SAM Working Group Loses Longtime Leader (Aug. 6, '07)

SAM Working Group Loses Longtime Leader | Aug. 6, 2007


SAM Working Group Loses Longtime Leader

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (August 6, 2007) – Roger Wittlock, convener of ISO Working Group 21 (WG21) since its formation, resigned from the post, effective July 2007.

During Wittlock’s six-year tenure as convener he oversaw the development and release of ISO/IEC 19770-1, the first international standard in software asset management (SAM). ISO/IEC 19770-1, published in May 2006, establishes requirements for SAM processes, helping to reduce software costs significantly for even partially conforming organizations.

David Bicket, a U.K.-based member of WG21 and contributor to work on ISO/IEC 19770-1, has been appointed the group’s interim convener.

According to François Coallier, Chairman of the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Subcommittee 7, Bicket’s role is a “‘caretaker position as a WG21 substitute convener until the next [ISO SC7] plenary in Berlin [May 2008].”

Following publication of the first ISO/IEC 19770 standard for SAM processes, Wittlock spearheaded the development of a proposed second part, addressing software tagging mechanisms, and appointed the International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) to develop the document. With a second draft released by the IBSMA in May, Bicket’s short-term objective is to complete the proposed standard and enter it into ISO/IEC review and publication processes. 

Steven Klos, managing partner of Agnitio Advisors and co-chairman of the IBSMA SAM Standards Committee, has been asked to help finish the project.

“The standard is moving forward, and will continue to move forward,” states Klos. He expects formal publication by 2009.
Public opinion regarding ISO/IEC 19770-2 is favorable, an outlook that makes adoption likely. Industry experts agree that standardized software tags represent a necessary advancement for SAM, as they bring order and consistency to software asset environments. Such increased uniformity eases the jobs of SAM administrators and tool vendors and lends assurance to license compliance efforts.

As U.S. Department of Defense IT Asset Manager Robert Smith puts it: “An industry-wide standard would save us a lot of money because we would be able to get our hands around software assets.” Thus far, software publisher and tool vendor collaboration in drafting efforts have been crucial.

“Standards have value as long as major software vendors recognize them,” observes Martin Callinan of U.K.-based Centennial Software. “If they do, customers can take a consistent approach across multiple vendors.”

Kris Barker, CEO of SAM tool provider Express Metrix and participant in the development of ISO/IEC 19770-2, observes that the draft standard “presents software tagging at a very high, almost philosophical level by addressing what information is required in a software tag.”

For this reason he predicts that the supplementary work proposed by the emerging SAM Standards Consortium will be critical, as it will “address the actual implementation details required for software vendors to move forward in a 19770-2-compliant way.”

Although richly detailed in procedures for digital tag creation, modification and consumption, ISO/IEC 19770-2 does not define how implementation of such procedures would work. The job of the emerging SAM Standards Consortium will be to add implementation guidance. The material will, according to Klos, help software manufacturers “pick up and utilize the ISO standard much faster than they would otherwise, helping to facilitate its initial adoption.”

“Both [data and implementation] standards are needed, but for different reasons,” he adds, pointing to the “symbiotic relationship” that will exist between the two specifications.

For more information and the latest developments on ISO/IEC 19770 SAM Standards and the formation of the SAM Standards Consortium, visit

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The International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) is an international association of business-focused software asset management (SAM) professionals working together to develop and promote SAM best practices and address issues of common concern. IBSMA has more than 2,500 practitioner-members worldwide. IBSMA is a division of

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