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What’s the problem ?

The need for a dependable tool for software license management and monitoring is already well acknowledged. As the percentage of expenditure on software is constantly rising, and complexity of license limitations and compliance becomes overwhelming, license managers are well aware of the need to keep license utilization under close inspection.

… And then there are those who despite better judgement, decide to develop their own in-house license monitoring tool. Many organizations indeed develop such a systems for FLEXlm license usage monitoring. I could hear that manager in my head right now saying: “What’s the problem ?”

  • Running the Flexnet lmutil command line is not rocket science,
  • It seems a safe place to cut on budget
  • My programmers have some spare time, and
  • I wonder if I could do it myself

This article will list the top reasons why you, the license administrator, should fight for budget and get some dedicated, reliable, off the shelf software, politely declining the IT department’s offer of in-house development.

Inherent problems with in house development

1. Software needs maintenance

Every technological environment keeps evolving and changing. So are the operating system, databases and other components and parameters that the in-house system relies on. The sad truth is that after the initial development stage is done, it’s often very hard and sometimes impossible to get someone to maintain the system. The reasons may vary, the result stays the same; The system will not be maintained. Some possible reasons are:

  • The developer has left the company and nobody knows the system anymore.
  • The IT guys who had some spare time on their hands before are now very busy.
  • Developers feel that small projects they had developed when they just started now presents an obstacle to their promotion.

2. Software needs on-going development

Licensing models change, licensing software gets updated and software licensing trends are now changing rapidly after many years of relative stability.

3. Requirements are constantly changing

As your team was not familiar with the market trends and the span of capabilities that were available at the time of laying the blueprints, the system designed a year ago no longer fits the current requirements.

4. Software vendors are changing interfaces

Software vendors are constantly changing licensing methods and policies. Your software has to keep up …

5. Reports required by management are changing

The report that worked well for previous managers is not acceptable now…

6. Rigidity: Software needs customization

As in-house development projects go, they are often rigid, to-the-point, and seldom customizable. When your company expands to purchase new software that utilizes a new license manager, the in-house tool gradually becomes obsolete and redundant.

7.  Life cycle

…which brings me to the short life cycle presented by in-house developed tool.

8. Real price

Managers may find their developers’ time easier to spend than deducting actual dollars from the procurement budget, but they really should never relate to such important resource as a free ride.

It is also good practice to view the immense value of a solid license monitoring and management tool in view of steep CAD and CAE software packages.

The Advantages of comprehensive License Monitoring Software packages

9. Seeing the big picture

Commercial license management and monitoring tools have been designed by experienced developers who have absorbed the market’s requirements, and are aware of features that are eventually important to end users. For example, In-house designs will typically merely employ a method for querying license servers, and redirecting the outcome to some sort of parsing mechanism. They will not include imperative feature such as:

  • Advanced alerting systems
  • License optimization mechanisms
  • License statistics views
  • License control mechanism (e.g. Options file management)
  • Project and group license usage attribution,
  • AD synchronization capabilities, etc.

10. Proven existing solution, ready to be used out of the box

Commercial license management vendors perform comprehensive system tests. Furthermore, commercial solutions have a proven track record of compatibility with multiple customers, in various environments and configurations. They are more probable to work fine straight out of the box, and with fewer bugs than any in-house implementation.

11. Expert support and training

License management personnel are experienced with their tools, as well as with the license managers they monitor. They have seen it all. Listen to the experts.

12. Let someone else take care of maintenance

Commercial vendors get a lot of input. Chances are they are much better updated than you on the changes made and troubleshoot required out there.

13. Implement industry best practices.

Off the shelf license management and monitoring tools’ vendors constantly inspect the market, looking out for ways to improve their product and overwhelm competitors. Use this competition to your advantage – these tools are constantly improving.

14. Cost effective

All in all, I am certain that as the picture clears, it is now obvious that commercial license management and monitoring tools are very cost effective. They exhibit flexible, comprehensive and configurable solutions that work out of the box, have long life cycles and are much more cost effective than in-house from-scratch solutions.