Over the past few weeks we have been teasing you with new features for our up-and-coming release of Snow License Manager 8. At last, we’re really excited to be able to share our new Software Asset Management (SAM) platform with you. Whether you’re new to SAM or managing a mature program of license optimization across datacenter and mobile environments, we’ve designed Snow License Manager 8 to add value to all kinds of organizations and the wide variety of SAM stakeholders across the enterprise.
In terms of hard facts, there are over 500 new features in Snow License Manager 8, but that neither tells the full story nor helps you understand where we believe the priorities for SAM managers lie today and tomorrow. So this blog will round up the key points from the last few weeks as well as highlight some of the key areas where we believe organizations need to focus their SAM efforts for 2016 and beyond.
The datacenter environment is where the majority of your software spend will go – and is also where the most complex license models can be found. Vendors are constantly looking for new and innovative ways in which they can license their products which means SAM professionals and technologies need to keep up and adapt to ensure they remain compliant and manage costs.
An example of license model that is being adopted by datacenter vendors is the processor core metric. This license metric brings a number of complexities including virtualization techniques and the reliance on knowing hardware specifications. Snow License Manager 8 helps customers understand their server environment and associated software by automatically calculating the compliance position for processor and processor core based software – for both physical and virtual machines. All of the requirement information is presented to the SAM Manager and other SAM stakeholders, including how the compliance position was calculated.
We have also introduced the automatic application of VM use rights feature. Snow License Manager 8 ensures your existing entitlements are optimized to their full potential within the fast and dynamic virtual environment. This puts the SAM Manager in control and will help them avoid unnecessary additional costs within the virtual environment.
Minimum License Requirements
Another way in which Snow License Manager 8 can help you manage complex licensing risks is by automatically identifying the minimum license assignment rules for datacenter applications. With Microsoft SQL Server, for example, a minimum of four licenses need to be assigned to a virtual machine running the software, even if the virtual machine has less than four cores.
When Snow License Manager 8 calculates compliance, the minimum license assignment rules are taken into account so the SAM Manager has an accurate compliance position.
Core Factors relate primarily to Oracle and Microsoft products. They relate to the number of cores that need to be applied to each asset to assess the number of required licenses. Snow License Manager 8 calculates core factors for Microsoft and Oracle automatically with the appropriate numbers used depending on the hardware specification.
This gives back the SAM Manager a vital asset – time. The manual calculation of compliance based on core factors has been removed allowing them to focus their efforts on other elements of core factor licensing including lowering the number of cores to optimize licenses and look at ‘what if’ scenarios to help with future compliance and financial forecasting.
In order to stay in control of your datacenter environment, you need to have clear visibility of any hardware changes that will affect your license position.
We have introduced such a feature within Snow License Manager 8 so the SAM Manager has complete visibility on any hardware changes that may have an impact on software licenses. This feature also helps wider IT stakeholders identify any non-utilized environments so they can make the relevant changes to ensure licenses are assigned to alternative resources.
ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE VENDORS
Vendors like IBM stress that you must use an IBM specific tool to manage their software in order to be eligible for sub-capacity licensing. Snow License Manager 8 now provides full integration with these approved IBM tools so SAM managers can manage and optimize their PVU licenses directly within Snow License Manager. We have also made it easier for you to import your entitlements for enterprise software vendors.
You can now use IBM SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) numbers to import your entitlement so you can see your compliance position for each product quickly and easily. This feature is fully integrated with IBM PVU sub-capacity technologies like ILMT, Tivoli Asset Discovery for Distributed (TADd) and IBM BigFix.
One of the challenges Software Asset Management faces is to manage software assets from a financial perspective. It is a real struggle for the business to help forecast future budgets, and provide stakeholders with a breakdown highlighting what money has been spent on what software assets.
With Snow License Manager 8, we have introduced a new software Maintenance & Support view that will help you manage your licenses and agreements throughout its lifecycle. You now have the transparency to understand and see the financial impact your agreement has on your finances per year – along with the maintenance costs.
Through the new view you can see historical spending habits as well as future maintenance costs. This is a key feature that allows the user to understand the total cost of the software asset at any point in time. For example, year one maintenance may cost $X, whereas year two maintenance increases by 3 percent.
The total cost of the software asset has then increased. Having this data is not only important to your Software Asset Management teams, but also key stakeholders such as procurement and finance – further emphasizing the value of SAM and Snow License Manager 8 to the whole organization.
Our mission here at Snow Software is to ‘stop organizations spending too much money for the software they consume’. We firmly believe that Software Asset Management should shout about its financial wins from the rooftops – which is why we have made it easier for you to identify financial risks and potential cost savings and avoidance.
The new financial optimization features will help you present financial SAM data in a understandable way to key stakeholders and senior management. We have added a new feature that will provide the user with a complete view, on an application-by-application basis – on whether an application is over or under licensed. It also shows the amount of financial risk based on software that has been installed, but is not in use.
This enables the user to fully understand their compliance position and identify any applications that are eligible for software re-harvesting – something that really helps with cost avoidance.
It is important that the SAM team understands the total cost of hardware assets across the organization – and how this relates to the total cost of assets. To that end, we have added visibility on the exact and total costs of hardware assets. This will help you to have full control over your IT Asset Management estate, and help tailor and provide specific services to end users.
In order to optimize your financial spend, you need to be able to identify how much money you are spending on a specific application family.
For example – you have a Microsoft renewal coming up in a few months and you want to know the total number of licenses and spend for Microsoft Project Standard. All of this information is shown in the application family view so you can see the financial impact a certain application has on your finances.
This is important SAM data as it enables you to identify ways in which to optimize your software spend not only at renewal time, but also during your own internal review process.
FORECASTING AND TRENDING
Once you have control of your existing finances as they are today, it’s time to look forward into the future and make informed decisions about how to ensure your spend in the future remains optimized. You need to be in control of your software assets and understand future demand and spend may go.
Snow License Manager 8 enables you to understand previous and current trends to help you understand your compliance and financial patterns. Based on existing trends, Snow License Manager 8 will then help you predict your future compliance and spend which will help you forecast future software costs.
This feature allows you to take existing license, maintenance and support costs, as well as usage information and start to understand future costs for renewals or anniversaries. It will also allow you to look at the current growth rates within your organization for complex environments like the datacenter.
Being able to look at trending patterns and forecasting having the ability to look at the future compliance and financial position will help the SAM Team and other stakeholders take the proactive approach when managing software assets.
ENHANCED MANAGEMENT REPORTING
Improving the users experience was something we really wanted to focus on when building Snow License Manager 8. Software Asset Management and licensing is a tough subject with lots of different datasets and license metrics that you need to know about and manage. We have revamped our Dashboard so that you have all of the core information that you need at your fingertips.
All of the Dashboards are customizable, so you can tailor the widgets based on a specific role – branching the SAM function out further to other key stakeholders. We want to provide users with a simple and easy experience, with less mouse clicks and menu selections to enable users to access the data they require in a quicker manner. The new, enhanced user experience is visible straight away when you first login to Snow License Manager 8, which can be done in 13 individual languages.
This means you can provide your regional SAM or IT Managers access to Snow in their local language. Our focus has been to reduce the amount of time users spend looking for certain pieces of information – enabling SAM Managers and Snow License Manager 8 users to focus their time and attention elsewhere.
Snow License Manager 8 is available today. We can’t wait for you to start using and seeing the additional benefits that Snow License Manager 8 will bring you – the SAM Manager – and other stakeholders your organization. The Software Asset Management world moves pretty fast; if you don’t keep up with the latest licensing models and SAM processes then you’ll start to find yourself falling behind.
That’s why we’ve created Snow License Manager 8 with the future in mind. 500 new features is a huge number – but it is just the start. Thanks to the new feature release cycle being adopted across the Snow technology portfolio, Snow License Manager 8 will ensure that users are not only equipped to tackle the SAM challenges of today, but also the new license metrics, technologies and software launches of tomorrow.
Start adding even more value through our future proofed Snow License Manager 8 solution – call us today for a demo!