As part of this month’s SAMPanel debate Niall Eddery, Senior Consultant with Livingstone, gave his view on the question “How can Software Vendors Simplify their Software Licensing Rules?”
There are many reasons for the current complexity in licensing rules and metrics including end user requirements, vendors leveraging rules for competitive advantage, technology changes as well as vendors ensuring that their bottom line is not harmed by any of the above! With these reasons in mind, it is hard to envisage vendors going too far to simplify the licensing rules any time soon! What would help though is a lot more clarity around what each metric means and how it should be measured. It is currently too difficult for end users to measure compliance, and when the auditors need to use tools and scripts that produce outputs that are unintelligible to all but the most hardened licensing specialists, things have gone too far!
The first thing I suggest is that vendors provide customers with more tightly defined metrics, and customers should require that vendors provide them with tools or instructions on how to measure usage as part of day to day operations. If the measurement method is not available as part of operational activities, technologists will always struggle to manage compliance.
Secondly SAM practitioners, technologists and procurement should work together when contracts are being agreed to ensure that all metrics are clearly defined, and clarifications added where necessary. All too often contracts are signed without any clear understanding of the licensing terms within. I’d also recommend some strongly worded “entire agreement” clauses to ensure that different metrics or changes can’t get in through “clickwrap” agreements.
The final point I’ll make is that some license rule simplifications are not to customer’s benefit. An example of this is where metrics for storage/ back up products are changing from processor to capacity based agreements; in many cases these vendors are cashing in on the data explosion underway for the last few years. As usual, buyer beware!
About the Author:
Livingstone provide an end-to-end software asset management solution for organisations looking to gain complete visibility and control over their software licensing spend.
Combining their unique approach, accurate inventory and entitlement data with experienced Software Asset Management (SAM) specialists, they understand their client’s software licensing needs and goals. They arm their specialists with vendor agnostic Livingstone technology to provide real time licensing transparency and control.