IT organizations spend an inordinate amount of money on software licenses that, all too often, are poorly managed. The reasons for this are largely two-fold: A lot of IT organizations are afraid to find out how much software is actually being used for fear of having to pay higher fees and the process of managing those software licenses is frequently divorced from mainstream IT operations.
This latter issue exists because the responsibility for acquiring software licenses is frequently in the hands of the purchasing department, which usually has zero visibility into how any given application is being used. As for concerns about having to pay additional fees, many IT organizations will be surprised to discover how much money is being wasted on software licenses that nobody is actually using.
When all is said and done, there is a significant opportunity to save a fair amount of money by being more proactive about software license management. But for that to happen, the management of software licenses and the rest of the IT environment need to be more tightly coupled, says Ken Drachnik, director of product marketing at Dell KACE, a unit of Dell that markets dedicated systems management appliances.
To facilitate that integration, Dell KACE has upgraded the Quest KACE K1000 Management Appliance with tools that monitor an organization's compliance with the terms of its software licensing agreements.
Beyond saving companies from incurring additional fees because they violated the terms of their software licensing agreements, a tighter coupling between IT systems management and software license management should actually wind up reducing the total cost of software by more easily identifying software licenses that are not actually being used.
The trouble with software license management is that it's not a continuous process in most organizations. A lot of thought goes into acquiring software, but once it's installed, the collective memory of the organization forgets about it until it's time for renewal. Given the huge percentage of the IT budget that goes to software licensing, it's pretty clear that there are lots of room for improvement.