Software Asset Management systems combine processes and technologies to improve the way applications are utilized, tracked, and managed throughout their lifecycle. Some of the advantages that can be achieved through software asset management include enhanced software performance and utilization, accelerated return on investment, increased productivity and ensuring license compliance.
But, software asset management isn’t just a solution, it’s a strategy. While a software asset management application will deliver significant benefits, there are many steps companies can take to ensure that maximum software asset management value is realized. The five ways to achieve this are:
Establish formal software policies – The creation, documentation, and enforcement of a formal software usage policy is the first step in any successful software asset management strategy. In a recent study performed by Yankelovich Partners for the Business Software Alliance, lack of established software management practices was cited as the greatest risk for software piracy.
Know your users – Because business operations have become increasingly complex, the software needed to support related activities is more sophisticated than ever before. Additionally, more applications and systems are required to empower end users to most efficiently perform their jobs. Gartner believes that profiling the user base, and understanding exactly what they need from a software perspective, can put companies in a better negotiating position with their vendors. In fact, the analyst firm estimates that thorough user profiling can yield reductions in licensing costs of as much as 10 to 20 percent.
Perform internal audits on a regular basis – Frequently scheduled hardware audits can provide better visibility into existing assets and their use. For example, in-depth periodic gap analysis will help organizations to identify over and under-licensed products. This not only eliminates waste and saves money, itallows organizations to correct any licensing violations before they are subject to an external audit. Additionally, once the audit has been completed, Gartner recommends that companies reconcile their software inventory results with their vendors, to eliminate oversights or errors due to the re-bundling or renaming of products.
Select a dedicated asset management team – Many experts believe that software asset management will be most effective if a select individual, or team of individuals, is responsible for all facets of the strategy. By assigning specific staff members to oversee all software asset management related activities, and empowering them to enforce internal standards and regulations, companies can increase software governance and compliance – a key component of software asset management.
Continuously refine the plan – Software asset inventory changes at a rapid pace, and the processes needed to track those assets need to be re-evaluated and refined on a regular basis. This is particularly important in the first several months after a software asset management strategy has been implemented. Those who oversee the initiative need to assess their efforts in order to determine which aspects of the plan are working, and which ones aren’t, so they can make adjustments and improvements as appropriate to ensure software asset management success.