Essentials Considerations When Optimizing/Reducing Software Costs

  • Posted by: Pete Summers

The faster pace of change means organizations need to innovate faster and be digitally agile to stay competitive. IT budgets are constantly under pressure and review as IT teams look to balance expenditure between existing IT Operations and digital transformation projects.

Software licenses and maintenance are big line items in most IT budgets. Upwards of 30% of IT budgets are dedicated to software projects. Applications are often downloaded and installed, sometimes for short projects, or to solve a specific problem. Once it has served its purpose and is no longer needed, that software often lays idle on the device consuming a license and being covered under maintenance.

To optimize costs and achieve the greatest savings possible, organizations need to get accurate, granular asset and usage intelligence. Understanding what license rights the organization has purchased, how many instances of software are deployed on what type of devices is only part of the picture. Understanding the true ‘need’ of the organization through granular usage data is at the crux of minimizing overspending, maintaining compliance and ensuring the proper tools are in the hands of the right users.

Essentials of Optimizing Software Costs

IT Asset Baseline

Without accurate, comprehensive and a routinely updated baseline inventory of software signatures and products, effective software license compliance is nearly impossible. Software licensing is complex and vendors have many different ways to license it. To achieve maximum transparency this information must encompass hardware as well as software because of the numerous device dependent licensing models. But, it must not ignore the rapid emergence of SaaS.

It is important that this baseline is also supported by an integrated normalization capability. Asset Vision provides the active, comprehensive and complete discovery and inventory capabilities needed to achieve SAM/ITAM success.

Configuration Intelligence

For true software license compliance, it is not enough to make the baseline configuration of the IT estate more transparent. It must be capable within the tool to show the relationship between configuration and the deployment of software to ensure proper transparency. Understanding the interplay of licensing, virtualization, and clustering is essential if “lights on” IT costs are to be driven down and a true software license management picture is to emerge.

Being License Aware

Asset management and software license compliance must rely on intelligent discovery. With specific support for the licensing models of major publishers Asset Vision provides a comprehensive software license compliance solution that will detect those machines where the software configuration creates a liability. Further it will assess underlying hardware and virtualization configurations to enumerate the exact metric counts applicable to the assignment.

Asset Vision supports multiple metrics that include seat, Operating Systems (physical and virtual), Processor/Core, consumer or geographical. This includes license rules must being tightly integrated with license metrics to ensure accurate reporting all within a unified approach.

Being Cloud Aware

Organizations tend to use 91 cloud computing services on average; shadow IT usage is up 70% and 30 to 40% of cloud based applications are used on an unsanctioned basis within companies.

Software license management in the world of SaaS is less about being prepared for an audit, and more about ensuring and monitoring the consumption of the various license metrics of the SaaS applications in use. This must not be relegated to a third party or external tool, but be part of the single software license management solution. Scalable’s Asset Vision is uniquely qualified to monitor these metrics and provide this unified approach.

Accurate Usage Intelligence – Critical for Optimal Savings

Many organizations have numerous servers, holding expensive licenses, supporting non-existent workloads. Being able to identify by whom and how each of the components of business systems are used is essential in order to support decisions about the best candidates for re-harvesting or decommissioning unnecessary hardware and software.

Often organizations will look to identify cases where the software was unused over a period of a certain number days. 90 days is a typical threshold. While this serves to identify a small proportion of savings, it does not give any perspective on how intensely other users are using software applications.

A common fallacy is that license control systems can provide accurate usage data. In our experience, they can’t: they’re too susceptible to being ‘gamed.’

‘License camping,’ as it’s known, is where users launch high end applications each day, just to demonstrate to the license control system that they need a license. In tests that we have conducted, we have seen real genuine usage over a 90 day period to be as low as five percent of the total community of users.

Moreover, not all usage is equal: without an ability to determine whether use of an application is read-only or read-write, there’s a strong likelihood of identifying license requirements that do not exist in reality.

If users only ever read documents or web pages in certain applications, rather than write data to them, then not only is providing them with a read-only or report-only license going to be a lot less expensive, it will generally be a better solution for the user.

Scalable’s Asset Vision delivers precise, activity-based software usage metering at the level of detail needed to answer the most pressing questions of what software should you keep, what software needs to be harvested and redeployed as well as the appropriate products assigned to the right level of user.

Author: Pete Summers

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