Software licensing and software compliance is a complicated business. For the end user this complication can result in financial penalties and for the software companies this often means financial gain. Software vendors are currently operating in a highly challenging environment environment.
Their intellectual property is under-threat from piracy, freeware and malware, whilst client IT budgets are under increased strain year on year. As a result they need to ensure that revenue is maximized and clients are paying for what they use.
Companies, like yours, agree to licensing terms that confuse, confound and blindside.
The key question to ask yourself is can you confidently state whether you overused or underused your software licences, would you be able to provide a quick and comprehensive answer? Probably not. And you’re not alone – King Research has highlighted that 69% of all IT managers would be unable to answer this simple question – one of the most costly questions in today’s IT world.
Software asset management (SAM) is a complicated business, made so mostly by the companies that design and develop the software.
What is fact and what is fiction in the complex world of software asset management?
Fiction: a basic understanding of your software assets is all that is needed to face a vendor audit.
Fact: a detailed understanding of all software assets, how they are used, by whom and with a thorough understudying of the coming 12-18 months is the only way to face a vendor audit.
Fiction: software companies are kind and will often overlook an overused licence position so you don’t incur financial penalties.
Fact: it is the responsibility of the purchasing company to know what licences they need. If you get it wrong then software vendors are within their contractual rights to impose compliancy penalties and back maintenance payments that can run into the millions of pounds.
Fiction: automated tools will discover everything you need and you won’t have any further licensing issues now or in the future.
Fact: automated tools can only go so far. They are intelligently developed, but miss much as they have no interpretation capabilities or understanding of the unique environmnent of each user – true licensing requirements can only be learnt by a human working closely with an organisation.
Fiction: SAM is a one-off project that, once grasped, will never need to be visited again.
Fact: SAM is an ongoing process of continual evaluation, alignment, exploration, and constant challenges. Having a solid SAM strategy and the right partner to execute it will ensure 100% compliance.
Automated SAM software is a good start for any organisation, but this is not the silver bullet that will fix all issues. To truly know your software assets you must engage with professionals who know how to interrogate your real needs, now and in the future, and align your software estate.