Software License Management – Do you need a degree?

By Andre Piquette

Remember back in the day when license complexity was as simple as plugging in the hardware dongle into your computer in order for an application to work? With today’s technologies it seems like you need to have a doctorate to truly understand each license option and its complexities. Even when you have determined between node locked or floating licenses, you still have to determine the best combination to maximize use and minimize costs. Such as when looking at code design tools, every developer will need a node locked license for debugging, but do they need a node locked or floating license for compiling? If you look at where most developers will be spending their time, you will discover that most are either coding or debugging so one compiler floating license might be sufficient for 4 or more developers.

In today’s environment it is crucial to understand the End User License Agreement of the software that you have purchased. A simple clause if not read or interpreted correctly can cause a company to pay for extra licenses that are not required. If the vendor allows for the right of multiple use of their software for a user, and you base your license count on installations you will be double counting licenses that don’t need to be registered.

When it comes to tracking software applications and installations, you definitely need to know what strategy to use. Although there are vendors out there that will say they have a complete solution, there is no magic bullet that I have come across, that allowed me to run a single report for all of my license count. Therefore depending on the complexity of your network and environment you need to pick the right tool that provides you the best and most accurate data. Also to remember that the software tools are fallible so it is crucial to scrutinize the reports.

One of the most complex licenses to master is core based licenses. Certain software such Databases and Operating Systems are famous for this, and just as soon as you master one way of measuring the core base license, the vendor will make a change to it, in which you need to learn it all over again. With the advent of virtual machines and their configurations it adds an even greater complexity. Luckily some vendors will offer a course explaining the details of the license.

As a Software Asset Manager not only do you need to know about upcoming new software technologies, but you also need to be prepared to learn new licensing models. How I do miss the days when life and SAM were so much simpler, but just as I witnessed as my daughters transitioned from toddlers to teenagers, it keeps getting more and more complex each day. Mastering Software Asset Management will always be a never ending journey.

About the Author

Andre Piquette is the IT Asset Manager for General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada