Organizations around the world work very hard to effectively manage their software licenses, and for good reason. Cost savings, risk mitigation, resource optimization, and compliance & audit readiness are just a few of the many benefits that come with effective license management.
The following five videos in our ITAM Tips from the Trenches series each cover what we believe are essential keys to managing your software licenses effectively. Those keys are:
- Managing IT assets through a program, not one-time projects
- Developing strong relationships with key stakeholders
- Not “boiling the ocean" – prioritizing key software publishers
- Utilizing a license management tool
- Conducting regular license reviews and reconciliation
Following these keys to software license management will enable your organization to operate efficiently, remain compliant, mitigate risks, and make informed decisions.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about effective license management, please schedule a meeting with us.
Key #1: Manage your software licenses through an ITAM program
In this installment of our ITAM Tips From the Trenches series, Anglepoint director Sarah Marriott discusses the significance of adopting a programmatic approach to managing software licenses and IT assets, contrasting it with the limited scope of managing assets through individual projects.
So, why not just a one-off exercise? Quick wins are important to your organization, but they are not conducive to long term success if the foundation of an ITAM Program doesn’t yet exist. To truly mitigate risk, optimize cost savings and manage the software lifecycle, an end to end program underpinned by people, process and technology is needed. Below are three main reasons why a programmatic apprach to managing your IT assets will benefit your organization.
- Buy-in from Key Stakeholders: All successful ITAM programs involve participation of many people across various departments in your organization, but, getting their buy in at the executive level and in the trenches can be a challenge. Best practice ITAM programs are upheld by process documentation that outlines the accountabilities and responsibilities of each team at each step. This documentation is signed off by executives, which provides the top-down support needed to give validation to the program. This validation then authorizes resources and budget so that the ITAM process can be successfully operationalized. With the right people involved, your organization’s ITAM program will be better positioned within the business and increase agility in your decision making.
- Improved Productivity and Efficiency: One of the key elements of a successful IT Asset Management Program is to have complete and accurate visibility into your IT estate via a SAM Tool. Once visibility is there, significant efficiencies can be made including streamlining workflows and automating routine tasks like software installations, updates, and patches. Having a central repository of asset information also enables faster troubleshooting, proactive maintenance, and better resource allocation, which leads to improved overall productivity of the ITAM team, and the stakeholders using the software so they can do business better and faster.
- Scalability and Planning: As organizations grow and undergo changes, managing IT assets through a program facilitates scalability and effective planning. A true ITAM Program includes elements across licensing management, SAM Tooling both technical and operational and governance workstreams. These workstreams are intertwined and feed each other information to ensure expectations are set in the governance documentation, the SAM Tool provides complete and accurate asset information, and there is a clear view on compliance status of material software vendors with process in place to action recommendations to mitigate risk and realize cost savings. Enabled by this information, you can then anticipate future needs, evaluate resource requirements, and plan for upgrades or expansions.
In summary, adopting a programmatic approach to IT asset management, guided by well-defined processes, is crucial for the sustained success of an organization’s ITAM efforts. This programmatic approach offers benefits such as improved efficiency, support and engagement from key stakeholders, and the ability to plan and scale the organization in a deliberate manner.
Check out the resources below to learn more.
Key #2: Strong relationships with stakeholders are crucial
This installment of our series ITAM Tips From the Trenches, Senior Consultant Mitchel Cordy emphasizes the significance of cultivating strong relationships within the IT Asset Management (ITAM) environment.
Mitchel Cordy, Senior Consultant at Anglepoint, provides insights into why such relationships are crucial and outlines 4 key strategies for building and nurturing these relationships for optimal ITAM program success.
Importance of Strong Relationships in ITAM:
- Stakeholder Buy-in: Strong relationships ensure alignment and shared goals among stakeholders beyond the ITAM team. When stakeholders are united in their objectives, they are more likely to actively engage in and support ITAM initiatives. This shared purpose fosters collaboration, where everyone is invested in the success of the program.
- Access to Data: Building relationships with key stakeholders provides access to crucial data for effective ITAM. Various teams, such as procurement, finance, engineering, application owners, end users, and legal, possess valuable information for managing software assets. Establishing rapport and open communication channels facilitates access to accurate and comprehensive data, enabling informed decisions and compliance maintenance.
- Integration into the Team: Strong relationships allow ITAM professionals to become an integral part of the larger organizational team. Engaging with stakeholders, understanding their challenges, and demonstrating commitment to their success positions ITAM experts as trusted and valued members of the organization.
Strategies for Building Strong Relationships:
- Set Expectations: Define clear expectations and success metrics for the ITAM program. Aligned goals save time and enhance collaboration. For instance, if success is defined as reducing software spend by 5% within a year, both ITAM Leads and stakeholders have a direction for their efforts, leading to effective decision-making and relationship cultivation.
- Create Win-Win Scenarios: Identify opportunities for win-win situations where all stakeholders benefit. Identify common objectives that align with their interests and explore collaborative solutions. Demonstrating how Software Asset Management (SAM) impacts the business, explaining potential cost savings and risk mitigation, helps stakeholders see the value in ITAM work. This approach enhances collaboration and ensures information exchange.
- Proactive Communication: Maintain regular and transparent communication with stakeholders. Keep them informed about project updates, challenges, and progress. This proactive communication manages expectations, builds trust, and promotes alignment. Recognize the expertise and contributions of those involved, reinforcing collaboration’s importance and unity within the ITAM program.
- Alignment with Organizational Strategy: Align ITAM programs with the overall organizational strategy and goals. This garners support from various areas of the organization and ensures sustained ITAM success over the years.
In conclusion, Mitchel underscores the importance of strong relationships in the ITAM environment and elaborates on the benefits they offer. The provided strategies highlight ways to cultivate these relationships, ensuring stakeholder buy-in, access to essential data, and integration into the larger organizational team. By adopting these strategies, ITAM professionals can foster an environment of collaboration, trust, and shared success, contributing to the overall effectiveness of ITAM initiatives.
Looking for more information? Check out the resources below:
Key #3: Don’t try to boil the ocean: prioritize software publishers
In this installment of our series ITAM Tips From the Trenches, Senior Consultant, Rose-Ann Merulla, shares insights on effectively prioritizing software publishers within the context of Software Asset Management (SAM). This segment underscores the need to avoid the overwhelming task of implementing SAM across the entire organization and suggests a pragmatic approach to deliver immediate value.
The adage “Don’t try to boil the ocean" is aptly used to illustrate the challenge of managing SAM across a large organization due to its intricacies. To make this daunting task manageable and demonstrate quick results, the initial step is to prioritize software publishers. This involves assessing their significance and impact based on factors like yearly expenditures, risk evaluation, critical applications, and alignment with business priorities.
Review how a contract and publisher is managed today by taking these steps into consideration:
- Evaluate Yearly Expenditures: Analyze the yearly spend associated with software licenses from different publishers. This analysis aims to identify publishers whose software accounts for a substantial portion of the organization’s software budget. Reviewing software expenditure data, including recent purchases and maintenance renewals over the past 4 to 6 years, will help to ensure accuracy.
- Assess Risk Profile: Next, you will need to evaluate the risk associated with non-compliance and identify publishers with a history of rigorous audit procedures or an assertive approach toward licensing violations. Prioritizing these publishers helps in minimizing legal and financial risks. Consider the organization’s past audit history and create a scoring system to rate the level of known audit activity for specific publishers to aid you in prioritizing.
- Identify Critical Software Applications: Pinpoint essential software applications provided by different publishers, especially those that are vital for the organization’s uninterrupted business operations and productivity. Applications that support critical functions like infrastructure, human resources, development, manufacturing, etc., should be taken into account.
- Emphasize Strategic Alignment: Focus on publishers whose software directly supports key business processes, strategic goals, and enhances operational efficiency. Establishing robust relationships with such publishers provides additional benefits for the SAM program, including improved license compliance, favorable terms, access to updates, enhanced support, and industry insights.
Following these guidelines allows organizations to categorize their publishers and formulate a prioritized list. This list can be synchronized with contractual milestones and timelines such as renewals, true-ups, or audit requirements. The strategic alignment facilitates more targeted optimization and negotiation activities, leading to well-informed decisions.
Effective prioritization enables appropriate allocation of resources and bolsters efforts to achieve SAM goals efficiently. By adopting a methodical approach to prioritizing publishers, your organization can navigate the complexities of SAM more adeptly and derive substantial value from your efforts.
Interested in learning more? Check out the blog below:
Key #4: Use a license management tool
In this installment of our series ITAM Tips From the Trenches, Ken Staude, director at Anglepoint, provides a comprehensive guide to effectively utilizing a software asset management tool.
He outlines ten key steps for maximizing the benefits of such tools within your organization:
- Define Objectives: The first step involves defining clear objectives for implementing a software asset management solution. This could include goals like cost optimization, license compliance, or software usage analysis. Establishing these objectives sets the direction for the entire process.
- Select the Right Tool: Research and evaluate various software asset management tools available in the market. Consider factors such as features, compatibility, scalability, ease of use, and cost to ensure the chosen tool aligns with your organization’s needs.
- Plan the Implementation: Develop a detailed implementation plan outlining steps, timelines, and responsibilities. Involve key stakeholders like IT teams, procurement, and finance to ensure alignment of objectives and smoother execution.
- Gather Hardware and Software Inventory: Conduct a comprehensive inventory of devices and systems across the organization. This involves collecting data about installed software, versions, licenses, and usage patterns.
- Populate the Solution: Enter software inventory data into the software asset management solution. This can be done manually or by integrating existing sources like spreadsheets, network scanning tools, or discovery agents.
- Configure Entitlement and Licensing: Set up license entitlements, agreements, and contracts within the solution. Link them to respective software titles and assets to effectively track and manage software licenses.
- Monitor Software Utilization: Utilize the software asset management solution to track software usage and monitor compliance. Collect data on license consumption, usage patterns, overspending, and underutilization to optimize software usage.
- Reporting and Dashboards: Leverage the reporting capabilities of the tool to generate insights and reports on license compliance, cost optimization opportunities, renewal planning, and usage trends.
- Take Action: Analyze the reports and insights provided by the software asset management tool. Take appropriate actions such as optimizing license allocations, identifying unused software, renegotiating contracts, and addressing compliance gaps.
- Monitor and Optimize: Recognize that software asset management is an ongoing process. Continuously review and update the tool with new installations, retired assets, license updates, and agreements. Regularly monitor software usage, compliance, and costs for ongoing optimization.
These ten tips act as a guide for a successful software asset management journey. By following these steps, your organization can effectively manage software assets, ensure compliance, optimize costs, and make informed decisions for your SAM program.
Looking for more information? Check out the resources below:
Key #5: Conduct regular license reviews and reconciliation
In this installment of our series ITAM Tips from the Trenches, Director Pooja Singh, shares her tips for IT Asset Management.
Specifically, we will explore the importance of conducting regular license reviews and reconciliation in managing software licenses effectively.
What exactly is license reconciliation? License reconciliation involves comparing owned licenses with deployed or consumed licenses within an organization. This process helps identify non-compliance and enables proactive measures. Frequent reconciliation allows organizations to assess consumption patterns, identify underutilization, and optimize licenses.
The frequency of license reviews depends on organizational size and software license complexity. Quarterly reviews are recommended, with annual reviews as a minimum. It is also important to note that significant changes in software usage or licensing agreements can also trigger reviews.
When conducting license reviews, focus on the following key areas:
- Understand License Agreements: Ensure compliance by adhering to usage restrictions and agreed limits, considering factors like production vs. non-production environments, users, cores, or resources.
- Assess Consumption Patterns: Identify overutilization or underutilization areas to optimize license allocation, reduce costs, and prevent unnecessary spending.
What are the different approaches to conducting license reviews?
One approach is an internal review, where your organization’s IT or procurement team takes the responsibility of analyzing license data and usage patterns internally. This process involves collecting various usage information from application owners, considering different usage metrics for each product. Conducting an internal review requires sufficient resources and expertise to ensure a thorough assessment.
The other approach is to enlist a Software Asset Management (SAM) provider. SAM providers specialize in license management and can conduct comprehensive license reconciliation on your behalf. They analyze your license data, generate reports, and provide valuable insights on compliance, utilization rates, cost-saving opportunities, and areas for improvement. Additionally, SAM providers can assist with license optimization, contract negotiations, and ongoing license management.
Regular license reviews and reconciliation are essential for efficient license management. By reconciling licenses regularly, organizations can decide whether to retain unused licenses for future growth or allocate resources more effectively. License reconciliation plays a key role in ensuring compliance, optimization, and deriving maximum value from software licenses.
In conclusion, consistent license reviews and reconciliation play a crucial role in effective software license management. Organizations should integrate these practices into their license management strategies to achieve compliance, optimize costs, and extract the full potential of their software licenses.
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