Put an end to software sprawl

Many organizations are still using tedious manual processes to keep track of their software inventories, and it’s costing them time and money.

“It’s important to get your house in order,” Eric Moll, director of digital transformation at COMPAREX Canada told participants at a recent IT World Canada webinar. “Organizations are turning into software companies and they need to be able to manage their software assets as strategically as their people and products.”

A good software management system (SAM) can relieve the pain of licensing audits, said Moll. But it can also free up resources which can be used for other priorities, like business innovation, he added.

Reducing the impact of audits

“It’s not a question of whether you will be audited, but when,” said Rik Schaap, SAM consultant with COMPAREX Canada. Vendors are actively pursuing compliance reviews in today’s marketplace.

However, companies are typically in reactive mode when it comes to dealing with audits. “Audits are very time-consuming, very expensive and very disruptive to the business,” said Moll.

In fact, the outcome for nine out of 10 audits is “pretty negative,” said Schaap. If a company doesn’t report correctly, it could have an unexpected impact on its budget as a result of fines for using unlicensed software. CIOs are usually held responsible for this if they are not managing the assets properly, said Moll.

Companies need to implement a process to ensure they’re not caught off guard on an audit. The advantage of software asset management, which can be provided as a service, is that it keeps a database of all contractual licensing obligations and tracks the deployment and usage of all hardware and software assets. By comparing these two inventories, it provides reports on the level of compliance.

Adding value

The use of software asset management as a service pays big dividends, said Jim Love, ITWC CIO. “It’s easy to get software sprawl.” Love noted a recent Gartner report which found that “businesses that mature their SAM processes to focus on license optimization typically report up to 30 per cent spending reduction in one year.”

SAM management reports help companies make more efficient use of software.  A company can easily see cases of redundant or unused software and obtain immediate cost savings. As well, it can better deal with the increasing problem of shadow IT, where the lines of business, and not the IT Department, are investing in software. “Software asset management ensures you have a proper handle on where those investments are so that you can ensure a return on value,” said Moll.

The information on a company’s actual business usage improves its ability to forecast its IT spend, he added. “Implementing SAM is an ‘absolute must’ if you’re going to reconcile what you have and where you’re going for budgeting purposes. It shortens the planning cycle and lets you focus strategically on the future,” said Moll. “At the end of the day, the strategic goal is to add value back into the business.”

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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