By Cyndi Tackett
All enterprises have systems in place to address different components of software license optimization and lifecycle management. Procurement systems contain historical software procurement and license entitlement data. The contract management system details the terms, maintenance obligations, and T&Cs of the overall vendor relationship. Software distribution and inventory systems provide information about the software installed in the environment. The HR system provides the data required to track installations back to cost centers or business units.
All of the systems are very good at doing what they were designed to do, but none of these systems is responsible for capturing and managing software license compliance. For example, the purchase of additional quantities of software licenses is only captured in the procurement system and is typically not correlated to an installation. Likewise, the software inventory system does not capture the license model or use rights to calculate the number of licenses required by any given installation. Similarly, the contract system tracks upcoming maintenance renewals without visibility into the current license position. Reconciling the information across these disparate systems is imperative to calculating your actual license position and optimizing software spend. Most organizations use manual, point-in-time processes based on complex Excel spreadsheets to combine data from these systems.
The right Software License Optimization solution brings together the information from existing systems into a central location to help organizations:
- Recognize and remediate risk – the Software License Optimization solution should normalize and aggregate procurement and installation data to provide a cohesive software licensing dashboard. Your solution should report on under-buying (license non-compliance) based on actual entitlement information to highlight risk that exists within the software portfolio. It should capture the financial implications of under-buying so organizations can develop a prioritized remediation strategy. And, it should enable you to avoid costly, unbudgeted true-ups and be continuously prepared for vendor audits.
- Reduce software costs – your Software License Optimization solution should give you visibility into over-buying so you can avoid net-new license procurements. Such a solution automates processes to check available license levels before buying additional licenses as part of the standard procurement workflow. It enables organizations to transfer licenses within the organization to maximize the value of existing software assets. And, it automates best practice processes such as license salvaging/reclamation, license sharing, and reharvesting for ongoing license optimization.
- Improved contract negotiations and true-ups – the Software License Optimization solution should seamlessly integrate with procurement, inventory, and contract systems to provide the information required to negotiate contracts based on actual consumption and forecasts of future consumption. Software License Optimization enables organizations to reduce ongoing maintenance costs for unused software (aka shelf-ware). The right solution provides the information required to negotiate with power and ensure the company is leveraging their buying power based upon how software is actually being used in the environment.
- Minimize license consumption – your solution should apply the correct license model and product use rights to enable organizations to take advantage of favorable license entitlements and T&Cs. It should count installations of software based on the appropriate license metric (device, user, processor/core, etc.) and account for entitlement rights such as secondary use rights, upgrade/downgrade rights, “free” licenses for backup or development installations, and entitlements that supersede installations (for example, MSDN rights, virtual use rights and product suites). A Software License Optimization solution centralizes and tracks the information from internal systems creating a holistic view of software entitlements and use rights allowing organizations to minimize the number of licenses required.
Most enterprises have multiple systems in place that contain bits of information necessary to manage software assets, but lack the additional details and the ability to reconcile all the information to deliver the insights needed to really control your software estate and ensure continuous license compliance and optimized spend. Deploying a state-of-the-art Software License Optimization solution solves this problem and not only helps ensure that you avoid costly software audits but can deliver up to 30% savings on software spend.
To learn more about implementing a software asset management and license optimization program, please view our webinar series, starting with: How to Get Started on a Software Asset Management Program.