For most companies, software license compliance is a “one-off” activity, typically triggered by a specific event. For example, a company will receive a notification of a pending vendor audit, or become aware of the upcoming expiration of software licenses or an IT contract. So, they’ll manually count installations, and compare them to the original purchase agreement.
This approach is extremely inefficient, forcing IT teams to, essentially, drop everything to conduct an emergency software inventory check. It is also highly error-prone, as it would be nearly impossible for the software audit to be fully accurate, given the rushed and pressure-filled conditions it was performed under. As a result, companies are at tremendous risk of fines and penalties.
The fact is that software audits are on the rise. Gartner predicts that, by the end of this year, as many as 40 percent of mid-sized and large organizations will have been subject to at least one external software license audit. Many experts believe that the economy is playing a major role in this trend, as declining revenues from new software sales are prompting providers to find their income elsewhere.
To ensure full compliance, and protect themselves from financial loss or damage to their reputations, companies must create and enforce formal, ongoing software license management policies – and leverage advanced software asset management technologies to streamline related processes and activities.
In addition to minimizing the risk associated with external audits, this type of proactive approach to software license compliance has other benefits as well, such as:
Reduced Software Costs
Instead of overpaying for unused licenses, companies can optimize license consumption. For example, they can more precisely identify opportunities to re-allocate licenses, minimize maintenance charges on outdated software versions, and more.
Increased IT Productivity
IT staff can waste tremendous amounts of time conducting manual audits. But, software asset management solutions streamline and automate the key inventory processes required to achieve and maintain compliance. The information needed to prove full adherence is always right at their fingertips, so they can focus on more strategic projects.
Improved Vendor Negotiations
A solid track record when it comes to compliance can give a company a “leg-up” during the contract renewal process. Not only will the vendor appreciate their diligence and perhaps be willing to provide a price break, but understanding their own license needs will help organizations to cut the best possible deal.
Companies who view software license compliance as a “one-time” event often find themselves in an undesirable position, scrambling to prove compliance in the face of a pending audit. But, with a state-of-the-art software asset management tool in place, organizations can be proactive about software license management, making it an integral and ongoing part of their key IT operations.