Face it: sometimes managing software licenses becomes an overlooked task due to what are generally considered more pressing problems: like keeping business IT functioning every day. However, all the good intentions in the world won’t help if you find yourself the subject of a software company license audit.
According to the 2012 Key Trends in Software Pricing & Licensing Survey, sponsored by Flexera Software and IDC, 64% of enterprises surveyed reported they had been audited in the preceding 18 to 24 months. Bigger enterprises (with more than $1 billion in revenue) were significantly more likely to be audited multiple times. Nearly one-quarter of enterprises said their total “true-up” payments to gain license compliance over the previous year amounted to at least $1 million. Yikes! According to the report, the most frequent software companies performing audits were Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and Adobe.
Here’s how to use your IT asset management software to help ensure that if an auditor knocks on your door, you’ll be ready to make their day a lot more boring.
Step 1: Choose Comprehensive IT Asset Management Software
Your asset management software should offer a central repository for all documents proving license ownership, including purchase receipts, packing slips, invoices, and copies of license agreements. Your software should be able to reference licenses in seconds, wherever you are. Choose software that automatically detects new software installation to help you keep all license information up to date. It should also automatically track and monitor contracts, licenses, and their particular requirements and restrictions.
Step 2: Set Up Gap Detection and Automatic Alerts
Can your asset management software alert you when a gap is detected between the number of licenses and the number of legal installs? It should. It should also alert you when licenses are close to their expiration dates so that none slip by unnoticed. Your software should instantly show you software names, versions, number of installs, and date of first detection, and every piece of software should have an associated tag, typically the name of the software (like WinZip). It should also allow you to create custom tags if you want to more specific tags that include things like software version number. With all this information gathered in one place, and automatic alerts set up, you should be able to minimize or eliminate compliance gaps.
Step 3: Rectify Gaps in Compliance Detected by Your Software
Allow yourself a moment of panic when alerted of a compliance gap, then get busy correcting it.
When your asset management software notifies you of a gap in license compliance, someone needs to investigate and determine exactly why the gap exists: whether someone illegally installed another copy somewhere, or a license expired and no one noticed, or some other reason. Investigate and correct these gaps as soon as they’re found, and if you are audited, you’ll find it to be a much less stressful ordeal.
You don’t have to be afraid to find out where you are in terms of license compliance, because there are great tools available today to help you get a handle on it. It’s easy to let fear of massive new license purchases prevent you from finding out your organization’s real software license compliance level. But with software vendors seeing compliance audits as a lucrative new revenue center, you can’t just keep your fingers crossed and hope you don’t get audited.
Address license compliance now with great IT asset management software like Samanage, and you’ll not only be able to take care of existing compliance gaps, you’ll be able to work smarter by reallocating underused licenses to people who need them most, and help prevent future compliance problems.
About Matt Shanklin
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