Where have all the silver bullets gone? “One install equals one licence”, “OEM software lives and dies with the machine”, “You don’t own the software, merely the rights to use the software” etc. etc. Fast forward to today: “Your Oracle ordering document takes precedence over any pre-existing contract you might have signed”, “Improving your processor can multiply licence costs out of the park”, “Due to emergent technologies I am struggling to know the physical resources I assign to my virtualised servers.”; “I can’t remember the last time I compare HR records to AD accounts, and so have no idea how many CALs I need to pay for (or indeed what type of CAL to pay for).”
It’s not so much that the goal posts have moved in the world of Software Asset Management in the last five or so years, more that they’ve morphed and blended into the crowd.
So how are we to grasp the tail of the rampant tiger that Software Asset Management has become?
- Install only what you’ve paid for (or at least have a mechanism in place that chases evidence of payment for installs found without a licence)
- Periodically validate the existence AND content of contract data to ensure it covers any installs made 6, 8 or 12 months after a contract has been signed
- Ensure senior management understand what they are paying for and how far it can be deployed
- Understand the terms and conditions of licensing and how they relate to your deployments
- Understand changes to installation status (i.e. the difference between Test, Dev, pre-prod, stand-by, fail-over, academic, etc.)
- Ensure your staff are trained to a point where you could trust them to provide the correct response to any licensing query
- Establish and maintain working relationships with software vendors/trusted parties so you have some visibility of changes happening to product lines before they happen
- Give your IT department an annual health-check based on the manner in which they manage their software assets (Gap Analysis/Maturity Assessment etc.)
- Ensure all departments are aligned to their responsibilities when it comes to managing and using software
- Adopt a framework that offers management of IT and IT-related assets throughout their lifecycle
Where have all the silver bullets gone? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you ISO 19770-1:2017
ISO 19770-1 has received more than its fair share of bad press over the years, but it still stands out as one of the best starting points when it comes to managing software. As IT professionals I believe we have become used to point and click solutions, and the liberation of productivity that IT can provide – that element of hard graft and application of thought is still going to be required to implement successful Software Asset Management.