The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has launched a new tool to help organisations gain control of all aspects of software and related IT assets.

The standard known as ‘ISO/IEC 19770-1’ establishes a baseline for an integrated set of processes for Software Asset Management (SAM). It has been developed to enable an organisation to prove that it is performing SAM to a standard sufficient to satisfy corporate governance requirements and ensure effective support for IT service management overall.

The tool called ISO/IEC 19770-1 Software Asset Management: Are you ready? is the first of its kind for an international standard. It is based on the .Net framework, and can be used by individuals or by teams of people working together, for the purposes of performing fast, informal gap assessments up to supporting full formal certifications. But the worldwide standards body said although software licensing is included, this is not a standard for software licensing compliance.

The ISO/IEC 19770-1 standard itself was launched in May 2006. This new product has been prepared in collaboration between ISO and Investors in Software (IiS), which is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to advancing professionalism in Software Asset Management, and which works closely with the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF).

IiS developed the software and guidance contained in the tool. David Bicket, one of the main individuals involved in the development both of the standard and then of the tool, said the vast majority of people who use it will use it to perform gap analyses against baseline best practice.

“It is ideal for organisations to identify quick wins and opportunities for longer-term improvement,” said Bicket. “It also can ultimately facilitate the certification process by providing a definitive and comprehensive statement by the organisation of its status against the requirements for certification.”

The ISO said the tool will allow software manufacturers and consultants will to communicate their own best practice in an industry-consistent way, through the use of add-on guidance and requirements which anyone can develop to use with the tool and which the tool will automatically incorporate.

Keith Aldis, chief executive of itSMF said: “With this electronic version of the standard the job of assessing yourself and identifying necessary improvements will become significantly easier. It sets a clear industry baseline, allows public recognition for good corporate governance in a complex area and will give organisations a quantum leap in their capabilities for software management.”

Ruggero Contu, Gartner principal research analyst and author of “Market Share: IT Operations Management Software, Worldwide, 2006” added: “The global annual growth rate of the IT asset management tools market for 2006 is estimated to be at 15 percent, this is one of the fastest growing segments in the IT operations management market and in the broader software infrastructure space.”

There are two licensed versions of ISO/IEC 19770-1: for individual use priced at £79 and for organisations priced at £209, available on CD from the itSMF from 18th June. The CD version will also be available from ISO, national standards bodies, and other ISO authorised distributors. A version for electronic download will also be available from the itSMF in the near future.