Software license management best practices
As you inventory, organize, and optimize your organizations software license holdings, here are three best practices to keep in mind.
Align with your software asset management program
Software license management (SLM) is closely affiliated with Software Asset Management (SAM) therefore, the two programs must be closely aligned. While software license management focuses explicitly on ensuring solutions are not over or under licensed, SAM focuses on the solution as a whole, including functionality, cost, and deployment throughout the lifecycle. To explain it another way, a closely connected SLM and SAM program will provide you with a better understanding of your license position and better visibility into Entitlement, Inventory and Consumption (EIC).
It is a good idea to centralize SAM and software license management under one team. Housing license and asset data together ensures that both teams are on the same page with the most up to date data on license and software installations and use. With this information, the SAM / SLM team can ensure license optimization, inform the software procurement team on renewal, and have visibility into compliance risk areas. Additionally, having this information aligned prepares the organization for an inevitable software audit.
Perform a compliance audit
When implementing a software license program, you should begin by performing a compliance audit. This will show you every instance of software installed and in use, versus your allotted entitlements. With this information, you can begin to establish an Effective License Position (ELP). This is the first step in your SLM process, but this does not mean that once the audit is performed, and discrepancies are corrected, that your license management program is satisfied. Software license management and software asset management have to be continual processes to manage risk and optimize software spend. To facilitate this ongoing program, organizations will require Software Asset Management and Software License Management solutions.
Deploy a software license management solution
With the volume of software used across organizations today, it is impossible to manually track and optimize each license. To have consistent information, organizations should implement an SLM solution. Solutions such as these automate the process of locating deployed licenses. A valuable feature to look for in a software license management tool is one that will not only record if a license is deployed, but also how often it is used. If an employee has a program installed on their device but rarely uses it, the SAM / SLM team can notify the user, uninstall it, and add the license to the license pool.
Optimize for cloud
Today, solutions, infrastructure, and platforms are all moving to the cloud. Gartner anticipates that by 2020, 80 percent of enterprise software vendors will shift to subscription models from traditional license models. Having solutions and applications deployed in the cloud poses a challenge to software license management teams, as the software can simply be consumed without being installed. It is important to ensure that your SLM processes and tools allow you to effectively monitor software use in the cloud in addition to on-premises and mobile environments. This will allow your organization to embrace the benefits the cloud offers, while staying compliant and within budget. But, even before you move to the cloud, having an effective SLM Methodology in place will ensure that only the highly utilized applications are moved to the cloud, guaranteeing from day 1 that your cloud environment is optimized.