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Stop blaming the SAM tool. Do not repeat these six mistakes

The reason your SAM tool isn't working for you isn't because there's no silver bullet. Let's cut through the noise and face the truth: either you didn't do your homework, or you knew there was no silver bullet and still didn't do your homework.

Snow SoftwareFlexeraCerteroLicense Dashboard, and even ServiceNow offer decent tools. Yes, each has its limitations, but so what? You'll achieve incredible results if you treat them as the foundation for your SAM solution. But if you only buy a tool, failure is guaranteed.

Here are the top reasons your tool fails you and what you can do about it:

1. You Bought a Tool, Not a Solution

Did you lay out your exact goals? Did you delve into your software metrics in-depth? Did you jot down specific micro-level objectives you want your tool to address? If you bypassed these steps and merely spent money on something to help you save on cloud costs or manage licences in broad terms, you've missed the mark.

First, familiarise yourself with your infrastructure, software metrics, and issues. Create a heat map and a detailed action plan. Only then should you go to market.

2. You Expected Too Much

Absolutely, start by examining the tool's strengths. Then, get a clear picture of its limitations and adjust your expectations accordingly. Be ready to create workarounds. Don't take marketing materials at face value; dissect them. Engage with the community and ask precise questions. For example, a vague question like "Does it handle Oracle middleware?" isn't enough. You should be asking, "Does it recognise components deployed by Oracle Enterprise Manager?"

Cut through the abstract, high-level jargon of salesmen. Tools require quality data and a reliable way to acquire it.

3. You Chose the Tool by Its Price

Do we even need to discuss this? If you open it up to bids without specifying your exact, unique requirements, vendors will naturally compete on price. But let's be clear: cheaper isn't better. It should be common sense, but apparently, it's not. Opting for a more affordable tool that actually addresses your specific issues is the smarter move.

4. You Invested in a Tool, Not a Complete Solution

Did you budget only for the tool? That's not just a mistake; it's a setup for failure. Don't fool yourself into thinking a tool is all you need. Plan and budget for the entire solution. That means accounting for infrastructure changes, security measures, connectors, databases, and, let's not forget—the team to keep it all running. Tools don't operate in isolation; they're one piece of a larger puzzle. So, ditch the tool-only budget and allocate for a full-fledged solution.

5. You Didn't Implement It Properly

I've seen it too many times—tools installed and then configured in a less-than-ideal way, followed by complaints that the tool isn't working. The issue isn't with the tool; it's with how you're using it. If you're collecting data from virtual servers but haven't set up the VMware connectors, you're only getting half the picture, which is essentially useless.

6. You Don't Maintain It Regularly

Your infrastructure won't stay the same, and your tool needs to keep up. Deploy a new cluster or cloud service and don't have automated discovery? Then, it's on you to manually configure the connectors. Neglect this, and you're essentially flying blind—you lose sight of that part of your infrastructure, can't track compliance or costs, and compromise decision-making. So, who's at fault then? Is it the tool?

The Cost of Inaction

Let's be clear: wasting money is never a good idea, but doing so in the current climate is even more detrimental. If you fail to understand the problems you're trying to solve, take the wrong approach to acquisition, or implement your tool incompletely, you're not just wasting resources—you're adding dead weight to your operations.

So, What's the Next Step?

If You've Already Bought a Tool:

  1. Assess and Plan: Evaluate the tool's shortcomings and draft an action plan to address them.

  2. Finalise Deployment: Make sure the tool is fully deployed and operational.

  3. Build Workarounds: Identify areas where the tool falls short and develop workarounds. Future updates might fix these issues, but can you afford to wait?

  4. Secure Budget: Create a business case to secure the necessary budget for these improvements. Make it clear what the business stands to gain.

For Those Yet to Make a Purchase:

  1. Conduct a Strategic SAM and Licensing Assessment: Forget exhaustive Enterprise License Position reports. What you need is a focused assessment that produces a heat map of your issues and recommends a granular action plan.

  2. Ask the Tough Questions: When you go to market, don't settle for vague promises. Ask pointed questions that get to the heart of what you need.

  3. Prepare for Shortcomings: No solution is perfect. Anticipate the limitations and be ready with a list of workarounds.

  4. Assemble Your Team: Make sure you have a competent team ready to implement and manage the solution.

  5. Budget Wisely: Once you've done all this, then—and only then—should you set your budget.

By following these steps, you're not just buying a tool; you're investing in a solution that will serve you well now and in the future.

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