Speaking of choosing a SAM/ITAM tool again, do you find Gartner's Magic Quadrant for SAM tools, or its equivalent from ITAM Review, useful in making a purchasing decision?

I have been thinking about it recently, and my feelings here are a bit mixed.

If a high-level review/rating/comparison is used as the primary source in decision making by an outsider to the SAM world, it may be risky. And I even extend the definition of an "outsider" to those mature IT experts who have zero or very limited experience actually managing compliance plus software costs ("plus", not "and" – compliance and costs go together).

If a tool vendor is a "visionary", what's in it for you? Are you happy waiting for "visionary" promises to be fulfilled? If a tool has a hypothetical rating 4.7 in managing Oracle, what does it tell you? Does it at least measure the exact metrics relevant to the applications deployed in your infrastructure? Can it identify bundled components versus licensable instances in the software that you have deployed? If a tool can "manage cloud costs", would you not want the vendor to elaborate, and demonstrate how it will work in your existing cloud deployment? One cannot afford to be led by generic statements and high-level KPIs when they have to run day-to-day operations and watch the costs, especially in the Cloud and *aaS.

On the other hand, the ratings like these are not useless, I am not saying that! I find them valuable and always study them carefully, including every single detail, point, methodology.

Firstly, an independent rating may be a good starting point in your search for a tool. Secondly, it helps SAM/ITAM professionals to keep their hand on the pulse of what's going on with the tool world. It helps to see a vendor progressing rapidly from the point of complete uselessness to becoming one of the leaders. So next time, their tool may be considered one of the top of the list. But would I recommend buying that vendor's tool just because of their rapid progress? Big, fat "No". I would only recommend it if it delivers on the SAM programme goals in your particular circumstances. And thirdly, if in the end of your research you end up with more than one tool that works for you, you may make your final decision based on the MQ's KPIs. All in all, if you want to invest in something for at least a 3-year term, you may want to invest in a leader.

Take it with a pinch of salt though. If you search LinkedIn and other public sources, you may find quite a few unhappy responses to such reviews from the tool vendors. I advise to read those too. Nobody's perfect. No evaluation methodology is perfect either.

And by the way, there is another tool of Gartner, Peer Reviews, which I find useful: https://www.gartner.com/reviews/market/software-asset-management-tools As usual, I'd advise to take these with a pinch of salt too but their practical value in decision making, in my opinion, is higher than the MQ's.

Would you agree? Please post your opinion here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sam-tool-ratings-any-good-alexander-golev/

Alexander GolevTimur Sabaev
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