Leading IT research firm, Gartner, has released figures showing a continued increase in the number of end user license audits conducted by leading software vendors, up from 61 percent a year ago to 65 percent today. Put another way, this suggests you only have a 35 percent chance of going a whole 12 months without receiving at least one audit request from a software vendor. Hardly good odds!
According to attendees at recent Gartner events on IT Asset Management, Big Blue was the most prolific auditor, followed by Adobe, Microsoft and Oracle. The usual suspects in some ways, but Gartner says there can be a wide variation in the 'smoothness' of the audit process from one vendor to another. Increasingly complex usage metrics and some licensing models are cited as a cause for some extended disputes between vendors and customers.
One of the main causes for the increase in audits cited by the Gartner paper (available to purchase here) is a failure in organizations to enable effective communications between the procurement, SAM and IT operations stakeholders who all have a part to play in the deployment and management of software across the network. This isn't a new issue.
Early in 2011, License Dashboard launched its SAM Portal solution, designed to remedy this fragmentation of visibility and responsibility over the software on the network by giving all stakeholders a common platform to work from. In essence, SAM Portal is a completely software lifecycle management solution that connects everyone who uses, approves, procures, licenses and deploys software - from the end user requesting an application, to their line manager, to the SAM team and so on. SAM Portal automatically integrates with License Dashboard License Manager to provide visibility to SAM teams of license availability. Where licenses might not be available within the target Business Unit, SAM Portal can then affect a license transfer request from other divisions or locations.
With the combination of the License Manager and SAM Portal technologies, License Dashboard gives organizations the solutions they need to take those initial steps to performing a baseline and achieving their first Effective Licensing Position (ELP) and then as the organization matures in its approach to SAM (Gartner advises organizations invest in ongoing SAM programs, not just point-in-time snapshots), SAM Portal can help both unlock further cost savings and adhere to new Governance initiatives.
One thing is for sure, the upward trend of increasing software audits is continuing and is unlikely to reverse any time soon. Those organizations that prefer to ignore the issue of software licensing are not only missing out on potential cost savings now, they are more likely to get stung when that audit demand does arrive. And based on the new figures, if you haven't already had that request, it can't be far away!