Failure to comply is not an option

Software asset management is vital in times of economic turbulence.

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Times are tough for IT departments. Talk of recession is widespread, and the fear of an economic downturn is already having an effect on organisational spending, with predicted job cuts and budget tightening.

When crisis threatens, CEOs are faced with the tough task of maximising revenue while reducing their outgoings, and often the IT department is the first port of call when it comes to cutbacks, despite its ability to increase efficiency and provide significant cost savings.

Software licensing and effective Software Asset Management (SAM) can provide IT departments with the key to making these savings. In simple terms, the trick is to avoid two common mistakes - under-licensing or over-licensing.

Said like that, it sounds very simple, but in truth managing licenses is somewhat more demanding. While there will always be a small minority of CIOs who turn a blind eye to licensing laws, in the hope that the savings made will outweigh the potential risk of an audit, it is more likely that mis-management of software is done through ignorance rather than complicity.

One organisation that has seen the benefits of SAM first hand is the Telegraph Media Group, publishers of the Daily Telegraph.

The Group saved £100,000 on over-licensing through implementation of SAM. With 1,000 employees and even more desktops, laptops and servers at five sites across the UK, the Telegraph Group implemented an automated software solution, which allowed the IT department to more accurately determine how much software was on the network and therefore what their licensing position was.

In this case, they were immediately able to see that they were significantly over-licensed, allowing them to renegotiate their license contracts and redistribute any licenses which weren’t being used.

It is easy for those responsible for the organisation’s compliance to lose sight of how software is being deployed and used across the IT estate. The ease with which software can be downloaded, installed and shared across multiple PCs means that even if the IT department thinks it has software procurement under control, actual usage can quickly outpace planned deployment.

But while this shortcoming is unintentional, it can still be seen as illegal activity and can leave businesses perilously at risk from vendor audits and subsequent fines. Alternatively, they may be so aware of the potential legal proceedings they over-invest on licences, just to be on the safe side. As such, what is needed is a solution that gives the IT department complete governance of their networks.

SAM offers the key to both minimizing the risks associated with under-licensing as well as eliminating wasted purchases of software or renewal of unfavourable maintenance contracts. SAM is based on having both technology in place to understand what’s happening on the network as well as adopting best practices to manage IT operations, thus forming the foundation for effective Software License Compliance.

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