New compliance and accounting regulations are forcing organizations to rethink how they view software. The emphasis on governance is changing the way companies think about software as an asset and how they account for it with their auditors. Unlicensed or mis-licensed software is a liability. There are 6 simple, basic steps for understanding and managing your software assets:
1. Create a repository. But, remember that electronic key codes are not enough “proof” for most software vendors. You need to keep the proof of purchase, receipt or invoice and the Terms & Conditions during the initial purchase. In addition, if you have Oracle apps, you’ll need the following information in case of an audit: application name, version, executable file date, department unit and users, and whether it was an individual or suite installation.
2. Projection of employee numbers and IT requirements to plan for the short-term future.
3. Review your annual support spend at least twice a year to determine changes in usage that can possibly result in changes within support options.
4. Understand your organizations vulnerabilities – in the case of licensing, it’s really about liability.
5. Implement a discovery tool.
6. Execute a thorough analysis to validate if buying more than you need will lead to additional discounts and results in a long-term, positive return on investment.
It’s ironic that the amount of resources – financial and human – go into IT organizations, yet many (I would say the majority) have trouble tracking assets – anywhere from hardware to software. I can think of one instance when the FBI could not account for all their laptops. You know. The ones with all the super-duper top secret information. They went “missing.” And, software asset management is a struggle for any organization.