Software License Management: Best Practices
Software license management is an increasingly noteworthy subject in the business world today. Many companies find themselves facing software audits on a regular basis. Companies are forced to conduct internal software audits to ensure compliance as well as be prepared for external ones initiated by software vendors.
Continuous management of software licenses improve staff productivity, create resources savings and protect the company against potential fines for non-compliance. The matter is often overlooked by many companies due to the increasing complexity of license monitoring. Hence, IT teams only react when external audits occur.
Software for license control enable companies to save money by recycling unused licenses or redirecting them as required. In this context, it is appropriate to adopt a strategy for managing software licenses based on the following best practices.
1. Define a Software Management policy
Every company and organization should define and implement a license management policy that includes all software licenses supported and approved. This policy must manage all of the software used, indicating in particular versions and supported platforms as well as the date of software expiration and the procedure to be followed in this case.
It is recommended to pass all requests for software purchase through the department head. It should also be clear that employees are not permitted to directly acquire software or download software from the Internet without permission.
2. Inform Management and Employees
Once the policy is defined it is essential to communicate the details to management and employees.
Successful implementation depends on the full understanding and participation of both management and employees in the process. The policy needs to set clear guidelines for compliance, implementing rules and discouraging offenders. It will also require performing regular self-assessment and performance reports. In addition, training programs to inform staff of policies licenses and conditions of use approved software, should be made available.
3. Produce an inventory of all software
All installed software must be listed with their respective usage level. The IT team will make underused licenses available to other users and avoid unnecessary purchase of new licenses. Underutilized licenses may also suggest that the software training is not tailored to the needs of users or that a tool is obsolete.
4. Uninstall old applications
Companies should review their software portfolios annually and uninstall unused or redundant applications. It will save licensing costs, optimize staff productivity and improve functionality.
5. File software licensing agreements
Companies must maintain centralized documents relating to purchases of software, including license agreements. This repository will enable management of license purchase, cost evaluation, software depreciation, warranty information and support. There are technological solutions such as the OpenLM license monitoring tool, to automate the inventory of software licenses and registrations thus reducing the risk of manual errors.
6. Perform Regular checks
Companies performing regular checks and comparing licenses to installed software are able to demonstrate audit compliance. Effective inventory management relies on automatic license monitoring systems, which produce application usage metering reports to identify underused or overused licenses.
7. Use of latest approved versions
Only the latest approved versions must equip the user workstations. The implementation of automated processes and distribution facility patch programs is an effective and scalable method to keep systems up to date. Software asset audit should also indicate all installed versions and allow updating from older versions.
8. Implement policies to enforce compliance
Companies must remove obsolete software from computers even when the licensed software is installed on the computer replacement. Organizations can also have a blacklist of prohibited applications to prevent users from installing unapproved software. Automatic tools that regularly ensure license compliance are available on the market.
9. Make software license compliance a business strategy
License compliance software allows savings and maximizes productivity, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). This direct link facilitates the integration of compliance Software to broader strategic initiatives for asset management and lower TCO. License usage statistics sliced according to Users, Groups, Projects and Workstations is imperative for streamlining billing processes. The OpenLM license monitoring tool provides such reporting ability, hence is a good exemplar for such automated license monitoring tools.
10. Adapt to the users requirements
With the growing use of smartphones and touch pads, employees increasingly want to connect their personal devices to corporate systems. This trend “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) affects the way companies design their strategy may create a risk of users using software that is not supported.
Implementing comprehensive compliance license management software, including support for mobile devices, the IT team will have more time and resources to devote to other business requirements. Whether to monitor the use or distribution of software or to have visibility on all the software installed across the network, the automation of software compliance is a necessary step to save time and money.