Kevin Barnes, Consultant, Certero
Originally posted in October 2017, revised in November 2019.
Poor data center software asset management can cost organizations millions of dollars each year.
80% of software spend now takes place within the data center, so the need to manage and optimize license spend here is critical. However, the complexities of vendor licensing programs, different metrics and associated stipulations around installation, usage, editions, virtualization etc. make optimization easier said than done. This means that not only is your data center software licensing prone to non-compliance, but you are probably wasting huge amounts of money on unnecessary licenses.
Data Center Software Asset Management: Six Tips for Success
1) Get on the front foot and take control
Don’t sit back and wait until your annual submission is due and certainly don’t wait until a vendor comes knocking with a compulsory audit notice. By then it’s often too late. You need to get on the front foot and take control of your data center licensing before any of the big vendors come knocking at your door. By maintaining software licensing management and compliance throughout the year, this ensures that you are fully prepared in the event of your next audit and limits any nasty surprises. To do this you will need a software license management tool (but we will come on to that later).
2) Don’t rely on the licensing tools provided by the vendors
Remember the licensing tools employed by vendors such as Oracle (LMS), SAP (SLAW and USMM) and IBM (ILMT, TAD4D, BigFix) are mainly designed to capture installation and software usage data. They are point-in-time and don’t facilitate any refinement, with some often only providing information which benefits the vendor, rather than supporting you in achieving software licensing optimization. They aren’t SAM tools and certainly won’t help you optimize your licensing. To manage data center licensing you need specialist SAM tools designed for each environment and the different challenges they can all pose.
3) Be careful when using SAM consultancies or licensing specialists
Employing the services of specialist licensing consultancies can be extremely costly and only usually works for point-in-time requirements. They also tend to be heavily reliant on manual processes, which by definition are prone to error and vary in quality, dependent on the level of experience/expertise of the aligned individual. You need a dynamic compliance view that can tell you the moment you are non-compliant. This ensures that you are able to make informed business decisions.
4) SAM tools are available, but choose carefully
Many SAM vendors claim their tools are a ‘silver bullet’, but simply can’t deliver what they promise. Most available desktop or data center software asset management tools are based on legacy technology, lack automation, struggle to process large volumes of data and do not provide a centralizes view. This often leads to problems with inaccuracy and unreliability. Ensure you test the tools which you are considering as this will give you a better idea of which tool fully suits your needs. If you would like to arrange a demonstration of our Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or SAP data center software asset management solutions, or want to arrange a Proof of Concept project, get in touch via our contact form.
5) Remember: achieving an ELP is only the start of your journey
Establishing an ELP (Effective Licensing Position) is just the start of SAM: it simply provides visibility and a foundation from which to begin the journey towards an OLP (Optimized Licensing Position). Of course it’s then absolutely essential to ensure that the ELP and OLP are maintained to ensure you continue to realize all the benefits of controlled cost, minimized risk and enhanced management.
6) Find a trusted partner
Achieving data center licensing optimization requires a combination of effective technology – in the form of a tool or tools – and process, in the form of services delivered by internal or external resource. Ideally you want a partner capable of offering both; however this is easier said than done. Tool set vendors tend to fall short when it comes to services and often rely on partners who don’t necessarily have an aligned agenda. On the other hand, solution providers may offer the right services, but don’t use the right technology; hence they aren’t geared towards achieving a quick, accurate and value-for-money outcome. You need to look for a trusted partner offering a combination of highly-automated technology and services which conform to industry best practice and are executed by consultants who are experts in applying tools-based SAM to drive results of the highest quality.