Five Steps to Simplify Software Asset Management

Geoff Collins
Geoff Collins
Geoff Collins is Senior Project Manager for

Many companies struggle to identify what software is used and by whom. A further complication to IT asset management is that companies need to go beyond simply knowing who has software installed to determine whether they are in fact using it, in order to avoid overspending and comply with software licensing agreements. Here are five simple steps to make managing software assets effective and simple.

How to Optimize Software Licenses for Improved IT Asset Management

Worried about your next software vendor audit or licensing true-up? Managing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of purchased applications, can be a daunting task for large organizations.

Depending on out-of-date spreadsheets or off-the-shelf software asset management (SAM) tools to manage IT assets creates compliance chaos. Add to that the fact that software vendors often lack a clear view of the licenses their customers own, as some may have been purchased independently, via a reseller, from a computer store or online, and you have complete compliance anarchy.

The Compliance Conundrum

In most organizations, you can find software on users' computers that is not used and/or not licensed. To minimize software audit liability, organizations need to clearly reconcile what software they own and what software is deployed. It isn't enough to know, '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.' So how can you ensure compliance?

The Buyers: There is often a significant disconnect between those responsible for managing the software licensing as multiple buyers (i.e., procurement departments, ICT departments, and users themselves) are in the mix. To make matters worse, ever more vigilant vendors have increased the number of software audits they perform. Many organizations react by overspending on software to ensure compliance, but this practice can create major liabilities and damage the bottom line.

The Users: How users view the software installed on their computers often further complicates the compliance headache. Some users just don't like having anything taken away from them, and so are prone to wanting to keep software even if they are not actively using it. Similarly, business units can lay claim to software, forgetting that it is actually a line item in a budget and therefore something that costs the organization money. This is problematic because business won't be able to fully optimize its software asset inventory and will likely incur massive overspending.

The Vendors: Software vendors add another layer of complexity by offering a host of different software suites and package deals. Right sizing suite deployment is a key way to save money, as application users often have a professional edition when they only need a standard version. Avoiding functional overlap (two pieces of software that fulfill the same purpose) can also be avoided. In fact, many applications have free alternatives that may meet your organization's needs just as well as the expensive professional edition.

Rather than relying on outdated snapshots of IT assets, software asset management (SAM) can become a stress-free, continual process by taking advantage of an effective SAM tool.

A Simple Asset Management Solution

Many software asset managers depend on software tools to balance the number of licenses purchased with the number of actual copies installed. However, this task requires intense manual input and time-consuming research, yet fails to provide critical details such as the number of licenses actually needed, where software waste exists (i.e., applications that are no longer used) and areas for potential cost savings.

Reconciling the number of licenses owned with usage can be a big cost saver. In fact, research shows that unused software is a significant drain on IT budgets, costing organizations an average of $414.50 per PC. If there is no license liability, organizations can simply reclaim the unused license and recycle it for future use. Depending on the amount of unused licenses reclaimed/elimination, organizations may even be able to negotiate their maintenance contracts to better reflect actual usage. There is simply no reason to purchase extra, and unnecessary, licenses.

If you are ready to eliminate unused licenses and drive immediate software licensing savings, enlist a SAM tool that empowers you to follow these five simple steps:

  1. Present a rationalized inventory of installed applications and license costs.
  2. Identify unused software on users' computers.
  3. Categorize each installation of software according to its utilization rates.
  4. Allow license managers to automatically reclaim or uninstall applications.
  5. Provide in-depth reports quickly and deliver actionable insight.

Traditional IT asset management approaches have been failing enterprises, but new approaches offer a simple way for organizations to get out of the spreadsheet nightmare.

Solutions like AppClarity present a rationalized inventory of installed applications and license costs, and identify unused software. Each installation of software is categorized into three buckets according to its utilization, using a proprietary algorithm to help license managers determine next steps. High utilization software is not taken into account for the purposes of potential savings, while low utilization and unused software (has not been used over a three-month period) can be considered for automated license reclaim. Advanced tools also give license managers the option to make a mandatory uninstall, which removes applications silently, or to deliver a notification to users showing when they last used an application and giving them the choice to opt in or out of the reclaim.

Stop dreading time-intensive software audits and burning through your IT budget. Optimize your software license management to get a true picture of license usage across the business, deliver immediate savings and make software asset management simple.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post

Oct 2, 2012 3:26 PM David Lubert David Lubert  says:
The first step in software asset management is the capture of the software entitlement rights commonly termed the software contract. The best tool for this is License12 which also provides benchmark data! Reply
Mar 18, 2014 5:16 AM Harry - Harry -  says:
The use of software management is actually very easy. For many people, this software can be very difficult to use because they do not listen how to use it. These tips are very useful because I do not quite understand, and still assume the software is complex. Reply

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