With the rise of public and private cloud environments, companies are moving away from hardware-based assets and embracing software-based infrastructure. According to Gartner, the infrastructure software market is projected to exceed $500 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 11.5%—faster than any other IT spend category, including services. The ability to optimize software licensing across the infrastructure has never been more critical.
But many companies struggle to manage and tap the full value of their assets, unable to control spending, right-size usage, and track renewals and expirations. They lack unified insights and a comprehensive lifecycle-management strategy, leading to outdated information, compliance risks, higher costs, and software over- and under-consumption.
In this article, I’ll explore the leading causes of software licensing management issues and provide three proven IT asset management strategies to optimize software licensing across your infrastructure.
1. Designate the Right Resources
Understanding the Challenges
Organizations often overlook the need to designate staff responsible for managing software consumption, deployment, and usage. This disconnect between procurement and IT departments can yield several adverse impacts. Common issues include: incorrect licensing sources and usage, missed opportunities to utilize available licenses, unauthorized subscription downloads, and inefficient use of enterprise agreements.
The absence of a designated software asset manager also results in a lack of unified insights and a comprehensive lifecycle-management strategy. Consequently, outdated information, compliance risks, higher costs, and software over- and under-consumption become prevalent.
Designating the right personnel is critical to managing software assets, ensuring effective communication between departments, and implementing proactive strategies for optimization and compliance. A software asset manager oversees software licensing compliance and optimization. They’re your go-to person for all things related to software assets, from purchasing to contract management to inventory to compliance to reporting. Their role may be part of the IT department or a separate asset management team, or it can be performed by your trusted systems integrator.
2. Establish Repeatable Processes
Understanding the Challenges
Neglecting to establish effective processes for managing software consumption across departments, staff, and third-party vendors can lead to inefficiencies and misalignment with business objectives. Additionally, the lack of governance over software assets and compliance may pose legal and financial risks.
To overcome these challenges, establish a set of repeatable processes covering the following areas:
- Inventory and audit: Know what you have. Build a comprehensive inventory of all software assets in your organization. This inventory serves as your single source of truth and should be audited regularly to identify discrepancies.
- License compliance reviews: To avoid audits, hefty fines, and even legal action, review software usage regularly to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions outlined in license agreements and mitigate instances of overuse. Such reviews can also help you save money in cases where licenses have gone unused or opportunities to negotiate discounts.
- Procurement process: Be sure to integrate licensing considerations into your procurement process. This helps ensure software purchases align with your organization’s needs and comply with existing licenses. It can also help you save money in the long run.
- Proactive renewal and contract management: Stay on top of contracts and license renewals to avoid costly penalties and coverage lapses and ensure you derive maximum value. Review contracts and agreements in advance of deadlines to ensure the terms meet your current and future needs and to identify potential gaps and negotiation points.
- Software retirement: All too often, organizations find that they’re paying for software they aren’t even using. Be sure you set up processes to identify and retire software you no longer need.
3. Leverage the Right Tools
Understanding the Challenges
Many organizations rely on inadequate tools for tracking usage and compliance. Relying on manual methods like spreadsheets leads to inefficiencies, wasted time, and resource drain. Human errors in tracking and data entry increase compliance risk and can result in expensive penalties when software vendor audits occur. Additionally, the absence of specialized software management tools deprives organizations of critical visibility and insights for informed decision-making.
The right tool makes all the difference in helping you manage and optimize software licensing. It can even automate many of the processes listed above. Below are some considerations for choosing a tool.
- Centralized platform: A centralized platform for tracking and managing software assets, licenses, contracts, and compliance data can save you time and frustration.
- License optimization features: Look for a tool that can also track and analyze software usage data and surface optimization strategies to minimize costs.
- Compliance monitoring: Ensure the tool can perform software usage monitoring and reporting to help you ensure compliance with license agreements.
- Integration capabilities: You’ll also want to look for a tool that integrates with your other IT management and procurement systems. This capability can help streamline processes and drive efficiency.
- Easy-to-use interface: Make sure the tool is easy to use, with an intuitive interface to facilitate easy adoption and usage.
- License agreement repository: Finally, ensure the tool can store and manage software license agreements for easy reference and review.
Optimize Software Licensing with Help from GDT
By combining the right people, processes, and tools, your organization can ensure compliance, optimize software licensing costs, and mitigate potential risks. This is an area where GDT can help.
GDT has the people, tools, processes, and relationships to help you optimize software licensing as well as your OEM subscriptions across your multi-vendor technology landscape—all under one global support contract. GDT takes a comprehensive approach to buying and managing new and existing software and other IT assets, providing a predictable, cost-effective buying and support model, dedicated resources, and proven processes and platform.
In fact, GDT Software and Maintenance Subscription customers enjoy comprehensive IT Asset Lifecycle Management services as a value-add. Your designated customer success manager handles all your software and maintenance needs. Your customer success manager will help you drive technology adoption and manage contracts and renewals. GDT will also help you stay on top of IT assets through comprehensive hardware and software asset management using the GDT Asset Management Platform (GDTamp).
Contact us to learn more about how GDT can help you optimize software licensing. To learn more about the virtues of IT asset management, read 4 Very Important Reasons You Need an Effective IT Asset Management Solution.