Today, no one would choose to live in a cave. Centuries of progress and development have created a quality of life that few people would be prepared to relinquish in favour of an experience from the past. This desire for progress filters through many aspects of our professional and personal lives, benefitting our work or pleasure.

Often, progress is driven by need, adding substance to the adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Until recently, invention was one quality that had been lacking in products designed to help companies or organisations establish their software licensing status and compliance position.

This lack of innovation is unfortunate, because good Software Asset Management (SAM) practice enables companies to avoid financial penalties if their software is unmanaged, reduces the support costs for out of date or incompatible software and improves competitive advantage by exploiting the business benefits that up to date software enables.

In fact, according to research by Gartner Group, organisations that employ effective SAM solutions, can realise savings between 5% and 35% on their IT budget. It can have a significant impact on maintenance costs, too, with a Forrester report estimating that these can make up 26% of a company’s software expenses.

If one word is set to define the business agenda for the next twelve months, it is savings. The coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is forcing cuts in the public sector, while changes to the National Health Service’s procurement model will demand meticulous processes and solutions that drive increased efficiency and optimised use of existing assets.

Despite the pressing need to make savings and realise the efficiencies that can be achieved through good SAM practice, it’s not surprising that some organisations find the process daunting. The tools available historically, have been patched-up IT asset management solutions, hastily and poorly re-engineered for today’s SAM challenge. For too long, organisations have therefore struggled to effectively address their SAM challenge.

Using products not designed for the task has exposed some organisations and enterprises to costs and legal actions that could have been avoided if the SAM solution they used was designed for the task at hand. In the current climate, it is border-line reckless not to have an effective solution in place that delivers an accurate assessment of your Effective License Position.

Today, good SAM practise can be achieved with less time, money and effort than was possible in the past, thanks to new solutions that have been designed specifically to help organisations with their SAM challenge. The new products driving the SAM revolution feature traditional ITAM functionality with very strong hardware and software discovery, inventory and software delivery. They enable all critical data to be conveniently contained in one SAM database, adhering to SAM best practices and meeting recognised industry and government standards.

Using Web 2.0 technologies and a mixture of agent and agent-less technologies to maximise the best functionality where appropriate, they make it easy to address all the critical elements; discovery, inventory, software delivery, metering and licence management and compliance.

The issue of SAM isn’t going away, but the new solutions are the gateway to renewed efficiencies, tangible cost-savings, measureable ROI, and a far more effectively maintained software license management program. Budget cuts and savings are the order of the day; using anything else other than a product optimised for such an important task, is akin to discarding progress, and making a regressive move into a cave.