The ISO 19770-1 standard, currently being revised and updated, provides 27 key software asset management components that can help organizations perform the gap analysis between their current processes and best practices.
Key to the ISO 19770-1 standard is the identification of interfaces between software asset management tools and other systems, such as configuration management, financial, ERP and HR tools. These systems provide a plethora of data needed to manage the software estate - inventory, purchase order, contract and organizational information, to name a few. Software asset management requires all of this data to establish a baseline license position, maintain license compliance and ultimately, help the enterprise optimize license management to reduce software costs.
Strategies for Improvement
Depending on the organization's starting point, there are a number of things that can be done to improve the software asset management process. If an organization is at a low level of maturity - for example, just collecting inventory and maybe doing purchased versus installed license reconciliation manually - they may decide to follow the tiered approach defined in the updated ISO 19770-1 standard. The ISO 19770-1 rewrite provides a framework for how to go from a low level of software asset management maturity to a high level via a 4-tier phased approach:
Tier 1: Trustworthy Data
Achieving this means knowing what you have so that you can manage it.
Tier 2: Practical Management
Achieving this means improving management controls and driving immediate benefits.
Tier 3: Operational Integration
Achieving this means improving efficiency and effectiveness.
Tier 4: Full ISO/IEC Software Asset Management Conformance
Achieving this means achieving best-in-class strategic software asset management
Next-generation Software Asset Management - Optimized License Management
Once you have established a solid base - software asset management policies and procedures in place, accurate inventory, centralized purchasing (if possible), centralized license repository, application and vendor consolidation, automated purchased versus installed license reconciliation, etc., the next step is to optimize license management. This means taking into account the license entitlements - product use rights - to minimize license consumption. It also means selecting the best license models for your organization, and optimally allocating licenses across the enterprise. Here are a few examples of how these optimizations come into play, depending on the vendor, purchase agreement, license model and other factors.
Software licenses are usually purchased as part of a volume agreement or purchasing program. These programs have specific rules as written in the contract documents. For instance, a license purchased under an Adobe CLP agreement will provide the right to use the software on Windows or MAC operating systems. A Microsoft Select Agreement will provide second use rights for most desktop products - allowing the installation and use of the software on a second machine (e.g. a laptop computer) under a single license. Second use rights allow organizations to have more installations than licenses consumed-this can reduce licensing costs.
Similarly, Symantec provides disaster recovery rights for certain data center server applications, such as its NetBackup product. Symantec Cold Disaster Recovery rights allow for one additional copy of the licensed software to be installed on a Cold Disaster Recovery server. This right is a function of the server role - production, test, development, disaster recovery/failover, etc.
Symantec and other vendors also define virtual environment use rights. For example, the operating system edition determines the number of virtual machines allowed per license for Symantec Storage Foundation. The Symantec license tiers correspond to the Windows Server virtualization rights granted by Microsoft. On Windows Server Enterprise edition, the Symantec software may be installed and run on up to four virtual machines, whereas for Datacenter edition, the number of virtual machines is unlimited.
These examples illustrate why it's so important for enterprises to know and understand the difference between install counts and license consumption counts. A simple "purchased versus installed" analysis of the license position, that doesn't take these rights into account, will result in purchasing more licenses than necessary.
SAP has user-based licenses for its products and there are a number of different license tiers with varying price levels. There are more expensive Developer and Professional User licenses and less costly Employee User licenses, among others. In this case, it's critical to track application and license usage to determine the appropriate license type for each individual user. Not doing so often results in the organization paying for more costly licenses that they don't really need. This is an example of optimizing based on knowledge of the appropriate business model and implementing automation around that.
Next-generation software asset and license management solutions are available to help organizations achieve the highest level of maturity - optimized license management. These tools incorporate knowledge of complex license models, license entitlements and purchase agreements to automate the license optimization process and enabled organizations to achieve faster return on investment.