Continuous Software Compliance

Understand Your Software License Position to Reduce Risk

Government Agencies Can Reduce Audit Risk While Controlling Costs

Managing high-value software assets can be difficult for two primary reasons — the increasing complexity of software licensing agreements and the lack of software license management best practices. Experts tell us that medium and large government agencies manage upwards of 70 software licensing contracts, which require renegotiation and renewal at various times throughout a year. When software licensing involves multi-user software with enterprise, transaction, processor, concurrent user or named user constraints, the management headaches mount.

What is software licensing compliance and what does it mean to be compliant? Is it:

  1. Knowing what software you have installed?
  2. Knowing what software licenses you've purchased?
  3. Knowing that your installations don't exceed your license purchases?
  4. Knowing what software is being used?
  5. Knowing the details of your software license usage rights & restrictions?
  6. Maintaining compliance while significantly reducing overall software costs?
  7. All of the above?

The answer, of course, is 'g' all of the above, and more. Many organizations may think they are compliant but really don't know until a software vendor performs a software audit. With the potential penalties, unbudgeted license "true-up" expense, and government agency embarrassment resulting from a failed audit, that's the worst time to find out. Because IT managers lack visibility into actual software usage, they frequently overestimate or underestimate their software needs in their efforts to balance cost control and end user productivity. These mistakes can significantly impact budgets and consume funds that could instead be used to modernize the department or agency, increase cross agency collaboration and transparency or a host of other essential government priorities.

Identifying the right software licensing compliance solution

If you're like many government IT managers, you may make software purchase and renewal decisions by relying on whatever local usage information you have available. You may manually allocate software licenses and project a "guesstimate" for future needs. While this approach has served a purpose, in real-world terms it falls short of what today's cost-conscious government agencies should be doing. Without a global view of your software licensing operations and actual usage data, you may frequently miscalculate your software licensing needs and/or risk being out of compliance.

You may turn to software asset management systems for answers. Unfortunately, typical software asset management systems are not built to handle the software licensing management complexities of desktop applications from MicrosoftAdobe and Symantec and others and high-value enterprise applications like Oracle, SAP, and engineering applications. An ideal solution enables you to maintain continuous software licensing compliance and always be prepared for any vendor software audit. It should be able to help with software asset identification, help you understand what has been purchased versus installed, provide you with vendor software license position certainty and reconcile usage and software license entitlement data.

Best practices for software licensing management include five basic steps

  1. Centralize all licensing operations
    By centralizing your licensing operations, IT managers and administrators gain a single console view that allows them to manage and maintain licenses and servers across the global department or agency
  2. Leverage accurate usage statistics
    You will want to have usage data as accurate as possible. Managers should therefore avoid using rudimentary approaches to software licensing management. Few people will debate the accuracy and completeness of data when it matches the software vendor's license management results
  3. Analyze usage reports
    By segmenting and analyzing usage data by project or user group, managers can gain granular insight into their organizations' actual software usage
  4. Automate licensing operations
    Automated bill-backs, for example, can enable IT departments to establish shared license pools with prioritized resource allocation so users with high-priority needs can "reserve" a fixed number of shared licenses, ensuring software availability
  5. Select the right software license management tools
    Managing software assets without effective tools is nearly impossible. Using the right tools not only makes managing software easier, it also reduces the burden on administrators and increases end-user satisfaction

The challenges of software licensing compliance and software licensing management are many, but the rewards can far outweigh the costs of tackling the problem proactively with a comprehensive Software License Optimization solution that delivers next generation software asset management capabilities. Only Flexera Software delivers such a solution that provides what you need to be fully prepared for a vendor software audit while significantly reducing your software and asset management costs.

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