Do you really know what’s on your network?

With network inventory (sometimes referred to as ‘discovery’) tools having now been available for over a decade, it’s sometimes tempting to think that the vast majority of organizations have a good idea of what IT assets – hardware and software – are deployed across the network and therefore have a handle on their software license management.

But if the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is to be believed, this is far from the truth.  The software licensing watchdog has published research which suggests that while 98 per cent of organizations recognize their reliance on software, only 7 per cent feel they can confidently state that all software on the network has been deployed correctly.  In other words, 93 per cent of organizations questioned by the BSA believe they have software licensing issues.

Nearly a third of those quizzed openly admitted it was quite possible their networks were home to illegal software.

This raises two important issues that really shouldn’t be ignored by any organization:  first, if you don’t have total confidence in how your software is being deployed then it’s virtually guaranteed you are over-spending on software licensing; second, if you believe there’s a chance you have illegal software on the network, you’d better sort it out before the software licensing police come knocking!

Software now accounts for around 30-35 per cent of total IT spend, and is growing.  If you don’t control this spend, you are essentially robbing the organization of the cash to invest in other critical areas of IT or business delivery.  With IT budgets at best static (in real terms), uncovering new cash to invest through better Software Asset Management could mean the difference between IT being a business enabler or a bottleneck.

And when it comes to illegal software, the risks are well-known.  Organizations now have greater than 50 per cent chance of being audited by at least one software vendor in any 12-month period.  The cost of uncovering illegal software use during such a review is far greater than if the organization proactively calculates its effective software licensing position ahead of time.

So we come back to knowing what’s on the network and what you are entitled to use.  You need two data sources:  accurate software inventory and a single license repository.  By intelligently (and automatically if you use a solution like License Dashboard!) reconciling these, you can take charge of the software on the network, minimize any risks and start making significant savings in software procurement.  It seems only 7 per cent of organizations are currently enjoying the benefits of this – shouldn’t yours join them?

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Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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