Why licence management tools are key

When embarking on a Software Asset Management (SAM) programme, it is essential that your tool selection is not made in isolation – your SAM tools must match your overall requirement for IT management tools. By taking this approach, you will ensure that all your SAM processes are fully integrated with your IT management tools and that all aspects of your SAM programme are implemented and adopted effectively.

For most environments, there is a need for not one tool, but many tools to be implemented in order to achieve a successful SAM programme.

Asset inventory

An asset inventory tool is the essential foundation tool for any IT asset management programme, recording all asset information associated to a physical device, including the nett book value, leasing contract, depreciation value and physical peripherals such as printers.

Although asset inventory tools are essential to managing IT assets, they have limited, if any, functionality in managing licence compliance – they will almost certainly be required to interface to other systems such as discovery tools and licence management tools.

Discovery tools

Discovery tools are designed to find hardware and installed software deployed across an organisation’s network. They are configured to locate the technical attributes of component software installed on a device. This information is essential when tracking versions and understanding what media has been used to deploy software. Summarising the thousands of discovered files, however, into meaningful information is near impossible.

Following the implementation of a discovery tool, therefore, extensive manual effort is required to turn the discovered output in to meaningful management information. In addition, most discovery tools also have the same licence management limitations as the asset inventory.

Licence management

Licence management tools are potentially one of the most important tools in a SAM implementation. The basis of any good Software Asset Management programme is to keep accurate and up-to-date software licence information, together with processes for controlling and maintaining its accuracy. Having a comprehensive database to store this information is essential. Not only does this allow you to archive effectively but it also allows you to publish this information when required, and clearly balance the equation between that you have installed and what you are allowed to install. Potentially, licence management tools are one of the most important aspects of a Software Asset Management implementation and can eliminate overspend and reduce instances of buying too many licences, the wrong licences or not buying enough. In addition, knowing with certainty that your organisation is compliant with the licensing terms puts you in a strong negotiating position with software manufacturers and prevents serious embarrassment.

Without a comprehensive licence management tool, the function of managing licences essentially becomes a manual process, one which is prone to error, complacency and eventually leads to regression. Most organisations end up using a number of spreadsheets to manage and track their entitlement; these documents become difficult to summarise and make it almost impossible to demonstrate effective audit trails which outline the allocation of upgrade paths and maintenance agreements.

That’s where Licence Dashboard takes over. “This unique product enables organisations to comprehensively manage an effective Software Asset Management programme,” says Amanda Sleight, Head of Licensing for Microsoft UK. “At Microsoft, we look at ways in which we can help our customers achieve ongoing SAM processes and provide long-term benefits from being compliant. Licence Dashboard enables you to achieve that and we fully support the Licence Dashboard programme.”

With Licence Dashboard, organisations can effectively and automatically control their software assets from purchase to upgrade and beyond. Its easy-to-use interface enables authorised users to take control of software and licence inventories, combining all licence register and software audit information into a single reporting tool.

Licence Dashboard is, therefore, an essential tool for all organisations looking to hone their licence management process. Without it, managing software assets becomes an arduous and resource-intensive task, one which suppresses the savings you could be making.

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Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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