Navigating through today’s quickly evolving software environments can be a challenging and risky proposition, even when organizations have a formal plan in place. But with a comprehensive software strategy that formalizes every step — from assessment to ongoing management — it becomes far easier to avoid the costly consequences of noncompliant and poorly utilized programs.
Although organizations’ strategies will have noticeable differences, there are a handful of proven best practices capable of guiding progressive businesses in the right direction:
Making a Commitment. Those enjoying the most-successful software management strategies proactively enter into the process with determination. They embrace the importance of understanding and managing software use versus licensing entitlement. Organizations committed to a software management strategy tend to enjoy the most assistance and get the best financial deals from manufacturers, whereas organizations that decide to wait and see if they get caught tend to end up with high unbudgeted spending as well as fines associated with breaking licensing terms. Being proactive and having a solution in place often translates into better manufacturer relationships, which typically makes it more likely that the organization will enjoy favorable rates as it negotiates future purchases and upgrades.
Embracing Proven Assets. Choosing an intuitive tool specifically designed for software asset management is a must. Most organizations have solutions in place in which asset management is an available module. Although going this route is adequate for meeting simple requirements, it’s important to remember that these solutions are rarely software-specific. Instead, they tend to focus on something else such as mobile device management. These solutions may have the ability to administer patches or specifically identify what assets are in the field, but they often lack key capabilities of specialized software management solutions. For instance, a help desk solution will not necessarily have the ability to load all of the organization’s contracts and entitlement details. A well-built solution will also allow for partners to plug in directly and complete punch lists, which can prove helpful as organizations add new assets.
Regularly Testing the Strategy. Regular attention and checkpoints — especially early on — are very important in identifying and swiftly rectifying potential issues. One approach is to pick one or two manufacturers that have more-complicated licensing structures and conduct monthly or quarterly checkpoints to make sure that the team using the software understands what rights have been purchased. Just because a tool is in place and data is there, people might still install the software beyond what is owned. It’s often the periodic checks that keep everyone in line.
Seeking Assistance. There are partners out there that can help. Finding the right partner with consulting experience and understanding of the license use rights is instrumental in explaining any gaps. A partner can even establish specific best practices to ensure compliance while effectively managing costs. A trusted licensing advisor is especially important in today’s environment, in which manufacturers commonly approach organizations directly to do cadence checks. A good licensing advisor should serve as the glue to keep communication flowing between all involved and also act as a broker to manage the manufacturer relationship. There are also great benefits in finding partners capable of plugging directly into the organization’s tools and solutions.
For more information on software management, read the white paper “Best and Worst Practices: A Look at What to Do and What Not to Do When Developing a Total Software Management Strategy.”