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Why is the Software Licensing Landscape a Minefield?

Why is the Software Licensing Landscape a Minefield?

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The licensing landscape has long been considered a minefield, with an array of vendors each with their own wide range products and solutions.

Each vendor brings with it a different approach to licensing software, often with multiple complex agreement types. Ensuring you stay compliant with your license agreements can be a mammoth task and the implications of not doing so can have serious financial consequences. There are what seems like endless licensing combinations and many organisations are unsure of the ones they already have and perhaps more pressingly, the ones that best suit their business needs.

This is all before you consider the rapid uptake in cloud services and its ability to drastically increase the numbers of servers hosting an application – keeping pace with your software assets can feel like navigating through rough terrain.

What happens if an application scales from 10 users to 50 for example? Do you license by user, by processor, by install, by device or another of the many metrics available? The cost of ignoring or misunderstanding licensing metrics can be far-reaching and the importance of efficient license management often boils down to two factors – cost and legality.

A recent IDC survey revealed that the vast majority of organisations believe they are currently paying for either under-used or in fact unused software – from add-ons within other licenses to full on business applications, it’s not always easy to know what is being used, and by who. This is nothing new. It has long been thought that most enterprises do not make use of the software that they have already paid for under annuity agreements and the like – for larger estates this can very quickly add up to a substantial amount of wasted money.

Then there’s the issue of legality, as software can be licensed on a number of bases – per user, per core, per CPU, per client etc. – and for varying periods of time. All of this adds up to an incredibly complex challenge for IT departments, as it lies with them to ensure that all software is properly licensed. It is a job that is often overlooked as there do not appear to be any immediate consequences, in fact, the majority of licensing issues are only dealt with once a software audit is on the horizon.

That is why it is imperative for organisations to fully understand the long term connotations of any licenses they agree to and the effects these can have on their business as a whole.

It would seem that many businesses are still struggling with a variety of Software Asset Management (SAM) issues. From keeping track of licenses and their associated subscriptions in order to stay compliant, to being aware of how many PVUs they currently have in productive use vs the amount they are licensed for – even through to knowing which licenses reside on which machines. There is no doubt that software licensing can be a complex ‘science’, but some are most certainly more complex than others.

Crayon are the global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) & Volume Licensing Services and as trusted advisors to the world’s leading organisations we help our clients truly optimise their licensing estate.

We can offer you a broad range of SAM Services which enable organisations to mitigate risk by establishing effective license management, realising ROI within weeks of the initial engagement.