Naturally, there are cost benefits to buying fewer licenses when re-negotiating a contract. The question is – how do you weigh the cost benefits against the risk of having too few or even being out of compliance because you are using your licenses improperly? Having an accurate account of business need is essential in reducing risk associating with contract negotiation and estimated licensing usage. The benefits of having a clear understanding of your licensing needs outweigh the cost of defining the usage. Not only will a vendor be more willing to negotiate, but they will also be less likely to audit you, knowing that you are on top of the situation ahead of time.
Having an automated discovery tool will benefit a business of any size. The ability to run the discovery tool at your leisure will help you remain compliant and, should you be threatened with an audit, provide up to date information to halt the process in its tracks. There is no downside to keeping track of your software assets and licensing usage. It’s a small price to pay for a big payout – not only will it reduce your licensing and maintenance fees, but it will also put you in a better position for negotiations and audits. However, there are many nuances to software terms and conditions that would not necessarily make it into the automated system or someone has to remember to (re)place a change of rules in the automated SAM. A prime example is the increase to the IBM Power 6 change in Oracle’s count for multi-core licensing. IBM Power 6 multi-core is equal to 1.0 per processor, while older versions are counted as .75 per processor. Someone needs to remember to make a note of a change like that within the SAM rules AND they need to remember to distinguish between the fairly new IBM Power6 and older versions (as the licensing rule is different). Otherwise, the information the SAM solution provides will not be inaccurate and increases risk during a vendor audit.