Software compliance is the practice of ensuring the software licenses procured by a particular organization are being used according to the stipulated terms of the provider. The most common use case is ensuring the number of licenses in use does not exceed the number purchased. Being compliant is commonly discussed in relation to software licensing as well as software asset management. It is important for businesses to be compliant. The term compliant has several meanings when it comes to software asset management.
It usually involves taking a comprehensive check on the software installed on the network and to compare it with what one is legally entitled to be using. One of the ways a business could do this is by keeping all the related purchase documentation in one place to check it and ensure if the software is licensed or not. Understand the terms of the license to get a better idea of it.
Software Compliance Via Software Asset Management (SAM)
Software asset management is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization. A software asset management review is, in essence, an audit to make sure your company’s Microsoft software licences adequately cover the software you use in your business. Sometimes, businesses will increase the number of employees using their software or change how they use it without updating their software licences.
Software asset management is crucial to the success of any IT organization. When a company has a comprehensive and efficient license management program in place, it reduces costs and ensures that the organization remains in compliance. Managing your software assets impacts your bottom line.
Top 5 Causes of Software License Non-Compliance:
1. Complexity of software licensing agreements. As software vendors grow to support broader customer bases with varying needs and acquire other software companies that had their own software license agreements and policies, complexity grows substantially. Many companies have complex agreements with many vendors and they all contain varying software licensing models and policies.
2. Inadvertent Misuse. In many companies, policies are in place to centralize procurement and try to be compliance with software license agreements, but “stuff happens” and inadvertent misuse creeps in. Events like mergers & acquisitions and divestitures complicate this further. Many companies lack the processes and systems to truly manage their software assets and find that after one of these events they are immediately in a non-compliance situation.
3. Lack of software asset management processes and tools. Most organizations don’t have a defined and institutionalized software asset management program supported by the appropriate tools to manage an increasingly growing software estate.
4. Lack of education. Many organizations lack the understanding of the issues and, thus, fail to establish proper processes and programs to proactively manage software assets, their spend and their usage. Industry standards (e.g. ISO 19770-1) and associations (e.g. IAITAM, IBSMA) exist so that they can be leveraged to help, but many do not take advantage of these resources.
5. Intentional misuse. Most companies are honest and want to be in license compliance. It is very rare for companies to intentionally misuse their software to create a non-compliance situation, but it does happen.
It is because so many organizations are out of license compliance that software companies conduct software audits.
In fact, PwC research indicates that an out of compliance situation is found in 80% of all software audits.
How to Prepare for a Software Compliance Audit:
- Create A product usage and deployment strategy
- Make a list of license types and entitlement
- Create a server and workstation hardware inventory
- Review your virtualization footprint
- Review hosted or shared environment detail
- Account for all software deployment versions, location, and counts
- Assess trends and changes in strategy and deployment
- Log all user types, locations, and counts
- Organize and have on hand all vendor license(s) and purchase agreement terms
Hire a Company that Will Get the Job Done!
Due to the technicalities of the software compliance, most businesses hire the services of a company which has expertise and an experience in making software compliance. A good company will help save your business from spending on compliance matters and will help save costs.
Hiring the services of a software compliance company is a great investment and will offer your business the savings it needs to spend on other areas of the business such as marketing or research. Being a software compliant business is vital as it helps create a good brand image of your business and allows customers as well as suppliers to trust the business.