New ISO standards for Software Asset Management enter testing phase; feedback wanted

A much-anticipated addition to the ISO standards for software asset management (SAM) has moved into the testing phase — and the group that created them is asking for your input.

The “Dash Three” standard (short for ISO 19770-3) is the third in a series of international standards for IT asset management. The first, Dash One, outlines best practices and processes for effective SAM and forms the basis for the Microsoft SAM Optimization Model. Dash Two describes the way in which software is electronically tagged to make the inventory process easier. The new standard, Dash Three, concerns license entitlement and aims to better enable companies to understand the assets they’ve already purchased. When combined with Dash Two, this can help companies more easily gain an accurate view of their software assets to enable optimization and inform future buying decisions.

These standards, developed by the ISO SAM and ITAM standards working group known as WG21, are the subject of a new survey, open to users and experts alike. “The working group wants to hear from a variety of people in the field about what they see as important,” says Jason Keogh, who is co-chair of the WG21 communications committee and the CTO and founder of the software company iQuate. “You don’t really need to know anything about the current standards in order to comment — in fact, quite the opposite.”

Survey feedback will be used to inform possible adjustments to the standards as they move towards a publish date, likely sometime in 2014. “A standard can’t stand still — it has to move with the market,” says Peter Beruk, senior director of compliance marketing for BSA | The Software Alliance, a liaison to WG21. Beruk points out that Dash One was published in 2006 — and then republished in 2012 with updates based on market feedback. “The survey is directed to end-user organizations and software publishers, tools providers and SAM practitioners,” Beruk says. “Feedback will allow WG21 and ISO to look at whether or not the standards need to change.”

Working Group 21 is a “who’s who” of software asset management experts from all over the world. “At our meeting in Montreal in May, there was active participation by people from ten national bodies,” says Dave Bicket, the chairperson of WG21. “Denmark is leading work on aligning SAM and Service Management. Switzerland speaks up for the open source community. The U.S. is driving the uptake of software identification (SWID) tags. France has been developing guidance on implementing SAM. Japan will be leading work on the third generation of the Dash One SAM/ITAM process standard. China is starting to get more involved. Russia looks like it will be the next to become involved, bringing its experience with small organizations and process certification.”

“It’s rewarding to see how quickly and broadly support for SAM and ITAM standards is growing,” says Heather Young, global director of SAM programs for Microsoft and the co-chairperson of the WG21 communications committee. “Microsoft started out with WG21 around 10 years ago when it was one of the smallest working groups in a large sub-committee; it’s now one of the larger working groups, with a lot of leveraged influence.”

As the new Dash Three standard undergoes international evaluation and testing, even newer standards may not be far behind; at the May meeting, WG 21 introduced the concept of a Dash Four standard, which will focus on usage tags for cloud-based applications. “Software assets are worth a lot of money,” says Keogh, “and anything that’s worth a lot of money should be managed. The Dash Two through Four standards are really about helping people to understand what they have and what they’re using, control the risks related to those assets, and ensure that they’re using those assets in the most appropriate and profitable way.”

To access the ISO survey on emerging SAM standard requirements, please click on the option that best applies:

End-user organization

Software vendor, software tools provider or practitioner organization

For detailed information about the ISO SAM and ITAM standards, visit the 19770 website; a new, even more user-friendly website is set to launch sometime this summer.

Comments (5)

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  3. ISO Certification says:

    SAM can serve many different functions within organizations, depending on their software portfolios, IT infrastructures, resource availability, and business goals.

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