Flexera

Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

ITAM and FinOps intersect and save companies millions

Report highlights

Here’s a sample of key findings from this year’s report based on a survey of 500 IT executives from around the world. Scroll to find out more about the current trend of ITAM usage statistics.

Estimated wasted spend remains significant across the IT estate

Chart: Estimated wasted spend remains significant across the IT estate

N=431 Desktop, N=434 Data center, N=431 SaaS, N=418 IaaS/PaaS
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Estimate the combined savings and cost avoidance you’ve realized from your SAM program in the past year in millions of US dollars

Chart: Estimate the combined savings and cost avoidance you've realized from your SAM program in the past year in millions of US dollars

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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What’s the level of significant interaction
between your SAM team and the following teams?

Chart: What's the level of significant interaction between your SAM team and the following teams?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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What SAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have?

Chart: What SAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Savings from SAM programs tend to increase as programs mature

Chart: Savings from SAM programs tend to increase as programs mature

N=497
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Methodology

Five hundred technical professionals and executive leaders worldwide participated in the survey in the March of 2023. The network includes professionals across industries and context areas.

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We encourage the reuse of data, charts and text published in this report under the terms of this Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You are free to share and make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute the Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report.

High-functioning enterprises increasingly rely on ITAM practitioners to tackle new and evolving challenges. Saving money has increasingly become ITAM teams’ number one initiative, but new responsibilities don’t end there. FinOps teams, central cloud teams, security teams, ESG (environmental, social and governance) teams, ITSM teams and enterprise architecture teams are improving their business outcomes by leveraging data from ITAM teams and tools. Vendor audits are still top of mind for many organizations. However, regularly optimizing spend across cloud, on-premises and SaaS is shaving millions more off annual expenditures.

The Flexera State of ITAM Report reveals:

This year’s survey is weighted more heavily toward larger companies, with 89% of respondents in organizations with more than 2,000 employees and 14% in organizations with more than 50,000 employees.

What size is your organization?

Chart: What size is your organization?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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More than half (60%) of respondents are from North America and one-third come from Europe, including the UK (21%), Germany (12%) and France (1%).

Where are your headquarters located?

Chart: Where are your headquarters located?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Financial services (21%), technology software (15%) and healthcare (12%) are the most prominent industries represented. The other category includes industries with less than 3% representation.

What’s your company’s industry?

Chart: What's your company's industry?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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ITAM is a critical and strategic function in the enterprise

The ITAM function continues to broaden in response to the growth of FinOps, SaaS and cloud. There continues to be an increased focus on sustainability. For example, the ITAM function now includes ITAD (IT asset disposition)—safe, secure and environmentally responsible disposal of unused technological assets.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents work in ITAM (40%)
or IT infrastructure, operations or cloud (34%).

What best describes your function?

Chart: What best describes your function?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Two-thirds of respondents

are manager level
or higher. One-fifth
(21%) of respondents
are VP or higher.

What’s your role?

Chart: What's your role?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Forty percent of ITAM teams report to the CIO or CTO this year compared to 43% last year, and 29% report to infrastructure management.

Where does your ITAM team report?

Chart: Where does your ITAM team report?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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A cloud center of excellence (CCOE), a centralized way to manage an organization’s cloud journey, remains the norm (73%), up slightly from 69% last year. CCOEs are becoming more centrally involved in digital transformation efforts.

Does your organization have a
central cloud team such as a CCOE?

Chart: Does your organization have a central cloud team such as a cloud center of excellence (CCOE)?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Almost nine
of ten CCOEs

have an ITAM/SAM member on the
team. The CCOE will have the most
exposure and influence on an
organization’s cloud journey.

Enterprises should include ITAM practitioners in their CCOEs to ensure that software licensing is incorporated into cloud cost planning and deployment.

Does a member of your ITAM/SAM team participate in, or contribute to, your organization’s cloud central team/CCOE?

Chart: Does a member of your ITAM/SAM team participate in, or contribute to, your organization's cloud central team/CCOE?

N=366
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM teams are critical and interact with teams across an enterprise. This year, a quarter of respondents interacted significantly with FinOps teams. Four in ten (40%) interacted with CIOs/CTOs, 42% with cloud teams and 52% with security teams.

Due to its growing popularity, FinOps is a new category
in the survey this year. Already 25% of SAM professionals
interact with FinOps teams.

What’s the level of significant interaction between your SAM team and the following teams?

Chart: What's the level of significant interaction between your SAM team and the following teams?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Asset management challenges

Which statement best describes where you are in implementing SAM in your organization?

Chart: Which statement best describes where you are in implementing SAM in your organization?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Almost half

report advanced SAM practices, including ongoing tracking, plus optimization of software licenses beyond just audits and tracking SaaS and cloud usage. There is a higher percentage of beginners this year at 27%, up from 24% last year.

As SaaS and cloud usage and their associated costs eclipse those of on-premises software, ITAM professionals must continue to increase their expertise and involvement in FinOps.

Tracking the use of software licenses on-premises is currently the most common activity for ITAM teams. Security was added to this year’s survey and immediately jumped near the top, with 61% providing data/analysis to support security. In the future, ITAM teams plan to focus on finding ways to optimize our use of software licenses based on use rights (44%), working to reclaim or reassign unused software licenses (41%), and tracking/optimizing IaaS and PaaS spending and usage (40%).

ITAM and SAM professionals should build strategies for sharing data and skills to help a broad set of processes ranging from FinOps to security.

What SAM-focused responsibilities
does your ITAM team have?

Chart: What SAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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As was the case last year, tracking the use of software licenses on-premises is the top responsibility for intermediate and advanced users, and responding to audits is second.

More than half of advanced users track the use of licenses in
SaaS (65%), public cloud (64%) and containers (56%).

SAM responsibility by maturity

Chart: SAM responsibility by maturity

N=229 Advanced, N=131 Intermediate, N=132 Beginner
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Hardware asset management (HAM) remains less advanced than SAM. As previously discussed, 46% of SAM respondents do advanced activities, compared to 31% of HAM.

There is a need for ITAM teams to mature HAM processes to catch up with the more mature SAM processes.

Which statement best describes where you are in implementing HAM in your organization?

Chart: Which statement best describes where you are in implementing HAM in your organization?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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What HAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have in your organization?

Chart: What HAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have in your organization?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Similar to last year, SAM teams reporting directly to the C-level have the broadest responsibilities. Teams reporting to vendor management are most likely to provide data/analysis to support ESG efforts (67%), and teams reporting to security are most likely to provide data/analysis to support security efforts (77%).

SAM team responsibilities and where they report

Chart: SAM team responsibilities and where they report

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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HAM teams saw a marked increase in cybersecurity responsibilities. For example, the discovery of devices in use was 90% this year for teams reporting to security, up from 63% last year.

HAM team responsibilities and where they report

Chart: HAM team responsibilities and where they report

N=491
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Wasted IT spending remains a challenge

Respondents estimated
36% of desktop software spend,
33% of data center spend,
32% of SaaS spend and
32% of IaaS/PaaS
spend are wasted.

ITAM professionals must focus more on desktop software as we move into a more permanent work-from-home/hybrid work environment.

Estimated wasted spend remains significant across the IT estate

Chart: Estimated wasted spend remains significant across the IT estate

N=431 Desktop, N=434 Data center, N=431 SaaS, N=418 IaaS/PaaS
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

View

Three in ten (31%) respondents said wasted spend was decreasing year over year with desktop software, while 33% said wasted spend was increasing with IaaS/PaaS.

How has spending changed over the past year?

Chart: How has spending changed over the past year?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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One-third

of respondents say wasted IaaS/PaaS spending increased in the past year, underscoring the need for FinOps tools and processes.

ITAM challenges hinder organizations from recovering wasted spend. Dealing with SaaS, cloud and containers is a significant challenge (34%), as is gaining clear and comprehensive visibility into the IT estate (33%). More than eight in ten (83%) said finding ways to optimize software use is a challenge.

Enterprises should include ITAM practitioners in their CCOEs to ensure that software licensing is incorporated into cloud cost planning and deployment.

What are your challenges
with SAM?

Chart: What are your challenges with SAM?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Audits are a challenge and can be costly, no matter the SAM team’s maturity level. However, beginners and advanced users struggle the most with new environments (SaaS, cloud, containers). Finding ways to optimize software use remains critical and a significant challenge across maturity levels.

SAM tools are becoming more effective and easier to use
for mature users, as 84% of advanced users don’t find using
them a challenge, compared to 71% of beginners.

SAM challenges by maturity

Chart: SAM challenges by maturity

N=497
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Top initiatives for SAM teams

Respondents still struggle to implement best practices for governing the use of SaaS and optimizing SaaS spending, with less than half tracking usage and rightsizing overall SaaS contracts (48%). More than half have linked all major SaaS applications to single sign-on (SSO) (55%).

What practices have you implemented
for managing SaaS?

Chart: What practices have you implemented for managing SaaS?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM professionals expect SaaS software and cloud computing to drive the most significant change in focus over the next three years. Three-fourths (74%) expect an increased focus on SaaS, and 72% expect more focus on public cloud computing.

For your SAM practice, how do you expect your focus on the following areas to change in the next three years?

Chart: For your SAM practice, how do you expect your focus on the following areas to change in the next three years?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Optimizing spend is a top SAM initiative in 2023 (and was the top challenge in the Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report for the first time). Three in ten (31%) ranked optimizing cloud spending as the top initiative this year, compared to 28% last year. Less than half of respondents named improved reclamation of underused or unused software or improved management of SaaS products as a top three initiative.

On what SAM initiatives do you want to make
progress in the next year?

Chart: For your SAM practice, how do you expect to focus on the following areas to change in the next three years?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Does your organization have a defined sustainability
policy or process for hardware assets?

Nearly three-quarters of respondents

are recycling their retired hardware assets.

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

View

Time spent supporting software publisher audits is down for the third straight year.

Estimate the percentage of your SAM team’s time that’s spent responding to audits

Chart: Estimate the percentage of your SAM team's time that's spent responding to audits

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Time spent responding to publisher audits dropped to 18%,
compared to 24% last year and 27% the previous year.

As ITAM tools improve usability and provide deeper insights into the hybrid IT estate, time spent supporting audits will continue to decrease.

Vendor snapshot: Prevalence of audits

When asked to rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how relevant technology providers are to a SAM program, respondents placed Microsoft in the top three spots: Microsoft licensed software (4.08), Microsoft SaaS products (4.08) and Microsoft Azure public cloud (3.7).

How relevant are these technology providers
to your SAM program?

Chart: How relevant are these technology providers to your SAM program?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM teams continue to focus holistically on Microsoft, driven by Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreements.

How relevant are these software vendors
to your SAM program?

Chart: How relevant are these software vendors to your SAM program?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Respondents reported an increase in the number of audits by Microsoft in the past three years (53%). During the same three-year period, a significant number of respondents reported having been audited by IBM (37%), Oracle (28%) and Adobe (25%).

Which vendors have audited your organization
in the past three years?

7 point increase

There has been an increase in the number of respondents reporting Microsoft audits, up from 46% last year to 53% this year.

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Cost of audits

Software audits continue to be very expensive. Fifteen percent of respondents said they paid more than $5 million in the past three years due to software vendor audits (up from 9% last year).

Estimate how much your organization has paid over the
past three years as a result of audits by software vendors

$25 million

Three percent of respondents report paying $25 million or more in software audits over the past three years, and 12% report paying $5 million or more.

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM and HAM success metrics focus on saving money

As a metric to measure success of SAM initiatives, cost avoidance increased the most. Last year, 41% said they used cost avoidance as a metric for SAM initiatives; this year that percentage rose to 46%. Other common ways to measure SAM initiatives include compliance with regulatory or internal audits (46%), audit compliance (45%) and hard savings on software (45%).

What metrics are used to measure
success of your SAM initiatives?

Chart: What metrics are used to measure success of your SAM initiatives?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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HAM programs are much more cost-focused this year. The top three measures of success for HAM teams are reduction in hardware purchases (45%), reduction in maintenance contract spend (42%) and reduction in facility costs (37%). HAM initiatives are also measuring carbon footprint more, increasing from 25% last year to 30% this year.

Nearly one-third of HAM programs measure carbon footprint.

What metrics are used to measure
success of your HAM initiatives?

Chart: What metrics are used to measure success of your HAM initiatives?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM programs are saving tens of millions of dollars. Over half (55%) of respondents saved more than $1 million, and 16% of respondents claim SAM programs saved more than $10 million in the past year.

Estimate the combined savings and cost avoidance
you’ve realized from your SAM program
in the past year in millions of US dollars

Chart: Estimate the combined savings and cost avoidance you've realized from your SAM program in the past year in millions of US dollars

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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$25+ million in savings—One in ten companies with active SAM programs claim savings of more than $25 million in the past year.

SAM programs were most successful in realizing savings through better negotiation of vendor contracts (85%), reduction of maintenance spend on unused software (85%) and reuse of licenses to avoid buying new ones (non-cloud) (87%). Audit-related initiatives were slightly less successful at realizing actual savings.

In what areas have you realized actual savings
in the past year due to your SAM program?

Almost nine of ten

respondents find savings through the reuse of licenses to avoid buying new ones (non-cloud).

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Advanced SAM teams are focusing on license optimization more this year (91%) than last year (84%). Beginner teams focus more on better vendor contract negotiation (89% this year, 81% last year).

Advanced SAM teams are more concentrated
on license optimization than ever.

Savings from SAM programs tend to
increase as programs mature

Chart: Savings from SAM programs tend to increase as programs mature

N=497
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Role of CMDBs and demand for greater visibility into IT assets

As ITAM and FinOps tools and processes improve, there’s an increase in respondents who have visibility into their IT estate. Complete visibility improved from 35% last year to 39% this year. Still, 61% of respondents said they don’t have complete visibility into IT assets that impact business outcomes.

Does your organization have complete visibility into
IT assets and their impact on business outcomes?

Chart: Does your organization have complete visibility into IT assets and their impact on business outcomes?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Do you use your CMDB
in your ITAM practice?

Chart: Do you use your CMDB in your ITAM practice?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Almost
eight in ten

respondents use CMDBs

As organizations increase their use of transient assets such as cloud instances or containers, they must reassess their IT asset tracking procedures to ensure their CMDBs don’t become bloated with outdated and irrelevant entries.

CMDBs continue to track broader assets: Almost two-thirds (64%) track on-premises VMs, 62% track private cloud instances and 61% track public cloud instances. Thirty-eight percent track containers in their CMDB.

What assets do you track in your CMDB?

Chart: What assets do you track in your CMDB?

2023: N=397, October 2022: N=398
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Respondents are most likely to export data from asset management tools into enterprise systems or CMDBs such as ServiceNow (57%), BMC (32%), Apptio (13%) and Cherwell (12%).

Having high-quality data on IT estates improves the performance of other platforms and teams, including security, enterprise architecture and CMDBs.

Do you export data from your asset management tools
into any of the following enterprise systems or CMDBs?

Chart: Do you export data from your asset management tools into any of the following enterprise systems or CMDBs?

N=500
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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European
Spotlight

This year’s survey is weighted more heavily toward larger European companies, with 88% of respondents in organizations having more than 2,000 employees. Almost a quarter (24%) are in organizations with more than 20,000 employees.

What size is your organization?

Chart: What size is your organization?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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In this year’s survey, Europe has more beginners (30% to 21% in North America), and North America has more advanced users (52% to 43% in Europe).

Which statement best describes where you are in implementing SAM in your organization?

Chart: Which statement best describes where you are in implementing software asset management (SAM) in your organization?

N=181 Europe, N=275 North America
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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As with the global survey, many ITAM teams report directly to the CIO/CTO. In Europe, this number was 48% (up from 44% last year). Reporting to the CIO/CTO provides more visibility within the organization and ability to accomplish goals.

Where does your ITAM team report
in your organization?

Chart: Where does your ITAM team report in your organization?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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European ITAM teams are most likely to interact with IT service management (67%), infrastructure and operations (62%) and CIOs/CTOs (41%). Three in ten (30%) European teams interact with FinOps teams, compared to 25% globally.

What’s the level of significant interaction between
your SAM team and the following teams?

Chart: What's the level of significant interaction between your SAM team and the following teams?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Currently, SAM teams in Europe focus on a broad set of activities, including tracking the use of software licenses on-premises (68%), responding to audits (63%), software discovery (59%), and providing data to security and ESG teams (also 59% each).

SAM tools and teams are increasingly becoming critical for organizational ESG and security initiatives.

What SAM-focused responsibilities does your
ITAM team have in your organization?

Chart: What SAM-focused responsibilities does your ITAM team have in your organization?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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SAM challenges were different this year over last year's in Europe. Challenges around software vendor use rights jumped to the top spot this year (87% called it a challenge); time/money spent on audits (80%) dropped to sixth place.

What are your challenges with SAM?

Chart: What are your challenges with SAM?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Similar to the global pool of respondents, optimizing and finding savings in software spend is a top initiative this year.

On which SAM initiatives do you want to
make progress in the next year?

Chart: On which SAM initiatives do you want to make progress in the next year?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Similar to the global survey, respondents in Europe have been audited the most by Microsoft (55%), IBM (49%) and Oracle (29%) over the past three years. European respondents reported more IBM audits (49% in Europe compared to 37% globally).

Which of the following vendors have audited
your organization in the past three years?

Chart: Which of the following vendors have audited your organization in the past three years?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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As is the case globally, cost avoidance is increasing as a measurement for SAM initiative success, growing to 49% this year over 43% last year. Compliance with regulatory or internal audits remains the top measurement at 50%.

What metrics are used to measure success
of your SAM initiatives?

Chart: What metrics are used to measure success of your SAM initiatives?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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As with global respondents, the most savings (89% for Europe, 87% from global) came from the reuse of on-premises licenses. However, European respondents saw even more savings across all categories than their global counterparts. Europeans also saw an increase in the reuse of on-premises licenses in public cloud (often called bring your own license, or BYOL, 77% last year to 84% this year), with a jump from 29% to 36% in the significant category.

In what areas have you realized actual savings
in the past year due to your SAM program?

Chart: In what areas have you realized actual savings in the past year due to your SAM program?

N=181
Source: Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report

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Global summary

We are seeing a greater focus on corporate efficiencies around the globe. ITAM professionals find themselves at the nexus of a number of key enterprise initiatives, including cost savings, FinOps, security and even ESG programs tracking carbon emissions. This is putting more pressure on ITAM teams to stay nimble and flexible, and manage a single source of truth for IT data and insights.

About Flexera

Flexera delivers SaaS-based IT management solutions that enable enterprises to accelerate digital transformation and multiply the value of their technology investments. We help organizations inform their IT with definitive visibility into complex hybrid IT ecosystems, providing unparalleled IT insights that allow them to seize technology opportunities. And we help them transform their IT with tools that deliver actionable intelligence across an ever-increasing range of dimensions to effectively manage, govern and optimize their hybrid IT estate.

More than 50,000 customers subscribe to our technology value optimization solutions, delivered by 1,300+ passionate team members worldwide. To learn more, visit flexera.com

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