If you don’t know what software your organization owns and runs, you can’t use it effectively. An organization that achieves full awareness of how and where software assets are being used sets itself up to gain efficiencies. It also sees financial and security benefits.

The best path toward achieving this goal? The use of a software asset management (SAM) solution that allows IT personnel to precisely keep track of the deployment and utilization of software, wherever it resides, across the entire organization.

A properly deployed SAM solution helps you quickly identify whether software is being used or sitting idle, and it shows which software may be best suited to meet your needs. A SAM solution supports a coordinated, comprehensive program to control software expenditures, capitalize on volume discounts and deploy software more efficiently. It also helps your IT team gain control over, and visibility into, its applications.

Software Discovery Equals Visibility

Before an organization can begin using a SAM solution to its full potential, it must first conduct a comprehensive discovery process. Discovery is a standard component of most SAM solutions, and its basic purpose is to find every bit of software existing within an organization’s current IT environment. An organization that fails to conduct discovery won’t have clear visibility into its software inventory, including insight into who is using specific types of software, how various types of software are being used, and if there’s a need to increase or decrease the license count of specific applications.

Discovery can also be used to ferret out unauthorized software — such as games, social media apps or rogue business tools — that may be lurking undetected on your network. Worst case: This software may provide cyberattackers a gateway to your network and data. Once discovered, such risky software can be quickly and safely removed from the organization’s IT environment.

It’s also a good idea to regularly use multiple levels of discovery to detect and profile every system on your network, along with all related traffic, to find out whether these resources are active or idle. Performing this relatively simple task will make software management more thorough and accurate as new installations or configuration changes are detected.

Discovery leads to several important benefits. The process gives your organization better control over software spending, greatly reducing the likelihood of overbuying licenses; it also enables IT managers to reharvest currently idle licenses and provide them to users who can put the software to work immediately. Better lifecycle management and more accurate strategic planning are other important SAM benefits.

Calling on SAM Experts

Even before the discovery process begins, it’s important to have people in place who are familiar with SAM concepts and operations and have full access to data on current license terms and requirements, as well as purchase histories. The organization also needs to establish clear and consistent guidelines for acting on discovery findings, such as license term violations (by the organization or supplier), unauthorized software deployed by users, and license shortfalls or overages.

To learn more about how CDW’s solutions and services can help your organization gain greater control of your software environment, visit CDW.com/SAM