When customers are not listening to their IT estate and are unable to determine the direction they need to proceed in, it is called software asset management cone of confusion. We come across the term Cone of confusion during the study of sound, especially sound localization.

This would mean something like a region where all the sounds produce same time and level differences. When this occurs it becomes difficult for the listener to locate or pinpoint a particular sound. Confusion sets in as to from where the sound is coming. This causes the hearing of the person to get weakened.


The factors contributing to this state of confusion in SAM are many. Generally, this begins when the customer does not know what is owned by them or even aware of what is installed. This is a fairly common occurrence.


  • When they are not aware of what they possess, their IT purchases lose track. This causes unnecessary expenditure on purchase of software that is already available to them. Since the purchasing is uncontrolled, it also results in lack of contract control.
  • Since the documentation of legal agreements is not available centrally, what is covered or when does it expire is not known clearly. All this results in total chaos.
  • Analyzing this cone of confusion a little deeper, it can be seen that with no proper knowledge of inventory, spending is uninformed and wasteful.
  • Vendor audit becomes very difficult as the understanding of agreements or contracts is very vague. In this unpleasant situation, you probably have software that is licensed inefficiently. For example, you may have enterprise version whereas the need may be for standard version only.
  • Expensive editions are installed and used where just a read-only version would suffice to cause a software asset management nightmare.

Emerging out of the cone

The first thing to be done is to get a firm grip on your inventory. This can be done through discovery tool which is state of the art that can conduct both a scan through agents as well as agentless scans.

Once the inventory is brought under control. You must next bring the contracts or agreements to a centralized location where monitoring is possible in terms of expiration of the contracts. It is also vital to get the patches released and upgrades.

After the inventory as well as contact is brought under control, you are in a good position to conduct the audit. When you are well aware of what is owned, the contracts that are in place, the user rights that you have and how the software is being utilized by you, it greatly satisfies the audit.

Triangle of triumph

With the major battle won, you are in a position to optimize now. You can achieve optimization in two ways

  1. Avoid payment for the software that is already available to you
  2. Improve the level of utilization of the software that is with you.


By using effective software asset management solutions, you can achieve optimal outcome in all these areas. By aligning the suitable people with the right tools and processes you can convert the cone of confusion into a triangle of triumph.