From running daily reports, to moving and backing up files, automation in IT is key in speeding up operations and standardising the way repetitive tasks are executed. Governance and security are improved through automation, and although human input is still required to monitor automated output, the IT Team as a resource is able to spend more time on the business-critical work that directly impacts the department, and indeed the organisation as whole.
Transactional software licensing management tasks – such as the gathering, consolidating, and normalising of software install and usage data, and the cross referencing of that data with software license entitlement – are essential in compliance, and ensure an organisation is prepared in the event of an audit. Larger organisations that often boast larger IT budgets can enjoy a chunky investment in an internal Software Asset Management solution, where smaller organisations perhaps don’t have that luxury. No matter the size of the organisation, or its IT budget, it’s shocking to find that 73% of SAM Managers spend most of their time on transactional license management tasks. Tasks that could be completed in less time, and more accurately, through automation.
User based licensing: cost effective but time consuming
Automation in managing user based licenses could be the difference between ROI and an IT admin nightmare. As an example, Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions permit multiple installations of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 on up to:
5x PCs or MACs
5x tablets or phones
Should multiple users have access to these multiple devices, the IT department is challenged in tracking the instances of Microsoft Office that are actually covered by the Microsoft Office 365 subscription. Not only that, if a user with a subscription has Office installed on their desktop computer, their laptop, and their tablet, the network discovery tool requests a license for each of those three installs where the Office 365 admin portal reports a single subscription.
Performed manually, reconciling each user to their multiple aliases before allocating a single license across a user’s set of devices is a complicated and time consuming task. If aliases could be matched and then cross referenced with the appropriate license and device automatically, it would take less resource, be less prone to error, and be of value not just to Software Asset Managers, but also HR, procurement, and finance as stakeholders in IT.
Making SAM predictions using artificial intelligence
Unplanned changes are not always well covered in software licenses for products in a data centre. It’s complicated, and so if capacity requirements need to increase, for example, this could lead to unexpected expenditure. A data centre with an online catalogue for a retailer will need to be allocated additional compute resources to cope with busy periods, and while peaks and troughs in activity are to be expected, a certain level of flexibility is required in establishing just what is needed and when; certain hours of the day will see more activity, as will certain times of the year.
Using historical data, such as the previous year’s activity, artificial intelligence will predict when additional capacity is likely required, and therefore when additional expenditure is necessary. Organisations can work with a list of recommendations and a reliable prognosis of the financial year, understanding when further purchases are necessary.
Software asset management needs automation
The most important job for a SAM Manager should be the balancing act between consumption data and licenses. Reconciliation, should it happen automatically, will allow more time to be spent on establishing compliance and identifying areas in which money can be saved through the reallocation of licenses.