Cloud adoption is starting to drive increased investment in SAM

The adoption of cloud computing has had a transformative impact on businesses and been one of the driving forces behind the digital transformation journeys of many organisations over the past decade.

Recent research commissioned by BSA Verafirm, for example, reveals that 91% of UK SMEs have started, or are planning to start, digital transformation and that most have already moved applications to the cloud as part of their digital transformation journey.

A significant proportion of these businesses will soon rely completely on cloud computing to maintain their operations, with a quarter (24%) moving or planning to move all systems and processes to the cloud. Another 27% of these businesses, meanwhile, are using public cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, and the same proportion again are deploying or planning to deploy a mix of private and public cloud applications.

Cloud adoption is starting to drive SAM investment, yet many businesses don’t have a SAM strategy
The mainstream adoption of cloud computing has led to the proliferation of software applications and subscription-based services that come with different licensing models and terms of agreement. This has created further complexities for businesses, demanding a stronger focus on Software Asset Management as a way to manage the plethora of software assets available via the cloud.

As a result, we’re starting to see an increased investment in Software Asset Management (SAM) from organisations. Our research revealed that more than a third (36%) of UK businesses are planning to update their Software Asset Management (SAM) processes to reflect their growing use of cloud computing services. This is highest among those that have started or completed their digital transformation journey, compared with those that haven’t.

Despite some progress being made, however, almost a quarter (23%) of the businesses who have started or are planning to start their digital transformation journey either don’t manage their software assets proactively or don’t know anything about them. This rises to 44% of those that haven’t yet started their digital transformation journeys. These are concerning figures in an increasingly ‘cloudy’ world, given that poor software asset management can expose businesses to cyber security risks, not to mention compliance issues and operational inefficiencies.

Tips for building a successful cloud SAM strategy
To avoid the potential pitfalls that can come with a software-driven world, SMEs do need to prioritise building a successful Software Asset Management strategy for cloud applications and environments. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • Audit your cloud-based software assets: First and foremost, a good Software Asset Management strategy is based on getting a clear view of your software assets. This is why auditing the software assets inventory of your organisation is key. When auditing cloud-based applications, it’s important to collect key information for each licensing agreement such as the number of users accessing the software and the number of processors on the device hosting the application. It’s also important to check the specific product usage rights for operating in virtualisated environments, i.e. whether you have a hybrid licensing model, allowing for dual-usage in both the cloud and on-premises.
  • Bring everything together: The next step is to create a central repository with all key information about your cloud software applications and licensing agreements. This will enable you to get a holistic view of what assets are available and which licences are due for upgrade or renewal. Having a consolidated view of all software assets will help drive important business decisions about optimising IT costs more effectively and will allow you to identify areas that require further investment.
  • Create a cloud Software Asset Management strategy: Once you have audited all your cloud applications and determined whether you’ve got the right licensing agreements for your business, it’s important to start thinking strategically about how your company uses cloud applications. For instance, are you using multiple providers for the same type of cloud application across different departments within the business? Are there more cost-effective subscription options that you can consider without compromising on service quality and security? Do you need to phase out any of your existing subscriptions if they are no longer required? What type of SaaS applications are you planning to invest in the next 12 months? To answer these questions, we recommend looking at your cloud and SaaS expenses and starting with those providers who represent the biggest proportion of your cost. Then you can move down the list of suppliers and determine your key cloud software priorities for the next 1-2 years.

By following these simple steps, you will be able to ensure you are planning for the future in a way that helps you optimise IT spend while simultaneously making the most of your cloud applications. If you want to learn more about how to build a successful software licensing strategy for cloud applications, please visit