Software Asset Management in education
Software licensing in education is usually cheaper when compared to business corporations. Site-based licensing allows for software to be deployed through a college or university’s entire campus, or even across multiple campuses, covering each machine, and therefore each user. Academic licenses may also be user-, device-, subscription- or datacentre-based, but again, will likely be heavily discounted.
Software license audits in education institutions
Although software vendors make allowances for educational use by offering these discounts; user agreements, contracts, and rules for compliance still exist and must be adhered to. This means there is still a need to manage software licenses effectively and accurately – when a software vendor gives notice of an audit, if the FE/HE institution is found to in breach of their user agreement, they are subject to fines.
Again, the fact that software vendors charge less in education will mean that should an FE/HE institution be under-licensed, their fines will be lower than those handed to a business in the same situation… but as their IT budgets tend to be lower too, the impact on their finances could be just as brutal. On top of that, a university found to be mis-managing the software licenses drastically would likely be seen as a less desirable option by prospective students and staff, having a negative impact on the recruitment of both.
Measuring IT usage in education
In a study conducted by Eduserv and commissioned by License Dashboard, we asked 50 IT decision makers at FE and HE institutions how they manage their IT usage. 66% stated that software asset management helps them re-assign software licenses when users no longer require them in order to fully utilise the user agreements they have in place with vendors, and 42% stated it helped them avoid unexpected costs associated with purchasing further licenses, or paying noncompliance fines. While this sounds like effective software asset management, with 58% admitting that they aren’t using it to understand how staff and students use software, there’s still a long way to go.
Managing software assets effectively
License Dashboard suggest HE and FE institutions concerned about software spend, vendor audits, and mis-managing their software licenses should take the following actions:
- Perform a full inventory gathering all software information including purchase records and usage policies, and cross reference against what is deployed and being used
- Ensure they are making the most out of their IT budget by taking full advantage of all discounts and offers from their software vendors.
- Consider implementing a SAM tool to manage software assets – there are providers that offer discounts for academic institutions.