By: Darren Balakrishnan and Natalie Overstreet Lias
A basic Software Asset Management environment reconciles software license procurement and inventory information. But once such an environment is in place, how can it be made more efficient and more optimized? Automation is the key. The introduction of automated Software Asset Management processes reduces the risk of manual errors being introduced through data entry or inaccurate system administrator surveys. Automation will also reduce the time required to determine software license compliance and support vendor audits. These are efforts that, without an automated infrastructure, can destroy the productivity of not only the Software Asset Management team but also supporting teams such as DBAs, helpdesk administrators, and business line managers.
An automated and optimized license management system is the goal. With an automated Software Asset Management system, you get the benefit of features which minimize manual effort. For example, when a software asset is retired, the licenses are automatically recovered and available for assignment to other systems – a welcome replacement for the dreaded software inventory spreadsheet. More examples are automatic allocation of complex software license models across multiple hardware environments, automatic measurement of license consumption on virtual machines, and automatic detection of operating systems installed on multiple VMs per host server.
In addition, automation of critical Software Asset Management tasks, including import of purchase orders directly from the purchasing system, integration with other inventory solutions, and integrated contract management to track subscription licenses, further improves Software Asset Management process efficiencies. A next generation Software Asset Management system also has the wherewithal to provide automatic notifications of key events such as contract expiration and potential breaches of compliance.
The overhead involved in manual implementation of key asset management processes precludes achievement of an optimized license management environment—there is simply too much data and too many changing parameters involved to manage it this way. This denies an organization of the benefits of true license optimization by limiting capabilities only to what can be accomplished by hand – typically only a basic, and generally pessimistic, computation of license position based on purchased versus installed license counts. An optimized license position requires accounting for license entitlements including product use rights that can reduce license consumption and lower costs.
Implementing an automated and optimized license management system is a cornerstone to achievement of the core goals of Software Asset Management: minimizing risks and reducing costs.