SAM vs Artificial Intelligence (AI): Will you be replaced?

  • SAM vs Artificial Intelligence (AI): Will you be replaced?



    There has been a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially with the growth of the cloud. Cloud experts claim this is part of progression, as the next generation AI capacity and cloud computing merge to make businesses run smoother for millions of users.  With this new dawn of faster, more accurate learning and problem-solving, AI and the cloud help with anything from management, virtual assistance, and cloud service utlisation, making the role of software asset management change.

    Machines are growing more and more to do the thinking and work for us. What will the implications be for the SAM industry? Is your job as a SAM manager at risk?

    We are familiar with computers processing data and presenting information for managers to make the decisions, but are we ready to allow computers to make decisions? In theory, SAM management tools should be better at making decisions than humans because they are faster, more accurate and capable of processing far more data. Yet, many SAM tools of today are not fully automated because they need the SAM manager to finalise decisions that fit with the company goals.

    To understand more what AI is capable of with SAM tools, we can segment AI. and associated decision making into two groups:


    • Specialized: this is when specific and focussed series of tasks are repeated on a regular basis. Subscription payments are a typical example where inventory and usage data can be analysed and then subscription orders placed on a monthly basis. By using key decision making rules, the computer can make efficient procurement decisions faster and more reliably than a human manager. An example of this could be SPLA reporting where monthly subscription reports can be optimised for both compliance and cost efficiency.


    • Generalized: this is when there are different tasks and random variables affecting the decisions. Often in a negotiation there are variations of opinions and aspirations of the two parties. This means that data is used to bring the two sides closer together, but still compromises are made.  AI finds this type of situation more challenging to address, unless both parties have agreed on the risk and mitigation factors that can be applied to reach a satisfactory decision. An example of this can be in a support agreement negotiation for perpetual software licenses where incomplete or conflicting data is being used. Such situations are problematic for AI.

    From our experience, we do not believe that the jobs of SAM managers will be gone completely. If anything, this job will change in responsibility and routine. Rather than wasting a lot of manual effort tracking and monitoring software, AI tools like a SAM tool can offer a hybrid solution where automatic reporting can provide accurate and actionable data for SAM managers to base their choices on.

    Using AI is an opportunity that provides the freedom from number crunching and data inaccuracies, allowing SAM managers to focus their efforts on strategic planning, R.O.I. benchmarking and improved procurement processes. We believe that best practices, though can be recommended through AI, cannot be carried out without the power of a SAM manager.

    However, those individuals who prefer to sit in the corner with their spreadsheets and compliance assessments will struggle to define their role in the organization of the future. As Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.

    If you are ready to make the change to a SAM tool, we can help you get in control with our Smarter SaaS!

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