Flexera Alumni

[Career] SAM and Cloud as joint or related areas of focus

Hi gang-

I’ve been speaking with a variety of you and a theme I’m hearing is the need/opportunity for the SAM team to have Cloud oversight or responsibilities. What is hazy for me, and is what I’m hoping for your thoughts on is, how does this adoption of responsibility happen? And how do priorities shift if you’re given leadership of these two areas?

What do you think? Have you seen it/are doing it/are looking to hear from those of us who have done it?

(Apologies for typos -written on my phone!)
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Hi @KPBussey 

I think that if we look at SAM as the conscience of IT operations, that is, we bring governance and clarity to spend and usage which IT operations could quite honestly have done themselves, then the comparison to the cloud journey is simple.

Most customers have their early AWS and Azure monetary commits in the hands of developers and Operations folks, whose primary activity is to deliver application capabilities, and performance and not efficiency -  cost optimization is simply not on the KPI list for these roles in many organisations.  And this does not only apply to IaaS but also to SaaS - there is a reluctance to put in the administration effort required to be efficient.  Perhaps this end of the work is not glamorous enough for most - but it needs doing all the same.

So in my view there is no shift of responsibility.  Incorporating responsibility for cloud spend should be no different to incorporating a new vendor under management.  We need to perform inventory, reconcile entitlements, look for optimization opportunities, work with operations teams on efficiency opportunities.

Perhaps, the question should be asked who in the organisation is more suited to this function than the SAM team?  And in terms of answering the question on responsibility shift, it can only be shifted if it currently is managed, which is seldom the case.


@Nico_Erasmus  Thank you! So there's a compelling need for the expertise and diligence of the SAM professional. So the conversations internally would be around:

1. How well managed is the cloud spend (or, if it's not, some internal investigations on what is actually occurring)

2. What the best practice recommendations there are for governance and clarity. If there isn't a great awareness of the skill of the SAM professional, some education on what is needed to be the IT conscience

3.  Dividing responsibilities and clarifying roles between teams

4. Implement, learn and optimize

If I have that high-level understanding right, then it's step #2 that is personally exciting for me to work with. It's how we share what we do in a way that other areas grasp the opportunity to collaborate. 

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I think you are right on track with this.  Over the last year since joining Flexera with the acquisition of RightScale, I've been speaking to SAM professionals at conferences on this very topic.  We also talk with industry analysts at Gartner, IDC, and Forrester and they see the same issue.  With the rise of cloud, we initially saw that cloud spend was initially ignored. Now, as that spend is exploding, organizations are scrambling to  address the issue of how to manage it.  Centralized cloud teams or Cloud Centers of Excellence have often been asked to take on this role, even though it is not their expertise or where they want to spend their time. 

However, there are some differences with cloud spend management due to the high rate of change of cloud resources which means we must leverage new processes and automation so that we can continuously optimize cloud usage.  This will require new skills, processes and tools for practitioners in asset managment.

We believe that the practice of software asset management must be expanded and re-branded to encompass this broader mandate. We are currently working on a whitepaper discussing the need for comprehensive "technology investment management" as shown in the image below. 


I'd love to hear from you and others on whether your organizations are realizing this need and, if so, what types of actions you are taking to address it.

Kim Weins