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A major opportunity is out there for MSPs that can deliver SAM

The market for IT asset management as a service might be in its infancy but already it is safe to forecast strong growth in this area for MSPs with the right skills

A shortage of skills is hampering the ambitions of those trying to carve out a name for themselves in the fledgling IT asset management as a service market.

Findings from the ITAM Review, which conducts extensive research into the reseller activities in the SAM market, found that a skills issue it had identified 18 months ago is still a problem.

“A number of the SAM MSP’s that we spoke to claimed to have the finances and capabilities required to expand their internal teams, but they were struggling to find the right professionals with the right blend of experience and knowledge,” stated the 2015 review of worldwide SAM managed service providers.

The struggle to get skilled staff was also a worry because customers were looking to engage with software asset management and licensing specialists based largely on their expertise.

The report found that 76.9% of customers put expertise as the main reason to engage with a SAM managed service provider, well ahead of cost savings and faster ROI.

The ITAM Review report found that the customer demand for SAM as a service was increasing, with many viewing the option of an MSP as a safer and more reliable way of getting someone to look after their software licenses.

Users were driven by three core drivers- software compliance, efficient spend and to gain agility through better asset data -  and were prepared to turn to MSPs to help meet those needs.

A lot of the users do not have the in-house skills that would be required to handle a SAM roll out and that is also making an MSP with that expertise more attractive.

For those that make the effort to get into a position to offer software and IT asset management as a service there are also rewards on offer.

Not only is this a growth area in the market but it is likely to remain strong because customers do not have the expertise themselves, nor are they going to gain it anytime soon.

The ITAM Review study found that this was also being seen as a long term option by customers and there was going to be plenty of opportunity for resellers to develop a relationship that would last years.

The latest report found that the average longevity of service had gone up even in the last couple of years from 2.81 years in 2013 to 3.60 in 2015.

With an eye to other opportunities the report also underlined that the information that was gathered by those responsible for a SAM strategy could also be used in discussions about digital transformation projects.

"Engaging with a SAM managed service provider is a great way of avoiding some of heavy lifting required for modern license management. Customers can lean on the expertise of licensing experts to crunch through their SAM data - freeing them up to pursue more strategic SAM projects and process improvement,” said Martin Thompson, owner and founder, The ITAM Review.

"For the channel it's a great opportunity to support the customer with accurate decision making on new initiatives and efficient spending whilst removing the headache of software compliance,” he added.

Over the past few years there has been a real drive from the likes of the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to encourage the use of SAM to avoid getting into trouble with licenses.

Most of the time the benefit of using SAM is that is saves the customer money, revealing software they were paying for but no longer using, and as a result has been seen as the carrot that accompanies the stick of facing fines for using unlicensed products.​

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