Product Use Rights Can Reduce License Consumption
As computer use became mainstream throughout the enterprise, IT departments were increasingly challenged with how to properly manage these increasingly strategic and significant financial corporate assets. This led to the emergence of IT asset management, a fundamental discipline that enables improved cost control and truer understanding of IT's business value. Many companies made investments in leading IT asset management platforms from IBM/Tivoli, CA, HP and others to enable IT staff to better inventory and manage IT physical resources.
Today, applications have become strategic – they no longer just aid the business, they run the business. And, the investments being made in applications have also increased. Many companies find that while applications have become strategic, they lack a strategic solution to manage application usage, leading to the risk of being out of compliance and software spend that is not optimized.
Software asset management becomes strategic
While IT asset management is critical, it focuses on the hardware side of the business, and software applications are only a secondary consideration. As a result, IT asset management systems fall well short in reporting and managing all the items needed to manage software applications.
There are growing needs to integrate traditional IT asset management capabilities with software asset management and to go beyond traditional software asset management capabilities that emphasized counting what you have to understanding what is being used and optimizing software spend.
Increasingly, software license requirements are dependent on assets measured and managed by an IT asset management system or enterprise-level configuration management database. However, understanding which user is associated with a system, how many processors or RAM is on a machine, if the machine is a physical machine or a virtual image running on another physical machine need to be tracked for software license compliance as well as IT asset management. Similarly, tracking which machines are still in use is usually done by an IT asset management system. As IT managers retire machines that are no longer being used, become broken or are replaced, this information is often overlooked when conducting license compliance reconciliation.
Integrate software and IT asset management to achieve software license optimization
Rather than trying to recapture the data through a separate integration, it's always best to integrate your software asset management business processes with existing processes and systems in an automated fashion to ensure the integrity of the data across systems and to ensure you don't double count any item. For example, if your procurement system has a process already in place to acquire new hardware and software for new employees, or the help desk already manages the users assigned to systems when systems come in for repair, replacement or deployment, this configuration data is already being captured somewhere in your environment and should be imported into your software asset management processes and system. This way, you can reconcile your current software license position utilizing the latest hardware configuration details available providing a more automated license optimization.
Smaller companies may be best to use a next generation software asset management solution that includes IT asset management capabilities to discover and inventory hardware assets as well as functionality to manage the: asset status, asset ownership and assignment to users, purchases of assets, hardware contracts (e.g., hardware leases and maintenance contracts) and identify the organizational locations of the hardware.
For larger companies, who may already have an investment in a high-end IT asset management solution, integration with a next generation software asset management solution should be the priority. The right next generation software asset management solution will add Software License Optimization capabilities to the portfolio without drastic changes to existing processes, procedures or tools while allowing for complete data integration and reconciliation across all systems to provide the most accurate software license position and license optimization recommendations possible. Only an Software License Optimization solution can move beyond counting what you have to deliver continuous software license compliance and minimize license consumption and software spend.