By John Lipsey
Gartner research director, Patricia Adams, has just published a new report, Software License Optimization Vendor Overview. The report lays out the key challenges enterprises and governments face around optimizing their software estates, and provides a survey of the vendors providing software license optimization solutions to solve those problems. This report is significant for a number of reasons:
- Software License Optimization Maximizes Software Value & Savings: Flexera Software has long espoused that organizations seeking to maximize the value of their software estates must go beyond IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) and achieve true software license optimization. Gartner has just independently validated this proposition. The reasoning is simple. Simply inventorying your software assets and managing that inventory is not enough. To achieve optimization nirvana – whereby organizations only ‘buy what they need and use what they have’ – organizations must be able to fully leverage their license entitlements based on the product use rights provided in their software license agreements. This is virtually impossible to do manually, and a function that is not performed by ITAM and traditional SAM tools. Only software license optimization tools deliver this highly complex and valuable automation. Gartner specifically notes:
“…software license optimization vendors that specialize in license management are beginning to make inroads into large organizations that may have implemented ITAM programs, but are still not getting the data they need to ensure [license] compliance from their existing tools. As a result, these organizations are looking to this small group of niche vendors to assist with license optimization and entitlement management…”
- Software License Optimization is Still Needed Even if Organizations Have Implemented ITAM: Enterprises often wonder whether they really need to implement a software license optimization solution if they’ve already implemented ITAM. Gartner emphatically says ‘yes.’ Adams points out the scenarios in which organizations – even those with ITAM/SAM solutions already implemented – will still need software license optimization to ensure they’re not over-spending on software or out of compliance. Those situations include:
- Organizations that run complex server-based license types that are not easily counted
- Organizations running software from the major vendors, such as Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Symantec, which have difficult licensing models and terms that are difficult to manage
- Licenses from software vendors that have merged or acquired other companies, due to the difficulty in correlating product names and license agreements
Indeed, the sheer complexity in the volume and diversity of license models and agreement types, the report argues, underscores the need for software license optimization.
- Virtualization and the Cloud Add Further Complexity: Adams further points out that organizations seeking to virtualize all or part of their software estate, or go to the cloud, will find it even more difficult to stay in compliance. This is another argument for creating a software license optimization infrastructure to help ensure continual compliance even amidst the dramatic changes ushered in by virtualization and the cloud.
- Not all Software License Optimization Solutions are Equal: Finally, it’s important to note that Adams’ survey of software license optimization vendors underscores that not all solutions are alike. Organizations should do their homework to find the most diverse and function-rich solution to ensure:
- Software license optimization across a broad, diverse spectrum of software titles,
- Confidence that the results of the license optimization process will be accepted by vendors in audit situations,
- Business process and workflow are embedded in the solution to ensure proper support for best practices
- Tight integration with tools such as enterprise app portals, that support consumerization of IT and other key trends
Readers may also be interested in reading the Forrester report on Software License Optimization.