How to Make Managing Software Assets Simple

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The challenge of managing software assets can present a nightmare scenario for companies unable to identify what software is used and by whom. The biggest headache for asset managers is to ensure that their companies can adhere to strict compliance and software licensing agreements. Here, Karayi, CEO of 1E illustrates how, with the right tools and policies, you can help your customers make managing software assets a dream.—Jennifer Bosavage, editor

Managing the hundreds – if not thousands – of purchased applications can be overwhelming for large organizations. With multiple buyers in the guise of procurement departments, ICT departments and users themselves, there is often a disconnect with those responsible for managing the software licensing. If they lack the right tools to discover the true usage figures, your customers are faced with a time-consuming and difficult task when one of their vendors comes knocking at their door for an audit or true-up.

Where Asset Managers Miss the Mark
Today, many software asset managers rely on software to balance the number of licenses purchased with the number of actual copies installed. This task requires intense manual input and time-consuming research, yet fails to provide three critical details:

1) The number of licenses actually needed
2) Where software waste exists (applications that are no longer used)
3) Areas for potential cost savings

Reconciling the number of licenses owned with usage can be a huge eye opener. Research shows that unused software is a significant drain on IT budgets, costing organizations an average of $414.50 per PC.

To make matters worse for your customers, ever more vigilant vendors have increased their number of software audits, and many organizations react by overspending on software to ensure compliance. This practice can create major liabilities and damage the bottom line.

IT Asset Compliance Chaos
When organizations depend on limited spreadsheets or off-the-shelf software asset management (SAM) tools to manage IT assets, chaos reigns. To make matters worse, vendors often lack a clear view of the licenses their customer owns, as some may have been purchased independently, via a reseller, from a computer store or online. It’s a pragmatic reality that organizations will have software on users’ computers that is not used and/or not licensed. So how will they ensure compliance?

To fully protect your customers against software audit liability, you must help them reconcile two things: What they own and what is deployed. Any solution that doesn’t do this will only ever be able to say, “You’ve got 20,000 Microsoft Visio out there,” rather than, “You’ve got a liability of 1,500 copies of unlicensed Visio out there.” One can only lead to panic and uncertainty, while the other provides clarity. By reconciling the licenses owned with those being used, your customers can get a better idea of how to minimize license liability and reduce costs.

In addition, how users view the software they have installed on their computers can add to the compliance headache. Users and/or business units claiming ownership of certain software as if it truly belongs to them, not the organization, handcuffs your customers from optimizing their software asset inventory and leads to massive overspending.

Vendors add another layer of complexity by offering a host of different software suites. Right sizing suite deployment is a key way to save your customers money. All too often application users have a professional edition when they only needed standard version. Many applications have free alternatives that work well for users who don’t need all the bells and whistles that a professional edition offers.

Putting a Proper Process in Place

All of the above factors contribute to an asset management nightmare that’s waiting to happen. Rather than using outdated snapshots of their assets, you can make software asset management (SAM) a stress-free, continual process by leveraging a SAM tool that:

• Presents a rationalized inventory of installed applications and license costs
• Identifies unused software on users’ computers
• Categorizes each installation of software according to its utilization rates
• Allows license managers to automatically reclaim or uninstall applications
• Provides in-depth reports quickly and delivers actionable insight

Doing so will empower your customers to eliminate unused licenses and demonstrate immediate software licensing savings. In addition, if there is no license liability, organization can simply reclaim the unused license and recycle it for future use. Depending on the amount of unused licenses reclaimed/elimination, your customers may be able to negotiate their maintenance contracts to better reflect actual usage. There is simply no reason for your clients to purchase extra, and unnecessary, licenses.

Traditional IT asset management approaches have been failing enterprises. Get your customers out of the spreadsheets nightmare so they can stop dreading time-intensive software audits and wasting money they don’t have. Lead your customers into the reality of software license optimization to get a true picture of license usage across the business, deliver immediate savings and make software asset management simple.

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