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Image: Software License Management Checklist—Keeping Score

It’s no surprise that you need to understand your license position to avoid overbuying software and be in compliance with your software vendor contracts. A common question I get is whether configuration management and inventory tools like SCCM 2012 are good enough for software asset management and license optimization. The short answer is no. But to understand why, I made a good housekeeping checklist. It may not be exhaustive, but it should provide a starting point for an IT asset management (ITAM)/software asset management (SAM)/license management (LM) request for information (RFI), to cut to the chase and quickly determine suitability of tools for this purpose.

The list implies that multiple knowledge reservoirs must work together to provide an accurate picture of an IT estate, provide actionable information, and hold up to the scrutiny of an independent software vendor (ISV) license review or audit. These requirements go far beyond standard discovery and inventory of software for physical devices.

Discovery, Inventory, Application Recognition, Metering Support
Aggregation of multiple inventory sources
Wintel-based desktops, notebooks, laptops…
Unix and Linux machine coverage
Agentless Inventory for production servers (agents not allowed)
Active Sync mobile devices (iPads, iPhones, Android…)
Network-based: Oracle, SAP, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM ILMT…
Virtual Machines: VMware, Hyper-V…
Hardware Partitions: LPARS, WPARS, nPars, vPARS, Solaris Zones…
Streamed or locally cached applications: Citrix XenApp, Microsoft APP-V…
Virtual desktops: Citrix, VMware VDI…
Hardware inventory details: processors/cores (type & count), memory, server model…
Concurrent license usage: Cadence, Mentor, Synopsys…
ISO 19770-2 Application Tagging support
Repackaged Application Recognition
Recognition of applications from all major vendors
Recognition of application suites and bundles
Recognition of internal/custom applications—per user supplied rules
Non-Inventory Data Sources
Organization: LDAP
HR: role, authorization level
Software Request Portal; Helpdesk
Purchase Order System, ERP system
Application Entitlements (Product Use Rights): Upgrade, downgrade, roaming, multiple installations, second use, virtual server, virtual desktop, DR/Failover…
Product ID / SKUs: Indentify how purchased, full packaged product, OEM, volume, maintenance…
Application Recognition: Transform Inventory to application titles, editions and suites
Automated Processing: SKU library linked to application recognition library
Models supported: Device, processor/core, resource, authorized user, concurrent use, full capacity, Subcapacity…
Vendor Specific Models: Oracle NUP, Oracle Processor, IBM PVU / RVU / UVU, SAP User…
Allocation: Subsidiaries, business units, cost centers, regions, departments, users, devices…
Association: Licenses to contract terms
Contract Management
Volume Agreements: Microsoft EA, Select, Select Plus, Adobe CLP…
Alerts: Time sensitive terms, renewals, review periods, annual true-ups…
Licenses covered per contract
Document storage: copy of a contract, proof of license, and compliance record.
Optimizing Algorithms
Order of license allocation considering versions and editions of applications
Smart allocation of licenses to application Suites
Maximum utilization of License Entitlements (Product Use Rights)
Optimized consumption: Microsoft server models, built-in PVU tables…
Optimize User Type allocation based on application usage (e.g. SAP User licenses)
Remix of application licenses based on application usage (concurrent licenses)
Predictive compliance/financial What-If analysis before hardware or software changes
Compliance, Reports, Alerts
Optimized license position
Purchased versus installed license position
Applications and suites Installed; software asset reports
License position per business unit or cost center
Rolled-up Company position (liability to vendor)
Pending maintenance renewals with financial impact; areas for maintenance cost savings
Alerts on breaches, unauthorized applications, financial liability of change
Chargeback to business units, cost centers, regions…
Application purchases not under volume agreement
Trend analysis and reports to forecast future licensing needs

Software asset management and license optimization solutions that can meet this set of requirements can help your organization maintain continuous license compliance, manage hardware and software assets from a financial perspective, and reduce ongoing costs for software licenses and maintenance.

Is there anything else that should be added to the checklist? Please send me your comments.