IT Documentation - The Blog

Tips on License Management

June 14, 2013

For every company, the correct management of software licenses is an important issue – and its importance grows with the company size. From experience, most companies have their hands full, often with severe financial consequences: Experts estimate that in Germany alone, the economy has suffered a loss of up to 30 billion euros due to incorrectly licensed software. Some do it the safe way and purchase more licenses that they actually need (wasting money), others want to save money and use more licenses than they have paid for (cheating the software providers). In the second case, companies face the risk of expensive additional licensing costs and legal consequences if under-licensing is discovered. Moreover, the company’s reputation suffers.

Good license management saves a lot of money

Looking at the economic perspective alone, good license management is needed badly. As it happens, many companies have no overview of the software investments actually made and of whether they were necessary at all. Experts think that 15 to 20 percent of the cost of software could be saved in the long run if thought is given to license management. For example, the purchase of additional licenses can be avoided if it is possible to see that some licenses for the required software are still available in another department. What is more, framework licensing is sometimes cheaper than buying single user licenses. In addition, not every computer must be equipped with the professional version of a particular software solution. Professional license management further enables you to discover which programs are no longer in use so that expensive maintenance agreements are not needed any more. All this is worth a lot of money.

A dedicated person for license management

It is important that the license management task is always in the hands of the same person who takes care of implementing, constantly monitoring, and, if required, adapting the necessary processes. Software purchasing should also be done centrally. At the same time, it is advisable to carefully check the software used. The more heterogeneous the software landscape, the more difficult license management will be. For example, rather than having three different imaging programs available, there should only be one. By the way, open source software and shareware should not be omitted. People often forget that even this type of software sometimes requires a license if it is used commercially.

It is not unusual that users leave license certificates and data carriers lying around in their offices or even take them home—but these are no suitable places. All documents related to a license should be stored in a central location which is safe and, if possible, fire-proof. This location should accommodate all data carriers, license keys, invoices in form of hardcopies which also are available digitally on the network. This involves that all employees of a company know how important license management is and that they do not bring software on their own initiative. It is recommended to have the staff sign company agreements to ensure legal protection.

“Bring your own device” impedes license management

Current trends even aggravate the license management issue. Virtualization, for example, is very popular with many companies, but it is often not clear whether this is permitted at all by the license for the respective software product. There are fundamental differences in the guidelines of the various vendors. The “Bring Your Own Device” topic is also gaining momentum. Generally, experts are in favor of this trend as employees tend to expect a user experience in their professional IT environment which is similar to the one they know from their private area. There is, however, a high risk that employees cause serious financial damage when downloading a free program meant for private use and employing it in the corporate environment.

For more on this topic: License management made easy with Docusnap

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