A Quick List of Software Management Best Practices
Navigating today’s rapidly changing software environments can be a difficult and risky proposition, even when organizations have a formal plan in place. But with a comprehensive software strategy that formalizes every step, from assessment to ongoing management, it becomes much easier to avoid the costly consequences of non-compliant and misused programs.
While organizations’ strategies have notable differences, there are a handful of proven best practices that can guide progressive businesses in the right direction:
To make a commitment. Those who benefit from the most successful software management strategies proactively enter the process with determination. They recognize the importance of understanding and managing software usage in relation to licensing rights. Organizations committed to a software management strategy tend to get the most support and get the best financial deals from manufacturers, while organizations that decide to wait and see if they get caught tend to end up with high unbudgeted expenses as well as fines associated with license breach. terms. Being proactive and having a solution in place often results in better relationships with manufacturers, which generally makes it more likely that the organization will receive favorable rates when negotiating future purchases and upgrades.
Embrace proven strengths. Choosing an intuitive tool specifically designed for software asset management is a must. Most organizations have implemented solutions in which asset management is an available module. While going this route is sufficient to meet simple requirements, it’s important to remember that these solutions are rarely software-specific. Instead, they tend to focus on something else, like mobile device management. These solutions may have the ability to administer patches or specifically identify assets in the field, but they often lack the key features of specialized software management solutions. For example, a help desk solution will not necessarily have the ability to load all the details of the organization’s contracts and entitlements. A well-designed solution will also allow partners to connect directly and complete checklists, which can come in handy when organizations add new assets.
Regularly test the strategy. Regular attention and checkpoints, especially in the beginning, are very important to quickly identify and correct potential problems. One approach is to choose one or two manufacturers who have more complex licensing structures and perform monthly or quarterly checkpoints to ensure that the team using the software understands what rights have been purchased. Just because a tool is in place and data is there, people can still install software beyond what is rightfully theirs. It’s often the periodic checks that keep everyone in line.
Ask for help. There are partners who can help you. Finding the right partner with consulting experience and an understanding of license use rights is key to explaining the gaps. A partner can even establish specific best practices to ensure compliance while effectively managing costs. A trusted licensing advisor is especially important in today’s environment, where manufacturers typically contact organizations directly to perform cadence checks. A good licensing consultant should act as a glue to maintain communication between all parties involved and also act as a broker to manage the relationship with the manufacturer. There are also great advantages in finding partners who can plug directly into the organization’s tools and solutions.
For more information on software management, read the white paper “Best and Worst Practices: A Look at What to Do and What Not to Do When Developing a Total Software Management Strategy.”