ServiceNow Software Asset Management – Part 01

ServiceNow Software Asset Management – Part 01

Software Asset Management also called as SAM is the practice of purchasing, assigning, and distributing software licenses, along with continuous monitoring of software consumption / usage to assure compliance. At the very basic level the process tries to match software rights purchased to the software installed.

This all may seem very easy to achieve; however,organizations today struggle to get this process the right way. This is mainly because of the following reasons:

  • Less Visibility of software purchased as data on different software purchased, used etc. are at different places and hence a common framework doesn’t exist.

  • Complex License Calculation as different software vendor use different license calculation metrics. For Example,Microsoft uses Client Access License (CAL), IBM using Processor Value Units(PVUs) and so on. Hence, making informed decision on these are tough. Taking Microsoft as an example, it sells server CALs either per user or per device. User CALs, for example, are almost 30% more expensive than device CALs. Choosing the wrong CAL approach can increase spending significantly.

  • Disjoined Procurement and Deployment Process: If one purchases less licenses than required and needs to order more licenses to be compliant; usually procurement of these licenses is done separately, through another function which adds to the complexity

As per Gartner, 89.5% of I&O organizations are of low maturity in Software Asset Management. (see Figure). Put another way, 89.5% of I&O leaders could cut their software spending by maturing their SAM recycling and license optimization processes into their daily IT operational activities. Lower-maturity organizations will likely see higher savings.

With worldwide total vendor software sales of $326 billion in 2016, the savings possible from software license optimizations are just too large to ignore. It is recommended that Clients should invest 3%-5% of their annual software budget on Software Asset Management to reduce overspending of up to 20%.

ServiceNow Solution

ServiceNow provides a holistic solution for Software Asset Management and takes care of all tenants of software asset management tools as mentioned in Gartner’s tool decision framework. The tenants of SAM are: –

The solution supports the entire lifecycle of Software Asset Management mentioned in ISO 19770 framework and hence organization using SAM on Service Now can become compliant on ISO 19770 (standard for SAM)

New Features

ServiceNow SAM has been massively enhanced with the new SAM Premium Plugin, and now asset managers can leverage the new features such as:

  • Enhanced Dashboards for SAM Analytics using Performance Analytics Integration

  • New Publisher Packs for IBM, VMWare and Office 365

  • Software Installation condition filtering to apply software rights as per conditions

  • Use Custom License Metrics

  • Software Blacklisting

  • Enhanced Remediation Actions

  • Software Lifecycle Support

With the acquisition of Vendor Hawk; we are optimistic that ServiceNow will further enhance its capabilities and bring other vendor solution integration capabilities too (Currently it supports IBM, VMware, Oracle, Microsoft)

Current ServiceNow Solutions Architecture

ServiceNow offers a robust solution and integrates with Discovery, SCCM and SecOps to provide an end-to-end solution. The solution relies on models which it creates for software and for discovery. The model represents all attributes of the software created and the software discovered. There is difference between a software model and a software discovery model

  • software model is a specific version or configuration of software that is purchased and/or available to users

  • software discovery model is a model created when a version of software is discovered in a network environment.


The overall solution flow is as above. Below is the explanation:

  • Discovery or SCCM discovers all installed software in the environment

  • The Discovered software is populated in the software installation table

  • A Business Rule determines if the software publisher, product and version exist in the Software Discovery Model table. If yes, a reference to the Discovery Model is set in the software installation table; if no a new discovery model is created

  • Normalization auto kicks-in and normalizes the software discovery model as per the software library stored in ServiceNow

  • Software asset managers create Software Model for each software.

  • Software entitlement including software rights, contracts data are created and linked to the software model

  • In the Discovery Map, software asset manager determine conditions such as which software discovery models get mapped to which software models. Purchased rights are only applied to software discovery models that meet the condition

Finally, Reconciliation runs weekly or on demand that uses the condition set in the Discovery Map and determines the overall license compliance positio across software(s).

In the next article, we will talk about the following topics

  • Implementation Challenges using new SAM Premium

  • Integration of SAM with Sec Ops

  • Determine software (s) for which software models are not created

  • Creating custom license metrics

  • Controls when using SCCM and Discovery together with SAM

  • Migration challenges from the old SAM to the new SAM Premium

(Content Courtesy: Srinivas Ramanujaiah)


  • Akash says:

    October 1, 2018 at 9:58 am

    This is an intuitive way of showing Asset Management from a 30k feet height.
    Thanks for information.

  • Suman Jain says:

    May 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Excellent write-up Srinivas! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

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