According to research from IDC commissioned by the Software Industry Research Board only 8% of those companies quizzed had a mature SAM programme and 18% had nothing in place at all to track assets.
The findings will be more disturbing given the highly publicised increase in audits that have taken place since the recession kicked in.
"Corporate UK is yet to fully realise the significant benefits that can be achieved through tools and process implementation for an effective SAM solution, such as reduced compliance risks, controlling software costs and reduced labour costs to manage software," said Alex Hilton, chairman of the SIRB.
The results of the report are going to be used as the main focus of the debate at the second software management and licensing conference taking place in April.
"Both cost and risk can be reduced by implementing the right processes. Companies cannot financially afford to continue to over-purchase software licences in this climate and legally cannot risk under-purchasing," said John Lovelock, chief executive of the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST IiS).