Managing a portfolio of software licenses, with all their obscure rules for version and edition upgrades, upgrade protection, product and secondary use rights, license metrics, and more is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Software publishers are increasingly flexing their audit rights; some analyst firms now estimate that an organizations’ chance of suffering a software audit within the next 12 months is greater than 50/50. These two pressures have created the demand for software asset management solutions to automate the management of software licenses. Asset Vision enables IT to prepare an accurate, thorough, and detailed picture of license compliance without outside vendor involvement, dramatically reducing the complexity and manual tasks required to manage complex software license entitlement information.
Software Asset Management Essentials
Capture and Normalize Entitlement Documentation Regardless of Form
Existing purchase documentation exists in many forms. Often each organization will have its own consolidated license spreadsheet format, coupled with source information from large account resellers and publishers. While no system can fully automate the integration of such disparate information formats and syntax, effective license management will support a flexible import mechanism and selective manual normalization where no standardized product or license references can be deduced automatically from the source date.
Automated Capture of the Maximum License Use Rights
The face value of purchases will often not convey the full use rights; in addition to simple upgrades, rights of secondary use can have a material impact on the ultimate license position an organization will enjoy. License management automation will capture these product use rights to ensure an outcome that describes the maximum license position possible.
License System of Record
When properly implemented, a software asset management system can become the single system of record for all purchases and associated licenses. This capability provides IT professionals with a valuable planning tool for future purchases. Being able to mine such a system of record for pricing trends, purchase rates and other key metrics will transform vendor negotiations.
License Allocation Across an Organization
Once a final license position is understood, many organizations will want to ensure those licenses are correctly allocated to either individuals or devices. In doing so, there will be no doubt as to license liability of individual departments or devices. License reassignment becomes easier, and the general management of licenses will be less open to dispute.
Generate Effective License Position
The common outcome for license management is an effective license position. An effective license position is the final license tally of all purchases once all upgrades and rights of secondary use have been correctly applied. For organizations of even a modest size, such a process can be incredibly time-consuming if handled manually. Furthermore, many of the rules implemented by publishers are not readily available to a manual process. A license management solution will completely automate the preparation of an effective license position.
Generate Effective Compliance Position
The final step in any software asset management exercise is to compare the effective license position with actual installed software in order to see if compliance issues exist. This process is a lot harder to do than describe, due to the varying license metrics employed by publishers, and the complexity introduced by virtualization. Yet, with sufficiently advanced inventory tooling, which works in concert with the licensing calculations, it is possible to create compliance reports and generate an effective compliance position that bears close examination and supports the complex licensing models of major publishers.