Software license management can be a daunting task. There are multiple types of software licenses and even more rules that govern their use. It is essential for the Software Asset Manager (SAM) or IT Service Manager (ITSM) to navigate this information in way that brings value and efficiency to their company. There are differing opinions on how to best achieve this goal. What follows are five of the best practices to follow when purchasing software licenses.

Take Inventory – Getting all the company’s licenses in a centralized location will not only help take stock of the current climate of technology, but will allow easy access to them when the need to update or should an audit arise. This means putting the licenses in one place and/or under one team to help maximize efficiency. Be sure to meticulous and include Cloud or open sources if they apply. A complete inventory of licenses will give a SAM or ITSM a larger scope of the licenses.

Proof of Purchase (POP) – This practice scaffolds onto the first. Not only does the need to have licenses in one location make them easier to find, but helps to ensure that the company can prove their right to operate them. This does not apply to solely the actual licenses themselves, though. Other pertinent information should be stored in the same centralized location for possible later access. Keep POPs forever!

Track Usage – Keeping a detailed record of what licenses are in use and which are not has multiple benefits. First, efficiency can be increased by a SAM or ITSM noting which licenses are actually providing value to the company. Second, by properly tracking license usage a SAM or ITSM can maximize licenses from a financial scope so that unused licenses can be eliminated. This allows funds to be saved or shifted into more productive directions. Finally, viewing both of the previous points a SAM or ITSM can more efficiently see which licenses are best for their company.  Application of the information will then help to make future purchasing decisions.

Update – Keeping licenses up to date is vital. This works together with tracking usage as a means to better be able to tailor the amount and type of licenses to best meet the company’s needs. Staying up to date will often help the company remain compliant as the new information will require a fresh look at the requirements. This should not allow any new caveats to be missed.

Self-Audit – Running a self-audit for compliancy has multiple benefits. This allows the SAM or ITSM to see all licenses currently used and compare it to the POPs that correspond. Errors can be found and corrected without any legal action taken against the company. Even once any issues are addressed, the process is not over. Diligence is required to keep all licenses compliant and these steps must be repeated in order to remain up to date.

Software license purchasing can be a difficult task to properly maintain. Given the rising need for compliancy and the amount of licenses companies require to run their business, forming a program to facilitate license purchasing becomes a priority. Organization helps avoids potential  legal ramifications and potential headaches. When followed with care these best practices can help maximize value, financial benefits, and efficiency.


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