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In the course of its operations, a business will enter into several license agreements. These licenses define how you can use a program, employee liability, and the rights of the program owner. A software license also highlights what you can do with the program and what would count as an infringement of the software copyright.
There’s no limitation on the number and type of software licenses that an organization can acquire. This solely depends on the pieces of software that you obtain and what application vendors you want to cover.
However, keep in mind that different software license types stipulate a list of terms that would lead to unplanned spending and unfavorable legal positions if not adhered to. This is where Software License optimization comes in.
What is Software License Optimization- SLO?
By definition, optimization is the process of achieving the best out of a system by making it fully functional, perfect, and as useful as possible.
In line with this definition, SLO refers to proactively managing an organization’s software estate. Software License Optimization focuses on getting the right types of licenses and managing each piece of software throughout its lifecycle. This helps in maximizing the utilization of assets and compliance with the terms of the licenses while minimizing unplanned costs.
Goes beyond Software Asset Management (SAM)
Software License Optimization is more than traditional IT Software Asset Management. While SAM asks, “what is deployed?” SLO evaluates how software licenses are being utilized. Software License Optimization is all about helping the employees use what they have and buy only what they need.
It brings the strategies and supportive tools that would enable an organization to leverage its rights to use the acquired software license types.
Notable Characteristics of Software License Optimization
- Relatively new and often ignored– the process of Software License Optimization was introduced in the IT community around a decade ago. However, it’s still relatively new in most organizations, as most of them are stuck with the traditional IT software asset management.
- Focus on expenditure– while it’s nonphysical, Software License Optimization views each piece of software as an asset. Thus, SLO analyzes how much an organization spends acquiring and maintaining its software estate while identifying ways to leverage its effectiveness and minimize unplanned spending.
- Continuous process– SLO is dynamic in that it evaluates the position of all vendors in an organization’s software license at all times.
- All-inclusive– an SLO system handles both traditional and modern desktop and software licenses from different clients.
- Future-oriented– besides managing different license types, software license optimization creates a visual trend by analyzing the use of software licenses over a given period. This is critical in budgeting for the future and accessing financial implications that future changes in the IT ecosphere would have in the operations of the organization.
Benefits of Software License Optimization
The key driver when implementing Software License Optimization solutions is to purchase only the licenses that are required and ensure their effectiveness. Beyond saving, there are a few more reasons why organizations and businesses should perform Software License Optimization.
1. Keeps you prepared for a software license audit
Enterprise software vendors have increased the frequency of their audits in the recent past. A software license audit is carried out to verify license compliance and monitoring quality assurance. These audits also offer a way of determining compliance with industry standards as well as legal standards.
An organization may do an internal audit to catch inactive licenses and maximize efficiency. Doing an internal audit before an external one may also help remediate any exposure and avoid hefty copyright infringement prosecution fines due to noncompliance.
A Software License Optimization system makes this process easy by pointing out licenses that need to be dropped. It also highlights any noncompliance areas beforehand. Essentially, you could consider SLO as one way of saving unnecessary costs.
2. Boosts security
Organizations and businesses are becoming more and more software-dependent due to the increase in demand for speedy service delivery. However, it’s a fact that the more software applications there are in an organization, the higher the risk of attacks. This could explain the unprecedented increase in cyberattacks in recent years.
An organization with multiple licenses will be at a higher risk of being attacked since there are more areas of potential vulnerabilities across its expansive software estate. It’s a fact that you cannot seal the vulnerabilities that you don’t know.
A Software License Optimization culture gives the IT team a clear picture of software asset infrastructure. Among other critical aspects, SLO highlights;
- The number and type of software licenses that have been deployed
- How the licenses are being used and by who
- Are they up to date?
- Are there any vulnerabilities that need to be remediated?
3. Easy license renewals
Software management is never easy for most organizations. What’s even tricky is to track software contract renewal manually using the Microsoft Excel file. Software agreements are complex, making the negotiation cycle often confusing. But an IT department needs to stay up to date with the regularly changing offers, subscriptions, and prices of all the licenses deployed in the organization’s software infrastructure. Making the entire renewal process even more difficult is the need to factor in the organization’s evolving requirements.
By implementing a Software License Optimization solution, the renewal process becomes significantly easier. This is because SLO helps you assess existing software to determine what you need and what can be scrapped. It also makes license renewals more accurate by helping you calculate the total cost of ownership as well as possible licensing options.
Software license optimization has become increasingly important as software dependency proliferates throughout different departments. Besides the significant increase in software usage, the transition from on-premises to cloud computing is making it even more difficult to track software licenses manually.
Organizations and businesses that employ software license optimization systems benefit both financially and operations-wise. SLO best practices also paint a picture of the current software license standing while helping you prepare for the future. Essentially, software license optimization is a cost-saving as well as a preventative maintenance tool.