Managing your multi-vendor software environment can prove to be a complex and daunting exercise. If not done correctly, you could end up spending too much on software licenses that you don’t need and not spend enough on the licenses that you do need? Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar issue facing most organisations who do not have a robust software asset management discipline.
Software Asset Management (SAM)
Software Asset Management is far more than just knowing how many software licenses you have and whether you are compliant or not. It is a philosophy or more to the point, a framework that encompasses, people, processes, systems and tools that are involved in the procurement, and maintenance of software licenses.
Like any proper framework, it needs to be fed with information and constantly updated to reflect changing vendor landscapes and to stay relevant.
What is SAM?
- SAM is figuring out whether you are over-licensed across certain vendors and product groups
- SAM is knowing if you are under licensed and if so by how many
- SAM is negotiating contracts with software vendors and software resellers to get the most favourable terms to suit your business
- SAM is having the right technology tools to proactively manage the distribution of software licenses
- SAM is getting the procurement team and IT together on the same page
- SAM is having company-wide policies in place that stop non-compliance
- SAM is automating processes to do with requesting software and retiring old versions to minimize errors
- SAM is all of this and much, much more……
Why SAM and Why Now?
SAM is now more relevant than ever before because of how we now consume technology. To illustrate with an example, the advent of server virtualization helped consolidate the infrastructure layer and made ‘the Cloud’ possible but conversely, made licensing more complicated. The start of the Cloud era enabled technology vendors to supply applications on demand (Software as a service) and the proliferation of mobile devices meant that there was a spike in the number of applications and amount of data with no real control over who was using what and for how long. All of this has huge licensing and compliance risk for organisations that can spiral out of control if a robust SAM programme is not implemented.
A mature SAM strategy can help organisations get better benefits from their software license agreements, which are now taking a bigger share of the IT budget.
Licensing Reconciliation Service (LRS)
A thorough and accurate understanding of their entitlements and software deployments will help organisations negotiate with software publishers and re-sellers from a position of knowledge. They can avoid paying huge fees for unused software licenses or continuing to pay maintenance on software that is not in use.
This is a service we provide to help organisations establish a baseline registry of their software assets. LRS determines the gap between deployed software assets and entitlements. Our team of SAM experts use proprietary tools and software to inventory all IP-addressable workstations and devices. This data is then compared to the organisations software purchase history records to arrive at a True License Position (TLP). The LRS service is of great benefit to organisations that do not have a SAM practice and helps establish a solid foundation to build on.
AUP IT are specialists in software inventory and license compliance analysis and reporting for Mainframe, Midrange, PC and Devices, utilizing a variety of software and hardware discovery scanning scripts, and tools/systems available on the market, and such tools/systems that may exist in the Customer’s environment. Provision of analyst-based consultation to an organisation’s existing staff in the area of applied Software Asset Management practices. Provision of trusted software and hardware baseline inventory data to Audit firms during internal and external audits. Conduct software license reconciliation projects.
AUP IT currently provides a complete and accurate Software Inventory Analysis for the following Microsoft platforms;
- Microsoft Windows® Workstation fleets (ranging from 1 user to 35k+ users)
- Microsoft Windows® Mid-Range Server farms
- Using tools such as;
- Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager® (SCCM)
- Microsoft Systems Management Server® (SMS)
- IBM Tivoli EndPoint Manager® (TEM) – ex-BigFix
- IBM Tivoli Asset Discovery for Distributed® (TAD4d)
- IBM Tivoli Asset Discovery for z-series Mainframe® (TAD4z) and;
- Various other infrastructural tools such as Dell KACE®, LANDesk, Flexera and MAP
We also provide Software Inventory Analysis across all major Software OEM’s such as Symantec, Oracle, Citrix, Adobe…
The Software Inventory includes;
- Pan-Vendor Listing – ALL Products from ALL Vendors – Licensable and Un-licensable Products separated
- Vendor-Specific Filter – ALL Products from SELECTED Vendor – Licensable and Un-licensable Products separated
- Product deployment – Each Product lists, and tallies, ALL host-workstations with the discovered Product
- User-Specific Filter – ALL Products being run by a SELECTED workstation/User(s)
- In-house Applications – (i.e. internal Customer-authored software products) and;
How can we help?
The team at AUP IT specialises in Software Asset Management and Licensing Advisory Services. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner in Software Asset Management, have the ability to provide SAM and Licensing advisory services across most platforms and we are proud to have one of only two ISO/IEC 19770-1 certified software consultants in Australia. When you engage with AUP IT you get a company with the skills and expertise to help you optimise your spend on software licenses.
ISO/IEC 19770-1 is the comprehensive international standard for Software Asset Management. This standard can potentially benefit your organisation by:
- Providing the ability to easily establish a gap analysis between current practices and baseline best practices thus enabling organisations to identify opportunities for quick wins and longer-term improvements.
- Presenting an independent and comprehensive framework that once in place, organisations can be confident that work done will align to corporate governance and industry best-practice developments.
- Making available new tools and methodologies that will be developed by the IT industry based on ISO/IEC 19770-1, such as risk assessments and implementation methodologies and;
- Providing the ability to demonstrate good corporate governance in a highly complex area of IT.
- Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Software
- Software Asset Inventory Control (Optimise and Organise)
- Increased Employee Productivity
- Building of Knowledge Bases and Best Practices
There are a number of Licensing Solution Partners (LSPs) in Australia that profess to have a SAM practice and whilst they do have SAM consultants, the main driver for them is to sell more licenses. AUP IT‘s main differentiator is that we don’t sell licenses and therefore, we can provide an unbiased approach to Software Asset Management which has the clients’ best interests at heart. Our ISO/IEC certification means that the service we provide and the processes we implement are guided by global best practices.
AUP IT’s SAM Competencies at a Glance
- Software Discovery data cross-referred to Hardware Baseline repositories
- Data manipulation and cleansing using various database systems and tools
- Collection and Validation of Software Licenses from all Lines Of Acquisition across an enterprise
- Creation of a Centralised SW Licence bank, with establishment of appropriate ongoing maintenance processes for Upgrades and Renewals
- Audit and identification of Proof of Entitlement for all Software
- Consult to internal and external (client) Procurement Teams, Delivery Project Executives, and Service Delivery Management, for the reconciliation of Software Licenses with Installed Software Products using applicable hardware capacity units and prevailing operational constraints
- End-to-End Software Installation and Usage Audits for major Software Developers such as Oracle, Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, Citrix…
Benefits of SAM
- Limit your exposure to unexpected costs as a result of vendor-driven audit
- Better control against fraud
- Limit legal risk from software under-deployment
- Limit financial risk from software over-deployment
- Negotiate from a position of knowledge
- Avoid costs through controlled purchases
- Lower support costs
- Save money through standardization of images
- Better cost tracking to enable charge-backs
- Retire and redeploy assets
- Better alignment of business and IT: to enhance productivity and save costs
- Higher level of IT optimization
- Save costs by standardizing and automating processes