Benefits to Your Organization:
- Know What You Have— discovery, inventory, application recognition and normalization across multiple platforms
- Maintain continuous software license compliance to minimize audit risk
- Reconcile license purchases with software installations and usage to have visibility and control
- Automate and optimize entitlement based desktop software license management to enable the reduction of license, maintenance and audit costs
- Proactively manage contracts and renewals to “buy only what you need”
- Automate license management to reduce manual effort and improve operational efficiency
Software License Optimization = Software Savings & Compliance
Software is one of the major items on IT expense budgets. Industry analysts estimate that software license and maintenance fees represent 20 to 35% of total enterprise IT spend. Not only are desktop and server applications from major vendors— Adobe®, IBM®, Microsoft®, Oracle®, SAP®, Symantec™ and VMware®—strategic to businesses, they also represent the vast majority of an enterprise’s software spend.
The approach for managing this software asset portfolio is typically immature, local rather than global, and frequently involves spreadsheets or other ad-hoc methods. The lack of mature software asset management processes exposes enterprises to software audit liabilities and overspending on licenses and maintenance. What is needed is a Software License Optimization solution that allows organizations to control costs and reduce risks associated with software assets. FlexNet Manager® Suite for Enterprises provides a comprehensive set of products that enable organizations to manage hardware assets and optimize software licenses for pervasive desktop and server software. Organizations are also able to maintain software license compliance and automate critical processes to improve IT operational efficiency. The Flexera Software solution allows organizations to realize ongoing cost savings of up to 25% per year on their software spend.
FlexNet Manager Platform is the foundation of FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises used by thousands of enterprises to gain visibility and control of hardware and software assets and optimize software spend.
FlexNet Manager Platform
FlexNet Manager Platform Provides:
- Desktop to Datacenter Discovery, Inventory, Hardware and Software Asset Management – FlexNet Manager Platform provides scalable desktop to datacenter hardware and software asset management functionality to identify and manage hardware assets and applications installed on physical and virtual machines. The Platform provides discovery, inventory and hardware asset management (HAM) for desktops, laptops, servers, and mobile devices (Maturity Model Level 1, see page 2). It provides application recognition and normalization across more than 16,000 publishers and 223,476 applications from desktop to datacenter (Maturity Model Level 2). Asset reports provide actionable insight into hardware assets, software installations, and application usage. The Platform shows license compliance status, upcoming payments, and automates license reclamation (Maturity Model Level 3).
- Desktop/Client Software License Optimization – FlexNet Manger Platform also provides Software License Optimization across desktops, laptops, and other client devices, enabling organizations to reach Level 4 in the Software License Optimization Maturity Model, for desktop software. It automatically applies product use rights acquired through software license agreements from desktop vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft and Symantec. Product use rights can dramatically affect the number of licenses consumed by an organization, and therefore must be taken into account to minimize costs and ensure license compliance
- Foundation for Server Software License Optimization – FlexNet Manager Platform serves as the foundation for add-on server optimization products in FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises. These products provide automated Software License Optimization for server software by applying product use rights acquired through purchase agreements from high value vendors, such as, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Symantec, and VMware
Platform Discovery & Inventory
FlexNet Manager Platform provides both agent-based and agentless technology to collect physical (Microsoft Windows®, Linux®, UNIX®, MAC OS® platforms), virtual machine (VM), and hardware partition inventory of hardware and software across the IT estate. Application usage data may also be collected. The Platform can import inventory and usage data from csv files and Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets as well. The Platform supports the ISO 19770-2 software tagging standard; the Windows agent collects software tags on each device, if available. These tags are used to identify software installations.
The Platform also provides specialized discovery and inventory capabilities including virtual environment discovery and inventory. The Platform supports collection of inventory for VMware (vSphere®/ESX® Server), Microsoft (Hyper-V®) and Oracle VM in x86 environments. It correlates virtual machines (VM) to physical hosts and collects information on allocation of hardware resources to VMs to enable accurate license management of processor/core based license models.
Additionally, the Platform has out-of-the-box adapters to Citrix® XenDesktop®, XenApp® and EdgeSight® to allow the collection of user access rights and virtualized application usage data. This allows management of licenses for software running on these Citrix desktop and application virtualization technologies.
Supports Extensive Integration to Existing IT Systems
FlexNet Manager Platform provides out-of-the-box integration to many existing IT systems, including configuration management, inventory and usage data tools:
FlexNet Manager Platform also provides out-of-the box integration with industry leading IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions from companies such as BMC and ServiceNow. Bi-directional data exchange via the ITSM Configuration Management Database (CMDB) enhances ITSM processes such as Change, Problem, Request and Capacity Management, as well as Software License Optimization processes.
In addition, FlexNet Manger Platform provides a connection layer to 3rd party HR, financial, service desk, ERP, and procurement systems to allow collection of hardware and software inventory, user, purchase order, contract, organizational, and other data.
App Portal Integration
Flexera Software App Portal is an enterprise app store that allows end users to perform self-service requests for products in an approved software catalog and then manages the approval and software deployment process. The App Portal can make requests to FlexNet Manager Platform to check on license availability and reserve licenses for the requested products. This ensures that a license is available before the software is deployed to the user’s device.
The integration of FlexNet Manager Platform and App Portal allows organizations to offer a self-service app store, proactively maintain license compliance and avoid overspending on software. The combined solution ensures that existing licenses are fully utilized before purchasing additional licenses by offering an automated license reharvesting process for unused or under-used applications.
Hardware Asset Management
Each hardware asset can have an extensive set of properties that are tracked in the FlexNet Manager Platform repository including: identification, purchasing, user allocation, financial, technical, and contractual information. Individual hardware assets (cell phones, printers, routers, etc.) are tracked differently from computers. An unlimited number of hardware assets can be managed in FlexNet Manager Platform, which is licensed based on the number of ‘active’ computers.
For example, FlexNet Manager Platform allows (but is not limited to):
- Hardware Asset Inventory Management:
- Identification: serial number, asset tag, part number, manufacturer, model, parent/child relationship with other assets
- Purchasing data: purchase order number, purchase order date, price, vendor, acquisition mode (purchased, leased, loaned, rented, etc.), delivery date
- Financial Data: warranty, depreciation (current/residual values, depreciation method), chargeback (monthly charge)
- User/group allocation: location, cost center, business unit, user assigned to the asset
- Technical: any relevant technical details to the asset
- Contractual: relationship with contracts, vendors and payment schedules
- Asset status: Assets can be purchased, installed, in stock, disposed, retired
- Other: documents, inventory (electronic, physical), comments, retirement data: date, resale price, reason (donated, lost, disposed), recipient, written off value
- Baseline tracking of assets: identify changes for each asset over time; computers missing or changed are flagged. (IMAC—Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes)
- Easy integration with service desk and other tools through web services. This is particularly important to keep the repository up to date during IMAC processes
- Financial Management: reconcile with fixed assets, invoice reconciliation, asset allocation and chargeback
Software Asset Management
Similar to hardware assets, each software license record in the asset management repository can store a wealth of information which can be used for identification, reconciliation between purchase orders (license entitlements) and installations, storing financial information, allocating to specific users and groups, managing contracts, and much more. FlexNet Manager Platform enables organizations to reconcile software purchases with installations to understand their license position and help maintain continuous license compliance. This reduces the cost and risk associated with software audits.
Key Software Asset Management Libraries
The FlexNet Manager Platform contains key Flexera Software content libraries that streamline the software asset management process:
- Application Recognition Library (ARL) – For a software license to be consumed, an installation of an application must be found (via the discovery and inventory process for on-premises software), that can be associated with the license. (This is not the case for the Software as a Service delivery model, but is typically true for on-premises software). The Application Recognition Library is used to scrub raw inventory data and provide a normalized list of installed software per device (desktop, laptop, server, hard partition or virtual machine). It contains recognition rules to identify software— including publisher, title, version, and edition—for more than 223,476 software titles from 16,000 publishers across multiple platforms including Microsoft Windows, Linux, UNIX, and MAC OS. The ARL supports the use of ISO 19770-2 tags to identify installed software, when such tags are available.
- SKU Library – The Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) library contains more than 1,366,800 software product SKUs and is used to match inventory and usage data with software purchase orders and contracts. It helps automate the creation of license records in the asset management repository that contain software license entitlements from purchase orders. Otherwise, this is a manual, error prone process that may lack sufficient information to be done accurately.
Purchase Order Processing
Purchase order data can be automatically imported into FlexNet Manager Platform from the procurement or ERP system. This data provides license entitlement information used to determine a license compliance position. Purchase orders (‘POs’) can be used to generate new license records or update existing licenses in the Platform asset management database.
FlexNet Manger Platform uses the concept of a ‘transaction’ when associating a purchase order to a software license. The transaction history constitutes the entitlement audit trail for licenses. It enables customers to demonstrate how the current entitlement was obtained from previous software acquisitions, which saves a lot of time and effort during a software audit.
Microsoft License Statement Import
FlexNet Manager Platform allows you to import Microsoft License Statements (MLS) to help quickly establish a Microsoft license position. This is a faster alternative to processing purchase order data and can be used to establish an entitlement baseline that is sufficient for many organizations. Also, processing of purchase orders can coexist with MLS data. Newer MLS statements can be imported to stay current with the latest license entitlements.
Software License Optimization for Desktop Applications
FlexNet Manager Platform enables automated desktop license optimization for software from top vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec. The Platform not only manages all types of desktop applications and license models, but also reconciles the software license entitlements you have purchased with actual application installation and usage data allowing organizations to save on desktop license purchases, audits, renewals, and annual true-ups.
Organizations can implement multiple desktop license and contract optimization strategies including: application of product use rights to minimize license consumption, smart allocation of licenses to devices and users, reharvesting of under-used licenses, maintenance cost reductions based on application usage, and consolidation of vendors and applications.
Key Software License Optimization Library
The FlexNet Manager Platform contains a Product Use Rights library for desktop applications that streamlines the software license optimization process:
- Product Use Rights Library –contains the license entitlements provided by software purchase agreements such as Enterprise Agreements (EA), MPSA Agreements, Software Assurance (SA) and Adobe Cumulative License Program (CLP). These rights include: upgrade, downgrade, right of second use, and multiple versions use rights. For example, the “right of second use” allows the application to be installed and used on both a desktop and a laptop, with the same primary user, under a single license. Adobe has a “multiple installations” use right that allows multiple versions of the same application to be installed on a device and consume one license.
Use rights can dramatically affect the number of licenses consumed by an organization, and therefore must be taken into account to minimize costs. License optimization can reduce an organization’s software audit true-up costs too.
Software Bundle Support
The management of bundled software, groups of individually licensable software products sold together under a single license, is now a standard feature of the product. The main challenges with bundles are to understand the exact list of software products and associated product use rights included in each bundle, and to distinguish standalone software installations from those that are part of a bundle. If not handled properly, software bundles may contribute to over or under licensed situations.
FlexNet Manager Platform now has the ability to automatically detect software bundles and determine an accurate software license position when bundles have been purchased. A software bundle library defining the bundle content and their associated product use rights is delivered for desktop software (MSDN licenses are a common example) as part of FlexNet Manager Platform. Other server software license optimization products, such as FlexNet Manager for IBM, provide a bundle library for server software.
Enhanced System Monitoring
FlexNet Manager Platform provides enhanced system monitoring capabilities that allow operators to see all the details of background processes for the purpose of data traceability. Tasks that can be monitored include discovery and inventory, inventory data import, and license reconciliation. This capability helps ensure that data is imported into the system correctly and that the organization maintains an accurate license position.
Visibility and Control with FlexNet Manager Platform’s Management Dashboard
FlexNet Manager Platform’s Management Dashboard provides at-a-glance visibility into the overall IT estate. It shows publishers in breach, indicating a license compliance issue that should be resolved. The dashboard also shows areas of potential cost savings—“Licenses under-consumed” so that organizations can reduce ongoing software costs. See alerts for contract expirations and renewals to proactively manage contracts. And keep track of hardware assets throughout the enterprise. Users can drill down into the dashboard to look at lower levels of detail as necessary.
Desktop License Change Review
The License Change Review feature in the FlexNet Manger Platform enables the system to alert organizations when changes in the content libraries (e.g. the Product Use Rights Library) may impact their existing licenses. This can occur when desktop software vendors make changes to their product use rights or when Flexera Software makes improvements to the content libraries (Application Recognition Library, SKU Library and Product User Rights Library). License Change Review ensures that an organization’s license compliance position is always accurate and optimized.
FlexNet Manager Platform includes a comprehensive contract management solution. Any contract can be managed, including software and hardware as well as general contracts. The contract management capabilities of the Platform include:
- Business reporting dashboard with key alerts such as upcoming contract renewals, expired contracts, upcoming payments, and much more
- Associate contracts with purchase orders, hardware assets, software licenses and more
- Schedule payments, including actual and estimated
- Attach documents or store links to documents
- Search through contents of attached documents
- Management of projects and tasks, and relationship to contracts
- Define custom terms and conditions specific to your contracts; for software contracts, define custom product use rights that can automatically be inherited by all licenses under the contract
- Per-contract security for precise control of access and modifications to sensitive contract data
Subscription and Maintenance Contracts
A single software product may have many subscription licenses and/or maintenance contracts associated with it. Individually managing all these subscriptions and maintenance contracts is complex and time consuming. Subscription licenses are becoming much more prevalent, due to the ongoing trend toward cloud / SaaS delivery models, making it imperative to have an efficient way to manage them.
FlexNet Manager Platform consolidates all associated maintenance contracts and subscriptions into a single license record which makes them much easier to manage. Alerts can be set up to notify license administrators and procurement managers when renewal and expiration dates are pending. FlexNet Manager Platform makes it easy to renew only a portion of the software maintenance and keeps track of changes to the software product use rights that may occur as a result. (For example, the upgrade right typically disappears when maintenance ends). This gives license managers the ability to more easily discontinue unneeded maintenance coverage and reduce maintenance costs.
Business Intelligence for Software Asset Management and License Optimization
The Platform incorporates IBM® Cognos® technology to provide new business intelligence and reporting capabilities, including multidimensional analysis, making it easy to ‘slice and dice’ complex data, track key indicators over time for trend analysis, and create custom reports. These capabilities are available via the Business Reporting Dashboard giving enterprises a centralized view to report on and analyze software license optimization data and better forecast future software needs. FlexNet Manger Platform provides extensive reporting capabilities via an executive dashboard that allows users to identify and evaluate areas of compliance concern and make informed decisions that reduce license and maintenance costs for software from thousands of publishers.
Comprehensive Desktop-to-Datacenter Hardware and Software Asset Management and Desktop License Optimization Solution
FlexNet Manager Platform provides extensive hardware and software asset management (HAM and SAM) capabilities for managing desktop, laptop and server hardware, and software from more than 16,000 vendors. FlexNet Manager Platform also provides automated, entitlement based Software License Optimization for desktop software and serves as the foundation for integrated, add-on server license optimization products included in the FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises.
FlexNet Manager Platform Benefits:
- Visibility and control of the IT estate, including both hardware and software assets
- Reduced IT and Procurement staff time and effort to understand the organization’s license position, maintain compliance, prepare for software audits, true-ups and contract renewals
- Provides data and insights that empower contract negotiations to “only buy what you need”
- Reduces ongoing costs for software through entitlement and usage based license optimizations
FlexNet Manager Suite Delivery Models
FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises is available through three delivery models:
- On-Premises—the software is controlled and managed by an organization’s IT department within their own datacenter. A perpetual license purchase of the onpremises software is usually considered a capital expense that can provide a better return on investment over time. (Subscription licenses are also available for the onpremises delivery model).
- Cloud—the product is installed in the Flexera Software datacenter and is delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. The associated subscription licensing model is typically considered an operating expense. With lower upfront costs and accelerated deployment of the application, the SaaS model offers a shorter time to value. Additionally, there are no scalability or architectural issues for you to consider. (Note: all products in the Suite are available via Cloud delivery except for FlexNet Manager for Cloud Infrastructure and FlexNet Manager for Engineering Applications).
- Managed Service—outsource software asset management and license optimization to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) via a hosted model (where the software is installed in the partner’s datacenter) or accessed via the Cloud model. This can be a good option if an organization is resource constrained, as they can leverage the license management staff and expertise of the MSP.