By John Emmitt
Gartner has recently published a report on The Software Vendors That Are Auditing Now and What to Do About It. The report is based on a survey that was done during their IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summits held in Orlando and London in September of last year. Key findings from the survey:
- The percentage of clients who had been audited at least once in the past 12 months was 65%, up from 61% in 2010.
- The top five vendors in terms of numbers of audits were: IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, with SAP jumping into the top 5 for the first time.
- Many audits lead to lengthy and confrontational discussions with vendors due to the complexity and misunderstanding around product use rights and license metrics.
The Gartner report makes a number of sound recommendations, including urging CIOs and IT Managers to invest more heavily in software asset management (SAM) programs, processes and tools to proactively maintain license compliance. Companies can and should justify the investment in software asset management by showing the financial risks involved with software audits and non-compliance. Its not just the unbudgeted license true-up costs, but the extensive audit preparation time and the lack of a strong negotiating position that contribute to these costs.
They also identify several factors that are driving the increase in software vendor audits. I'd like to touch on 2 of them: Complexity of deals, and Lack of communication between IT procurement, SAM and IT operations. As noted in the Gartner report, software licensing is becoming increasingly complex, with many different license metrics-- device, user, processor/core, memory, usage based, etc., complex volume purchase agreements, and complicated product use rights. The latter also change frequently, with recent changes to use rights related to virtualization and "roaming use", for example. License optmization tools that provide built-in knowledge of software agreements and vendor-specific product use rights, are essential to managing the complexity associated with software licensing.
With respect to "Lack of communication", Gartner correctly points out that oftentimes, the people who are responsible for deploying the software and managing the IT environment, are not made aware of the licensing terms and conditions that have been negotiated with the vendor. These must be communicated from IT procurement and software asset managers. It is critical to have a central repository for license and contract information that allows this sort of communication to take place much more readily.
Changes to the IT environment can be another challenge when it comes to communicating between departments and maintaining license compliance. Until now, there were no tools that could tell you what the impact would be on your license position, before those changes were made. New 'What If' analysis tools are available to assess the impact on licensing, due to hardware, shared processor pool settings, virtual environment and software installation changes. This enables organizations to be proactive about maintaining license compliance, even in highly dynamic datacenter environments.
To learn more about the 'What If' analysis capabilities in FlexNet Manager Suite, please visit our website and/or plan to attend our Webinar on Strategies for Optimized License Management on February 29th, sponsored by IAITAM.