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Best software asset management tools of 2021: SAM software to reduce licensing costs

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PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best software asset management (SAM) tools makes it easy reduce licensing costs by identifying the software licenses you have ownership of. 

SAM software therefore allows you to put into play assets you still have rights to use, while cutting out subscriptions you no longer need.

Additionally, by using SAM tools to track applicable expiry dates, you can better move workflows from one set of assets to another, by having clear deadlines that you can make full use of.

This is especially important where a business or other organization has an extensive IT inventory, where assets would otherwise be difficult to track. SAM tools are also essential for IT teams who are under constant pressure to cut costs, and unused or unnecessary licenses are a good way to do this.

However, it's not just software assets that can be tracked, but also hardware assets, and this can be essential when it comes to data security, by ensuring you know where company laptops are and identify any potentially missing ones so that remedial action can be taken if necessary to shut it down and even erase its harddrive through remote commands. 

SAM can also be used to transfer assets between departments, making overall control and management of software and hardware much simpler and more cost-effective overall.

Here therefore are the best software asset management tools currently on the market.

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(Image credit: ManageEngine)

1. ManageEngine AssetExplorer

Windows-based asset management

Reasons to buy
+Windows-style interface+Tracks networked and non-networked assets
Reasons to avoid
-No mobile app

Available as a fully-functioning trial for 30 days, MangeEngine’s AssetExplorer will make IT professionals who are used to working in Windows feel right at home. It offers excellent tools used for tracking and reporting alongside support for both physical and virtual assets, which can be added manually. Hosted in the cloud, AssetExplorer also offers VM-based asset support and relationship mapping, covering all the standard bases for IT professionals.

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(Image credit: ServiceNow)

2. ServiceNow Asset Management

Enterprise SAM tool

Reasons to buy
+Rich feature-set+Useful audit tracking
Reasons to avoid
-Still relatively complex

ServiceNow Asset Management is a cloud-hosted SAM that’s more suited to advanced users. In response to customer feedback, it’s been simplified in recent years and now sports an attractive UI that’s navigated using a left-hand sidebar. Still one of the more complex (yet fully-featured) offerings on our list, it lets admins use workflows to automate IT asset lifecycles and track financial, contractual, and inventory details of hardware and devices while recording maintenance activity. It also allows regular audits to be performed up until the point that hardware devices need to be retired.

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(Image credit: SysAid)

3. Sysaid

IT asset management and a helpdesk in one

Reasons to buy
+Also acts as a helpdesk+Easy-to-use
Reasons to avoid
-Reporting functionality needs work

There are instances where it would be handy to have a helpdesk working alongside an IT asset management solution, and this is where SysAid comes in. It features a user-friendly interface that lets admins remotely track, control and track assets. Admins can easily view the assets in their new work and get a full picture of their hardware components and software products. For support, the organization’s end-users can press a designated hotkey to automatically take a screenshot and capture other relevant information about the asset to log in the event of an incident.

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(Image credit: InvGate)

4. InvGate Assets

Flexible SAM solution

Reasons to buy
+Flexible and powerful+Easy to use front-end
Reasons to avoid
-UI looks a bit dated

InvGate Assets is a flexible SAM that lets you track your assets in a front-end view that’s accessible in a browser. It tracks your inventory and offers a list of features that include Change Management, Advanced Reports, License Management, Remote Desktop and Software Development. It has a nifty alerting system when licenses are about to expire, and you can also create alarms for tasks that are a priority – such as updated licenses or renewing IT equipment. If you want to take things a step further, data can be store in the backend using a MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server database.

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(Image credit: Solarwinds)

5. Solarwinds Web Help Desk

Affordable SAM and ticketing solution

Reasons to buy
+Tracks hardware and software assets+Variable pricing
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t track licenses

Fast to set up (it took us just under 3.5 hours), SolarWinds Web Help Desk is an affordable option that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. A superb asset management took that helps you track your hardware and software assets (while keeping them up to date), it’s available on several different pricing tiers depending on how many assets you want to add. Just be warned that it won’t track licenses and software usage – but it will display the asset and ticket history for individual assets.

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(Image credit: Freshworks)

6. Freshservice

A SAM that won’t give smaller businesses headaches

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Attractive UI
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of integration with other tools

Easy to setup making it a suitable option for SMBs, Freshworks Freshservice helps IT teams with a number of different functions, with IT asset management being one of them. Up to 100 assets can be managed for free, with the next pricing tier extending that number to up to 250. Admins can get a good view of asset information by opening a timeline that show its associated ticket’s historical activity – from priority assignment and status changes to assigned groups – which can also be viewed by employees.

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(Image credit: Pulseway)

7. Pulseway

Comes with a superb mobile client

Reasons to buy
+Great mobile client+Robust 2-factor security
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than rival software

IT Asset Management is just one component of this multi-talented piece of software, which also offers live chat and infrastructure management as part of the package. It’s a great option for tracking assets on the back of its robust security and support for mobile devices. Pulseway was built as a mobile app first, rather than a desktop app that’s been adapted for mobile use, and it shows. There’s also a desktop client that shows the same information, but the interface isn’t as slick or useful.