License Reharvesting: Reclaiming your IT Assets

13 Jan 2017

What is license reharvesting? And what are the benefits?


Your IT assets (both hardware and software) will represent a significant investment for your organization. Like any investment you will want to ensure that they are properly managed and utilized to the optimum. A key part of this process is license reharvesting, reclaiming IT assets that are no longer in use or required for their original purpose.

There are number of benefits obtained in doing this, the most obvious being cost savings. For the hardware this enables reuse if the equipment is still up-to-date, or if it is not, cannibalization of the parts (processor, memory, storage etc.) to be used in the repair and upgrade of other systems.

Also, if the hardware has been financed and has reached the end of the agreement, it will need to be returned to prevent additional costs. You then need to look at the installed software on the reclaimed device.


Reharvesting Software Licenses

Nowadays, the software present on reclaimed hardware is likely to be worth than the actual hardware. Consequently, it is important that you reharvest all the installed licenses, making them available for use elsewhere to bring to software costs. This will not only help ensure you remain compliant, it will also reduce the need to purchase extra licenses going forward. It can also help you reduce software maintenance costs by reducing your installed base.

Software reharvesting is not limited to reclaimed hardware. It can be carried out on in-use hardware where the software has not actually been used for a significant amount of time. To do this you will need a tool which is capable of software metering. This will identify periods of inactivity of software. This is part of the Software Asset Management process where organizations will optimize their software usuage.

As well as cost reduction, security is another major benefit of reclaiming IT assets. Unpatched systems using older software represent a very real backdoor security threat that, when connected to the corporate network, leave you wide open to attack by viruses, spam and malware. By reharvesting these licenses you remove this threat at a stroke.


Good ITAM is Vital to Reclaiming

So, having decided that reclaiming IT assets is well worth your while, with a clearly demonstrable ROI, how do you go about it? Obviously, a good IT asset management (ITAM) program is essential, otherwise you will have no idea what is actually out there and not being used. This is particularly the case with hardware not connecting to the network. Once identified, the reclamation can be mandatory (policy-based), or voluntary.

If voluntary, offering an amnesty and publicising it via your usual organizational communication channels (newsletter, intranet, posters on the notice board etc.) can be a good way of quickly and easily reclaiming hardware.

Reharvesting software from systems in use can be a little more controversial and so requires some thought and rules. For example, do you ask the user if you can remove unused software, or do you just do it, if they haven’t used it for say 60 or 90 days?


Self-service Portal

The answer to this question will vary from organization to organization and be dependent on a number factors, not all technical-based. If you have a self-service portal, such as Certero App-Centre, that enables users to quickly and easily select and download the software they need; then they are more likely to be less worried about unused software being automatically removed.

However, if software is hard to obtain, they are more likely to kick up a fuss if it is automatically removed. This may sound perverse, but human nature being what it is, most people don’t want something until they are told they can’t have it. Then it becomes an issue! So, in this case it may be better to request that it is removed beforehand, via an email explaining why you want to do it and how it will benefit the organization.

Obviously, you need the right technology and processes to be able to identify, track usage and reclaim your IT assets and with the Certero Platform all this available via one UI, integrated data source and powerful BI reporting.

Find out how Certero can help you by getting in touch and speaking with one of our experts.

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