May 02 2014

Why Software License and Asset Management Projects Fail

Identify these pitfalls, and your organization can figure out how to avoid them.

Software license and asset management projects are a significant undertaking, requiring the active and sustained engagement of both business and technical/IT management. Unfortunately, these programs often struggle and fail to deliver the promise of rational, efficient and comprehensive oversight of software assets across the enterprise. Among the reasons:

Failure to Scope

Organizations that rush into a software asset management program without adequate planning can find themselves facing an unmanageable task. Snow Software’s V.P. of Marketing and Communication, Matt Fisher, warns that many are surprised by the scope of their license management efforts. Be mindful of the scope and scale of the task ahead and budget time and money accordingly.

Failure to Iterate

Organizations that are just getting started should consider breaking the task into smaller portions, targeting first a specific geography, a well-defined hardware profile (only desktop PCs, for example) or a single vendor’s installed products. This reduces the scope of mistakes and allows the team to apply lessons from these efforts as they move forward in successive phases of the project.

Failure to Define Success

Goals are a foundational component of any successful license management effort. Organizations that are out of compliance should factor in the cost of retroactively paying for licenses into the success matrix and cast “planned cost” as a success metric against the unplanned cost of a software audit. An effective SAM program will establish metrics to recognize achievements such as reducing the number of unused or underutilized licenses, which can help sell SAM efforts to executive management.

Failure to Gain Executive Sponsorship

As a cross-functional effort that can impact and, at times, disrupt operations across the enterprise, a successful license management program requires executive-level support. The active engagement of a C-level executive is necessary to carry a top-down mandate to the organization, while also selling the effort to executive management.

Failure to Engage Stakeholders

Projects that fail to engage key stakeholders often struggle. A large, dedicated team is not required, but a successful effort must get buy-in from the organization and all affected departments. A SAM program should recruit key representatives from affected units, including IT, finance, procurement, human resources and executive management. Larger organizations may add a data center IT representative, as well as a governance officer to ensure compliance with best practices.

Want to learn more? Check out CDW’s white paper, “The Myths of Software Compliance.”


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