In the UK, Computing magazine ran a survey recently into the aspects of IT that generated the highest unforeseen costs. Software licensing and asset management was cited as the most expensive source of problems by 47% of the 109 IT directors polled. Given the frequency with which software vendors are both auditing customers and changing the licensing rules, this is hardly surprising.
The costs that arise are nearly always due to the unexpected ‘true up’ organizations incur if they are audited and found to be lacking licenses. In most cases it happens because the user has not understood or tracked their licensing obligations in the first place – a problem compounded by increasing complexity in both licensing terms and IT environments (e.g. virtualization).
For many organizations, however, the cost of a true-up can pale into insignificance next to the ‘cost’ of brand and reputational damage if they are found to be lacking when it comes to IT governance. Reputation is everything in professional services because firms are engaged as trusted business advisors, with an expectation that the highest levels of compliance, governance and ethics are maintained across all areas, not least in software licensing.
This was the business justification for Harper Macleod LLP, a Snow License manager user. Reflecting the increasing tendency for SAM to be a multi-user function, Harper Macleod has spread responsibility for SAM across its IT Department. A team of ten are tacked with identifying what software is being used and maintaining a register of software installed (inventory management), through to actively monitoring how software is used and whether users are getting value for money (software usage metering). This is not to suggest that the only reason to invest in SAM is good governance.
Since deploying Snow License Manager, Harper Macleod has identified additional license optimization opportunities as a result of the audit and reconciliation process. In particular, software metering provides detailed reports showing actual software usage levels by individual staff to be created. This allows Harper Macleod’s IT management to become far more cost efficient, because software usage is reported down to an individual user level to avoid instances where money was being wasted on unnecessary software licenses.
Any employees identified to not be using their software entitlements fully could have access revoked and the same license made available for others in the firm to use. This capability to ‘re-harvest’ unused licenses rather than simply purchasing new entitlements has helped Harper Macleod to made significant IT cost savings. So it is clear that SAM brings many benefits to an organization – starting with protecting its reputation and extending into driving real bottom-line savings for the organization.
To read more about Harper Macleod’s implementation of Snow License Manager, download the full case study today.