The Business Urgency Matrix

Ever since Stephen Covey brought it into the mainstream, the ‘Urgent / Important’ matrix has been used by millions around the world to manage priorities in their personal lives and managers have used it to define priorities in their businesses.

The urgent/important matrix is below for refreshing our minds:

: I and may be others, call it the Business Urgency matrix. There is no difference except that we can add a qualitative note on the impact of the task without increasing the number of boxes in the matrix. There are others who have made this a 3 X 3 or 3 X 4 matrix. I wish to keep it at four quadrants. We will, though, use the X – and Y – axes as most management experts do.

Our Business Urgency Matrix will be:

important goals

Global status of SAM and in India

Different parts of the world have different levels of maturity in the implementation of Software Asset Management programs. The US and Europe (especially UK and Germany) are at quite high maturity levels. The rest of the world is almost at the other end of the spectrum – though we do see some enterprises that are shining stars, but these are exceptions.

Enterprises are not foolish. They will not spend money unless they get some benefit – this is indeed the right way to be. It can thus be argued that in other parts of the world it was not essential to spend money on SAM. That is one argument.

The other argument is that enterprises have not been educated on how Software Asset Management can benefit them. I have had numerous – actually thousands – of interactions with Chief Information Officers, Chief Financial Officers and other senior executives across enterprises in India over the past decade. My view is : most organizations are aware of SAM but they have not given it the due importance because of time pressures.

Unfortunately, not implementing SAM – or not having people who understand the intricacies of SAM has led to companies in India spending huge sums of money that could have been put to productive use someplace else. And these monies have been spent inadvertently. Also, software publishers (who are the main recipients of this largesse) would have been happier if their revenues had been slightly less. This is because their expenditure on collecting these monies is huge. It is not always a beneficial trade-off. (An explanation of this will be given in a later paper).

As per a study*, globally around 33% of enterprises have some sort of SAM program in place with the manner in which they are managing their software license entitlements and deployments.  Of these 90% have said that they have been able save on software costs, minimize shelf ware spend, avoid costs, ensure compliance with vendor agreements. If this is the case, time pressures are not acceptable excuses to either

  1. Implement SAM tools and a full-fledged SAM program.
  2. At the least, have people who understand SAM and its intricacies.

With this background, let us look at the position of SAM in the Business Urgency Matrix :

important goals1


IT Asset Management and specially Software Asset Management would, depending on specific situations, be in the 1st or 2nd quadrant of the Business Urgency Matrix.

Read other papers on the benefits of implementing a full-fledged SAM program, the benefits of having Certified Software Asset Managers in your organization.