a senior’s expertise will help to clearly communicate your goals.

To get an executive on your side, approach them in the early stages of your SAM initiative and build a strong business case of all the benefits you get by managing your software tools through a centralized SAM tool.

4. Categorize All Software Assets

Use the discovery and inventory features of your SAM tool to get the complete list of all the software that’s currently present on your company’s devices.

This will help you discover all the software you’re not really using (or have a duplicate of).

Also, once you get this list you can categorize the software in 3 categories:

  • High-priority. Software with the highest costs, higher compliance risks, and high impact on your business.
  • Low-priority. Free software that doesn’t cost anything.
  • Blacklisted. That’s software with malware or with no license that should be cleared out from usage.

5. Develop and Implement Procurement Policies

To make sure there are no overlaps between new and existing software, you should set up well-defined procurement policies.

Whenever an employee submits a purchasing request, someone from the SAM team should check if you already have some software with similar features in your inventory.

Such a policy will prevent duplicate app subscriptions with similar features and will ensure better control of what software is added to the company’s inventory.

6. Recycle Software Licenses

Recycling software licenses can help you cut on license costs and maintenance fees.

When you offboard someone, you can recycle their old accounts and give them to a new employee.

This ensures thay you don’t accidentally buy new licenses when the old ones are active but unused.

7. Be Ready for Audit at All Times

A SAM tool keeps a record of all your license usage, configurations, and updates, ensuring that you comply with all software licenses you purchase.

This way, when the time for a software audit comes, you’ll be prepared.

Without a SAM tool in place, it can take you up to a month and 1-2 employees to assemble all the documentation needed for a software audit. This results in much more time and money spent on the process.

Also, using a software asset management system gives you more credibility since your software usage is more transparent and you can avoid software license fines.

And these fines are not a joke – they can go up to $150,000 for each software copy that’s not licensed properly.

With the SAM tool, you can prevent this from happening by using 2 types of analysis:

  • Gap analysis. Identify all software that’s currently used within your company and the ones that lack a proper license.
  • Compliance analysis. See the over-licensed and under-licensed software.

8. Measure SAM Success

To understand whether your SAM strategy is successful, you can choose a few KPIs that you can track over time.

You can also present them to different stakeholders and key figures in your company when asked for such a report.

For example, you can track things like:

  • The percentage of software that’s actively used in your company.
  • The ratio between purchased licenses and unused licenses.
  • The percentage of recycled licenses and their monetary value.

Use Vendr For SAM

Are you still wondering which tool encompasses all these features and will offer both the scalability and flexibility you’re looking for?

Try Vendr – a SAM and SaaS management solution!

This comprehensive SAM tool supports all the functions you need to manage your software assets successfully.

Some of the key features you get with Vendr include:

  • Automated software discovery. The app automatically discovers all new software added to the company’s system, who is using it, and how much you spend on it.
  • Vendor management. Track invoices, manage license renewals, automate approvals, and view your compliance.
  • Usage and spend tracking. Discover duplicate app subscriptions, inactive accounts, and extra licenses.
  • Security and compliance. Be always prepared for a software audit and escape the hefty fines by maintaining a transparent record of compliance.

Key Takeaways

Software asset management is a must when it comes to efficiently managing all the apps your company is using.

However, make sure you choose a SAM tool that offers lots of useful features, integrations with the tools you’re currently using, and flexibility to integrate it with new software.

A multifunctional and robust SAM tool can make a big difference by cutting costs, streamlining all your software asset management processes, and optimizing SaaS usage.

Now that you know all the SAM best practices, all you have to do is implement your SAM tool, and you’re good to go!

Vendr Team
Vendr Team
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Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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