According to a recent post by R. “Ray” Wang at A Software Insider’s Point of View, vendor software audits have increased by 32 percent since the first quarter of 2008 (the latest recession undoubtedly drove a lot of this increase). Further, Gartner recently reported that 61% of its customers have been audited by software vendors.
Though more than 80% of those audited were found to be in license compliance, if you happened to be on the other side of that ratio, you’d be hurting – and at a time when you could least afford it.
3 Keys to Compliant Software License Management
To stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to compliant software usage, Wang recommends keeping good records, centralizing contracts, and using software license management tools, among other tips. Sounds commonsensical enough, but for a fair number of businesses, day-to-day practice falls far short of this ideal.
Why? In our experience, it comes down to a lack of simplicity, availability, and centrality in software license management solutions. Simply put:
- If software license tracking isn’t dead simple, it won’t get done. Not enough to pass a software audit, at any rate. But that simplicity shouldn’t come at the cost of power. The best software license tracking solutions include laborsaving and easy-to-use features like automatic asset classification, searching with user-defined, system-wide tags, consistently intuitive input forms, and exclusion of drivers, patches, and service packs from searches.
- Software license management systems that are not accessible from multiple points across an organization don’t get updated like they should. Cloud-based solutions, especially those that can be accessed from mobile devices in addition to desktops are ideal in this regard.
- A software license management system that fragments inventory listings, contracts, reseller invoices, expiration dates, and other related data is a recipe for costly audits. When the auditors come knocking, businesses with all software compliance documentation in a central database save money, time, and hassles. And they avoid unnecessary purchases, mistimed renewals, and other pitfalls of a software license management solution that’s not centralized.
In today’s economic climate, especially, your next vendor software audit isn’t a matter of if, but of when. When your number is up, will you be ready?