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Do We Actually Need Software License Management?

  • Posted by: Russell Wood

Wait, before you shoot me down just let me explain. Software license management is now a major industry with many strong software companies competing around the same proposition. Everybody has heard the horror stories of audits and the major fines that have been levied against companies for either not having control over their licenses or using them incorrectly. The providers of software don’t make this any easier with complex license models which seem to constantly change.

So, it’s obvious that to avoid risk around licensing you need the classic tooling, people and processes.

Software License Management is Needed

And yet something about this never sat right with me, it was too defensive for my liking. I’ve always believed that the earlier in a chain that you can resolve problems the better. Get the customer requirements right before you start to build and yet this approach appears to have been abandoned by License Management Software Vendors.

That’s why working at Scalable on their Asset Vision® service has been a revelation, and it’s extremely exciting to assist in steering the product based on how I believe this should work.

Solving the Problem

Asset Vision at its core, solves a very simple problem – What have I got installed and what is being used?

Breaking that down, why are you calculating your licenses based just on what is installed? The first step should be to remove any unused software.

Let’s take a case that I’ve seen in business after business. Somebody has sent me a Microsoft Project file that I want to look at and perhaps make some changes. That’s ok, we have a process for that, so I raise a request and then get my manager to approve. In organisations without Asset Vision that software is normally installed forever whether the person ever uses it again. With software like this we see from 20% up to 75% non-usage which can be recovered.

It gets even better, by looking at usage patterns we can determine if you should be using a standard or professional edition of the product. Again, you are fixing the real problems at source.

Look at your organisation and imagine taking that much cost out of IT without any problematic IT process changes. Avoid a defensive approach, but instead look at getting ahead of the problem with proactive monitoring and removal of unused and underutilized software.

At the end of the day, of course, software license management is needed, which is why it’s inbuilt into Asset Vision. But by concentrating on the true issues you are facing it is possible to actually be answering the real questions of cost, compliance and security because you have the right software, being used for the right job, by the right people.