The new CEO was reviewing his company’s software license agreements and comparing them to installed software reports. He discovered that the company was unknowingly running unlicensed copies – software that had been licensed to ten users had been copied and installed hundreds of times over. Worse, this had been going on for several years.
Software, an intangible corporate asset, is also a major source of business value. Organizations are beginning to understand this value, and those that identify how software impacts their performance can gain a competitive advantage over those that do not.
There are many benefits for an organization that adopts a software asset management (SAM) program. SAM helps organizations:
• Manage technological change – identify software needs
• Work more efficiently – eliminate duplicate and older versions that may lead to communication problems
• Justify investments – track and identify the value of software to a company
• Limit risk – help reduce risks as a result of security breaches and inability to download the latest security patches
• Save money – determine what software a company needs, and doesn’t need
Implementing a SAM program does not have to be a daunting task for the CIO or the IT department. At Microsoft Canada Co. we’re committed to helping our customers manage their software assets; we’ve assisted thousands of Canadian corporations. We work directly with our customers and in co-operation with the Microsoft Certified Partner channel to help companies resolve their licensing problems and manage their current and future software assets. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
• Start at the top – get commitment from senior management; develop and communicate clear internal policies
• Budget and forecast – properly assess your organization’s software requirements at the start of each budgeting cycle; develop a forecast to determine your future software needs
• Implement strong acquisition controls – centralize software procurement and limit the number of authorized personnel; establish a list of acquiring procedures and approved software
• Implement strong deployment controls – centralize software deployment and establish clear deployment procedures for IT staff; create a software register and record installations
• Implement software monitoring controls – maintain a current inventory and proof of license; deal with discrepancies in a timely manner
How can you better protect your organization or company? In addition to SAM, make sure you acquire genuine Microsoft software! Be on the lookout for:
• Prices that are too good to be true
• Suspicious methods of delivery and payment
• Retail software distributed in jewel cases only, rather than full-colour retail boxes
• CD-ROMs that have handwritten labels or appear inferior
Call us or your Microsoft Certified Partner – we’re here to help. For more information call 1.877.568.2495 or visit us at http://www.microsoft.ca/sam to learn more about SAM and to obtain Microsoft’s SAM guide.