Novadigm, Softricity tout software license inventory products

In an attempt to help companies reduce overspending on licensing costs, two software vendors separately announced products last week that track software license compliance.

Novadigm Inc. in Mahwah, N.J., announced Radia Usage Manager, and Softricity Inc. in Boston unveiled SoftGrid Dual-Mode. Both products are shipping.

Radia Usage Manager tracks software use on all managed devices, including servers, desktops and laptops, and works with other Radia Management software designed to migrate new applications to desktops and servers, said George Kellar, vice-president of Novadigm marketing.

Softricity’s product is principally designed to manage and deploy applications for the Windows desktop and Citrix MetaFrame/Terminal Services applications, but license compliance is “icing on the cake,” said Softricity spokesperson Janice Bedsole.

Royal and SunAlliance USA in Raleigh, N.C., plans to install Radia Usage Manager next year and predicts that it can save millions of dollars by eliminating unused software licenses, said Roger Thibodeau, IT executive for the property and casualty insurer. He based that estimate on a laborious manual survey of license usage across 7,000 users in January and February, when the insurer discovered that it could save US$500,000 by not upgrading unneeded licenses for 12 of 131 commercially licensed applications.

Many users had simply installed an application and never used it or didn’t need the version they had, Thibodeau said. Radia Usage Manager will be used to examine the remaining 119 licensed applications, counting who uses which application in perhaps a day of computations. The manual effort for the 12 applications took two workers two months to complete, Thibodeau said.

“We’ve done this to make sure we had adequate licensing, and we didn’t want to get sued,” he said, explaining why the company undertook the license survey in the first place.

In Chicago, the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation (NMFF) will begin rolling out SoftGrid Dual-Mode next week for 1,500 doctors and other users, including 120 in a new Robert H. Luri Cancer Center, said Julie Otten, director of IS at NMFF. The product streams applications to users from a server, rather than installing the application on a desktop, allowing an IT manager to count usage of applications and avoid overpurchasing licenses, she said.

“In the past, we’d buy 100 more licenses when we ran against the limit, but this way we can fine-tune what we need to buy,” she said.

Less attention has been paid to proper software licensing this year than last, said Fred Broussard, an analyst at IDC. Quite often, companies that do an inventory can find savings, he said.

There are many companies that enable licensing inventory, but Novadigm’s approach appears to be the most comprehensive, according to Ronni Colville, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Broussard said similar capabilities are offered by Microsoft Corp., Computer Associates International Inc., IBM Tivoli and Altiris Inc. in Lindon, Utah.