By Brad Akers
Software Asset Management (SAM) and License Optimization tools, such as FlexNet Manager Suite, enable customers to effectively manage complex license types across the software portfolio. In order to accomplish this task, FlexNet Manager Suite employs the concept of Enterprise Groups which encompass four discrete elements: Locations, Cost Centers, Business Units, and Categories. Companies can utilize Enterprise Groups to help satisfy both their legal and business reporting requirements.
Addressing Legal and Software License Compliance Reporting Needs
Let's first speak to the legal reporting capability of Enterprise Groups. Many vendors (such as Microsoft) establish multiple contracts with large enterprise organizations. These contracts may limit who may use a particular piece of software, and/or where and how it may be used. This commonly occurs with international companies that have offices across multiple geographies (e.g. the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.) For example, Microsoft might issue three site based Enterprise Agreements (EA); one to cover each of the three regions. Utilizing Enterprise Groups to establish a proper location structure can enable accurate and timely reporting of which computers and associated software are located in each of the regions, ensuring that only computers actually located within a specific region are consuming against the EA for that region.
Figure 1: Reasons to Use Enterprise Groups for Legal / License Compliance Reporting
Enterprises can generate software license compliance reports by Enterprise Group to show compliance at the regional, business unit or cost center level of the corporate hierarchy, as needed.
Addressing Business Reporting Needs
The utilization of Enterprise Groups can also prove valuable in business reporting. Many large organizations purchase software globally but assign or issue software access based upon project involvement or job role. This fluidity can make keeping track of software allocations and departmental technology budgets very challenging. The implementation of a customized Enterprise Group solves this problem by allowing the company to gather software allocation and usage data at a level of detail necessary to meet that company's specific reporting goals.
For example, Company A purchases 500 licenses for Microsoft Visio. The software is to be divided between the IT and Engineering departments. The IT department is allocated 300 copies while the remaining 200 copies are allocated to the Engineering department. By setting up the proper Business Unit structure within an Enterprise Group, it becomes possible to maintain visibility into department-level deployment and usage levels and to understand whether either the IT or Engineering department is over consuming the target allocation levels. Additionally, when shifts in consumption do occur—for instance, IT actually consumes 350 licenses while Engineering only consumes 150, the Business Unit structure within an Enterprise Group allows an internal reallocation of the licenses. This also allows the organization to generate reports for chargeback or showback of the associated software license and maintenance costs to each department.
Figure 2: Tracking by Corporate Units—e.g. Different Departments
To support the above two use cases, it is important to have a properly built Enterprise Group structure. When working to accomplish this one must consider the purpose of the structure, what the completed structure needs to look like and the source of the data being utilized. While building a proper structure that can be applied across Assets, Users, Purchase Orders, Contracts, Licenses, and Inventory does requires conscious planning, it can amply fulfill the diverse reporting needs of every enterprise.
To learn more about FlexNet Manager Suite, please visit our website.
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