Rationalizing Software Assets – Remove or Repurpose?

  • Posted by: Pete Summers

In nearly all organizations, there is usually an opportunity for rationalizing software assets to drive savings. There will undoubtedly be opportunities to eliminate unused or underutilized software and remove unnecessary duplication and overlap.

Why buy new software licenses if what is required is lying unused elsewhere in the organizations’ IT estate?

But in fact, the software opportunity is much bigger and broader than this. While it’s far from unusual for organizations to possess considerable amounts of unused software—shelfware—a bigger prize is often the amount of software that is installed but unused, or alternatively, installed and underutilized.

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.

The challenge: locating this software, which could be spread across hundreds or thousands of workstations within the organizations’ IT estate.

Establishing the Facts

Paper-based audits take months, are costly in terms of effort and resources, and generally turn out to be unacceptably inaccurate. As a tool for quickly identifying unused or under-used software, manual audits have little to offer.

Worse, they’re easy to ‘game.’ Workstation users generally don’t like being deprived of something, even if they don’t use it, or use it only very occasionally.

Consequently, research generally shows that software usage as reported by users tends to differ significantly from real software usage.

License Control Systems Don’t Deliver

That said, 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.

Rich Discovery

So how to go about establishing genuine software requirements? And thereby identify opportunities to remove or repurpose unnecessary software?

It turns out that Scalable Software’s Asset Vision can help.

Asset Vision, Scalable Software’s intelligent agentless discovery tool—finds and catalogs hardware and software assets across the IT estate, irrespective of platform or location.

Some systems which claim to do this, turn out in reality to go little further than providing the software package’s name, its publisher, and its version number. Asset Vision goes much, much further—providing a rich set of software asset data so that organizations can make meaningful decisions regarding the software redeployment opportunities that are open to them.

Remove, Repurpose, Deploy

With a couple of clicks, IT administrators can survey the entire IT estate, seeing not only every piece of software and metadata such as version number, but also data such as:

  • Who is using it
  • At which precise workstation
  • When it was last used
  • For how many hours a day it is being used
  • How intensively it is being used, in terms of keystrokes entered

If software is there, Asset Vision will find it. And it won’t just find it, but will also discover and normalize all the data you need in order to make smart decisions about rationalizing software assets and delivering software savings.

In short, when a business needs facts about its IT estate, Asset Vision provides them—rapidly, flexibly, and with low impact.

For intelligent, agentless discovery, Asset Vision leads the pack.

Author: Pete Summers

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