Australian Software Asset Management Association




Software Asset Management 

Centralised Software Purchasing - How: Part One

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The implementation of centralised software purchasing will differ from organisation to organisation, however there are some standard actions that need to be undertaken that would be common to most organisations. These standard actions need to be planned, scheduled and costed. There will be a requirement to invest into establishing the centralised software purchasing capability, however this should pay for itself within a relatively short period. It is recommended that time is spent on planning, identifying key stakeholders and making use of existing processes and procedures. We now will discuss the standard actions that need to be considered and undertaken.

The delegation of who can approve the purchase of software should be withdrawn from existing staff and centralised to the software purchasing team. Approval delegations should also be tiered, as this will further reduce the capacity for major purchases being able to be approved by many different people. It is most preferable that just a few people can approve major purchases, which will result in a stronger control mechanism. The use of the software purchasing delegations should also be reported on, to provide visibility for the governance process.

All software purchase requests should be formalised and be provided to the centralised software purchasing team by one standard channel. Usually this will be via the service desk or web portal and be recorded in the service desk management system. This immediately enables management of the software requests. The required data that needs to be included in the software request should be made available through either a web form or manual form. The data fields should be menu selections and not free text to the largest extent possible. This will enable better management techniques to be applied in determining, reviewing, auditing, searching and identifying software requests.

Standardisation of software is important for SAM. By limiting software to a minimal number of vendors, this will enable the centralised software purchasing team to negotiate better pricing, more flexible licensing and more manageable EULA terms and conditions. There needs to be one approval authority for the type of software to be purchased. In a lot of organisations this is the architecture team, who may publish the products to be purchased in the form of an approved applications list, or they may approve each purchase, depending on volume. The use of existing contracts that provide a standing offer in many cases can be preferable than seeking software through the market. Standing offer contracts tend to lead to better software standardisation.

This article on how an organisation could centralise software purchases has covered some of the issues that fall within this subject. There are a number of additional requirements and strategies on this subject. More in-depth information will become available in the topic specific articles and in-depth information articles.


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