On this page we discuss:

- Conflicts of interest for:

    - Software licence resellers

    - SAM solution providers

    - SAM partners

    - Compliance organisations

What do we mean?
Almost all parties within the SAM market sell more than just their expertise or knowledge.

SAM touches on such a wide range of subjects that it is difficult for people not to want to sell far more than perhaps they should.

The problem as we see it is that if a SAM solution provider or advisor or anyone offering you SAM advice is also selling any of the below, then somewhere along the line there will be a conflict of interest that will compromise the solution you are being offered in one way or another.

We have seen this happen over and over again.

What might they be selling?
Software licences - This is the big one where everyone would love to see a piece of the action.

All of the major resellers in the UK also push a SAM offering.  The problem is that why would you ever want the same company advising you on how many licences you need, oh and by the way we can sell them to you at a good price too.

Our advice would be to always keep your SAM advisor completely separate from your software licence supplier otherwise at some point there will be a conflict that won't work in your interest and it usually involves compliance and a major publisher.

The major resellers usually have the best levels of licensing expertise, so in terms of advice as to what and how to purchase software these are the people that you want to be talking to.

But as far as compliance or SAM in general goes, be far more careful of their remit.

Tools - Next down the list will be audit tools or deployment or network management or server management tools, all of which you will be told have the ability to define your software licence requirements.

Leaving that debate to one side for a moment (SAM tools) the problem here is that the proposed solution will be tied to the ability (or lack of it) of the chosen tool.

All of these tools can be made to work.  Some are better than others (the more you pay the more you tend to get) but the principles required to make them work are pretty much the same across the board.

The point here is that if someone is leading their solution with a tool, they have immediately compromised the integrity of their proposed solution.  They are possibly more interested in earning the commission for selling the tool than solving your SAM issues.

Other organisations with conflicting interests
Software publisher SAM partners
- When organisations that offer SAM solutions are also affiliated with a software publisher, be very cautious of their ability to work for you rather than the publisher - we discuss this more in our How to handle section.

Particularly if the publisher becomes involved in any kind of ratification of numbers or any confirmation that what has taken place is of good practice.

Does this sound paranoid?  You might very well think so, but unfortunately it is a position created out of several years of witnessing customers of well intended solution providers getting into long drawn out compliance audits which the customer never really benefits from.

For more information on SAM partners see - Microsoft SAM partners and Third party SAM partners

The BSA and local compliance bodies

The BSA are the global software police funded by the publishers.  So any advice from them should be sought with the greatest of care as their first priority is of course the publisher in question.

This is not a comment on the quality of advice available, the BSA website is a good source of basic information, but understand where they are coming from.

Local bodies such as FAST (Federation Against Software Theft) in the UK will always focus on compliance and usually have some involvement with publishers and tool vendors.

The important thing is to understand the nature of such an organisation, who they partner with, who do they talk to and so on.  Certainly in the UK the SAM/compliance/licensing world is a small one and one thing can lead to another with embarrassing speed.

If you are talking to anybody that has a relationship with publishers, then as an end user organisation you must expect the letter of the law to be followed, there will be no opportunity to manage issues away and if there is any non-compliance new licences will have to be purchased.

As long as you are comfortable with that then fine.  Our advice would be to follow the basic steps we lay out in How to do SAM or Reconciliation before speaking to any of the authorities.

Now let's get on with it - How to do SAM...