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ARTICLE: Driving Down Software Costs with Software Asset Optimization (Part 1/6)

This article series has been contributed by Colin Bartram of Vector Networks.

In this series Colin looks at how organisations can drive down software costs with proactive software management.

Driving Down Costs with Software Asset Optimization

PART ONE – Introduction

For many organizations, efforts to improve software management start with an audit which is driven by a concern to ensure license compliance and safety from prosecution.

However, this is a largely negative reason for investing time and money into an audit.

“In contrast, a balanced program of pro-active software asset management procedures can provide most organizations with financial savings and improved user productivity.”

A compliance audit is essentially a closed exercise of counting installations and versions and comparing the totals with licenses entitlement, whereas a pro-active management approach deals with questions such as –

  • How many copies do we actually need of each application?
  • Is our installed software being used effectively?
  • Do we have spare licenses that we could re-deploy?
  • Which applications have been over-licensed and offer scope for savings on annual maintenance renewals?

With this emphasis driving your organization’s activities on software asset management, the objective of license compliance will be supported as an important – but essentially spin-off – benefit.

Extending Audit’s Horizons

When your organization is proposing to conduct a software audit for compliance, you have an opportunity to consider a much wider and longer lasting set of objectives and benefits.

Organizations using software should:

  • Understand what software the enterprise needs, by evolving Application Policies (see below) to define who should have what;
  • Monitor software usage to locate unused copies that can be redeployed, and to target training;
  • Maintain an accurate inventory of installed applications to ensure legality and that software is up to date.
  • Maintain a centralized register of license purchases and maintenance to ensure license compliance.

All these management activities service an objective that we identify as software asset optimization.

Application Policies

Part of our philosophy is that all application software requirements should be defined and quantified using a standard method. We recommend that the need for each application is defined in an ‘Application Policy’, which states which PCs need the application. A policy would refer to groups of PCs defined in an organization’s Active Directory or in its chosen IT Asset Management tools – or both, if the two are integrated as they should be. Within a policy, an application could be defined as ‘mandatory’ for some groups of PCs, ‘optional’ for some other groups, and prohibited from others.

Colin Bartram

Colin Bartram

About the Author

Colin Bartram is VP Technology with Vector Networks Technology Group. He has been involved in the evolution of IT asset management since its inception in the 1980s, holding positions primarily in marketing and product management. Further information regarding Vector Networks can be found here.

Read Part Two Here.

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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