IT Documentation - The Blog

License Management – Commercial Aspects

July 23, 2014

At this point in the project, you can start setting up your license management. Where are we going to start? What does proper license management consist of? Let’s subdivide the whole thing a bit to “make it more digestible”. License management can be split into two parts. One part is the commercial aspect. It deals with purchasing items and filing license documents and product keys. The other part is technical. It is about using and applying the software. Finally, the two parts are combined with each other by performing an EXPECTED / ACTUAL comparison which results in the current licensing status. The setup of license management takes time and once a particular status has been achieved, license management needs to be maintained continuously. A working license management system is not a sure-fire success!

Only license management will make your corporate operation audit-compliant

You might be wondering why you should introduce license management at all because you know anyway that the employed software was purchased properly. While this may certainly be true, there is a special point you need to take into account: You must be able to prove that everything was licensed as it should. No disrespect to your word, but an auditor will claim more. Maybe a user forgot to notify you of an installation, or if somebody installed freeware or shareware, it often has to be licensed as soon as it is used commercially. This is why you must be able to retrieve information on the installed software from your IT systems.

This is the point where you best start preparing your license management. Get the necessary information on the purchased software. Obtain all relevant software purchase documents from Accounting and digitise them. When doing so, you will need naming conventions, as described in Step 1 – Preparations.

Gathering licensing documents

At the same time, collect all your license documents, software boxes, product and license keys and the applicable license agreements. Digitise this information, too, if this has not been done yet. The original documents and / or stickers are the most important items. Assign an inventory number to each purchased license and a contract number to each license agreement. You can record these directly on the documents to create a unique assignment. Store all original license documents in a safe place and keep in mind that license stickers for operating systems are only valid if they have been applied to the corresponding device. This means that they must remain on the device.

You must know the number of purchased licenses of each software product as well as their monetary value. When determining the value as given in the invoice, please remember to also record the invoice date and the invoice number as well as the name of the supplier where the product was bought. This information is necessary to furnish proof that the software product was correctly licensed or for internal purposes. Above all, you should be able to prove where the software product was obtained from because, in the event of a license check, the license certificates could have been borrowed temporarily from another company. This is why you should also be able to furnish a purchasing proof by presenting the relevant documents.

Keep the initial recording as simple as possible

For a start, you might want to enter the license information into a simple Excel table. This way, it is possible to delegate this chore quite easily to other persons or departments and you do not need to grant access rights to your Docusnap installation. You will see that, due to the many different licensing modes, it is recommendable to first enter the license information into a separate file. This will be thrilling enough.

Store the digitised documents in a subfolder of your Docusnap folder on the file server to have everything available in a central location. It goes without saying that, if particular guidelines for the storage of documents exist in your company, you must primarily adhere to these standards.

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