Commoditisation of SAM
In recent decades, we saw a change in consumer behavior, disrupting traditional business models across industries. This trend seems to point out that most consumers are comfortable and happy when they have access to the products they want and care less about owning the products.
We see companies reimagining how their customers access and interact with their products. Say you need Microsoft Office to work on your project, or maybe you need a server for a week to train your machine learning model. Or perhaps you’re looking for some excitement, you’ve finished your project, trained your model, and now you’re up for some gaming. Some time ago, doing all that required going to the store, buying a physical copy of Microsoft Office, buying the hardware (GPUs are expensive), and buying your favorite copy of Minecraft. Add to the minor inconvenience of getting out of the house the full upfront cost of the software licenses (for Office and Minecraft) and the hardware (required for your awesome machine learning model).
Yesterday, most people wouldn’t even have bothered. Maybe just for the game. Certainly not for the hardware. Today you can do all that; easy. For only a fraction of the cost; flexible. You don’t have to own it forever if you only need it sometimes. The novel implementation of new and existing technologies, and business practices, driven by ingenuity and a customer-centric approach, win the market. The product becomes a commodity, the consumer journey is easy, and the customer is happy.
The same market forces are beginning to influence the SAM tooling market. The technology is there, and the market is ripe for disruption. Proper license management should not be attainable only for companies with high IT budgets. And while it is complex work, which cannot always be fully automated, service providers and consultants can benefit too. They get to streamline operations and scale at need while having more focus on customer interaction. The conversation becomes ever more fluent when it’s less about the tool and more about the objective you have in place.
Proper license management requires a daily team effort in some companies; however, seasonal work is sufficient in others. Don’t fix it if it works. Companies need to be able to decide what works for them and be pragmatic when they buy. Why pay all year round if you only need it once per quarter, or maybe twice a year even. Why pay for extra functionality when you only need it for a specific product group. Perhaps the objective this quarter is to cut costs on Microsoft, and maybe next quarter, you’re the lucky recipient of an Oracle Audit. Who knows, needs change.
Aside from a more fragmented and flexible business model, tool developers need to have an open mindset. SAM is the collective work, knowledge, and expertise of thousands of professionals. Building the perfect tool will not be possible. There’s too much knowledge to cover, and if you surround yourself with high walls, you’ll miss out on the bigger picture.
SAM becomes a commodity when tooling is easily accessible and to the point. But more importantly, SAM becomes a commodity when the professionals and customers in the industry begin to see the benefits and start asking for them.