IT Asset Management
What a saw and a plane are to a carpenter, a PC and software are to a modern office worker. And just as a carpenter doesn't get by with just a saw, today's typical office environment includes many different types of software, from the Windows operating system to the classic Office package, CRM software, design programs, ERP tools and others.
Developers created all these helpful programs with some effort. Like you, they don’t want to work for free. Accordingly, they charge license fees ranging from one-time to recurring, and from voluntary or nominal to very expensive. While smaller and side-gig developers might not closely monitor license payments, most developers do. Large companies and developers of specialized and in-demand packages monitor and enforce licensing agreements and payments, some quite aggressively. Software audits that verify if the OSes and applications that a business uses are properly licensed can be involved, time-consuming and downright unpleasant affairs for company executives and IT staff.
Financial penalties for using unlicensed software can be substantial. But the bigger downside for most companies is the task of documenting all of the software in use due to the high complexity and volume of licensing activity. There are always new employees joining, old ones leaving, new roles and responsibilities being created with a corresponding need for software. A manually maintained list is usually outdated even before it’s completed.
To avoid underlicensing, some companies are tempted to stock up on bulk licenses to be on the safe side. That’s a bad idea for two reasons. First, it’s very expensive, not to mention wasteful. Second, even a generous supply of licenses does not exempt you from documenting usage during an audit.
That’s why there is a flourishing market of software asset management (SAM) providers and consultants. The really big SAM solutions include gigantic catalogs of all possible applications and programs that enable you to review and document even the most obscure license agreements. However, the use of these solutions is correspondingly complex.
Big SAM solutions are overkill for a typical mid-sized company. There are lighter weight SAM solutions which do not require extensive training are available, but they still place a heavy burden on IT admins charged with performing this thankless task. There’s got to be another option, right?
Most IT admins should first ask themselves where they get the master data for software used in their company. Fortunately, the days when each PC had to be checked manually are long gone. The inventory function of a modern UEM system such as the baramundi Management Suite can detect all PCs, laptops and other mobile devices in the network and automatically generate up-to-date, detailed lists of all installed hardware and software. That includes the version, build and registration numbers of OSes, common and obscure third-party applications. That takes care of the lion's share of the work.
But then what do you do with this data? First of all, a SAM solution designed for small-and mid-sized businesses such as baramundi License Management can be used to assign the license data to the recorded applications. This creates a comparatively easy-to-understand license balance.
But now the question arises: How do you handle discrepancies (which will almost certainly occur)? If there is a shortage of licenses, the manufacturer would say "Buy more immediately!" But this is expensive and often unnecessary because not everything that is installed is necessarily in use.
In many cases, programs have been installed en masse without the users really needing them. For example, a colleague in the accounting department may have needed graphics software for a project. But that was several years ago and the entire department still has a graphics package on all computers.
To find out where such unused license corpses lie, baramundi recommends the use of Application Usage Tracking (AUT). This allows you to record how often certain programs were used in a specific period and where the unused programs are located. At the push of a button, baramundi Deploy can then remove the unused installation and release the license . This reduces costs and, if there’s any doubt, can quickly and easily correct underlicensing.
However, overlicensing is far more common. The manufacturer has nothing against this, of course, but your company is wasting money that could certainly be put to better use. Here, too, the license balance sheet helps uncover excess licenses, for which the associated maintenance contracts can be terminated.
One aspect of license management that is often forgotten is coordination with Finance & Accounting. Here it pays to invest in a solution such as baramundi License Management. It includes all of the tools that IT admins needs plus a practical web interface for non-IT users without access to the baramundi UEM solution. That makes it possible to deal with tedious licensing issues the best way possible – quickly, efficiently and as a coordinated team.