The Benefits Of Using Software Asset Management For SMEs
Software Asset Management; Extra Cost Or Necessity?
By Karl Young. Posted on 19 March 2013
As a business grows, the need for and reliance on technologies and software becomes greater. Expanding services and increasing workforce can push a business towards investing in time saving software and expensive technologies throughout its departments.
The more reliant a business becomes on software and technology the harder it becomes to manage. Software Asset Management, nicknamed ‘SAM’ for short, is a process for managing the costs and risks associated with an organisations’ computer application usage. In simple terms, SAM allows the organisation to reconcile the licenses it has purchased against the actual use of software on its PCs and servers. Managing a business’s software license is a crucial for ensuring an organisation is abiding by copyright laws, but also ensuring employees have the right resources in place.
Software Audits Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company recently reported that organisation now face a 65% chance of having their software usage audited by at least one software vendor in the next 12 months – higher than ever before.
What’s an Audit? An audit is when an industry body or a software vendor like Oracle, IBM, Cisco Systems, or Microsoft investigates a customer’s use of their software. Audits can take the form of a customer self-assessment or enforcing the software publisher’s right to audit using their own investigators or a contracted third party.
If the audit finds software that is being used without sufficient license entitlements, the business will be liable for the costs of buying new licenses plus additional compensation sought by the copyright owner. Software audits can be tricky and minimising the risk of incurring a charge or penalty should be a top priority for business owner and managers. A digital marketing agency was recently ordered to pay £6,000 to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) following an audit where it was found to have been using software for which it did not have the required licenses. Not only did the firm have to pay a hefty penalty, it was ordered to purchase the licenses it didn’t have to ensure it was in full compliance with the law.
Is that all SAM does? If a business was to invest in any SAM system it would want to get the most out of it, naturally. A good SAM solution should not only ensure licence compliance, it can provide considerable savings on both time and money.
With the right processes and technologies in place, a business can determine whether it is using all of its licences effectively, and when licences need to be renewed, arranging relicensing at the same time could save business paying excess license fees. Not only can the software help with the previous, but it can also help determine whether or not the business is paying too much money for its licenses.
Businesses can also use SAM to make sure employees are using the latest available software versions, reducing support overheads and potentially save employees hours of time a year, increasing productivity.
Improving operational efficiencies is something every business should strive to do, to protect the company against unforeseen costs that could ruin a business’s finances, growth and future.
Karl Young is writing on behalf of License Dashboard, a leading provider of software asset management solutions in the US.
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