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Software licenses need to be managed
Over the past few years a number of vendors and industry organizations have invested considerable time and effort in attempts to educate the world about the benefits of asset management. Much of this work has been evangelical in nature and has resulted in a steady trickle of organizations implementing asset management systems and has seen these users begin to enjoy some positive operational and financial returns as a consequence of their efforts.
Asset Management should be found at the core of every organizations operation. After all, there is an obvious requirement to possess at least a basic understanding of what systems are deployed, their configuration, who is using them and what service level agreements are in place.
It is now becoming apparent that the requirement to manage software licenses will push forward the next phase of asset management adoption. The administration of licenses and their associated maintenance and usage fees is becoming increasingly complex. Terms and conditions vary enormously not just between different suppliers but even between different applications supplied by the same vendor.
No company wishes to pay more to operate its systems than it absolutely needs in order to comply with licensing conditions. However, without clear and up to date information regarding the deployment and usage of software tools, it is impossible to guarantee that a company holds the correct number of licenses. In order to avoid any chance of operating illegally it is not unknown for companies to purchase excess capacity.
Software is currently licensed in a number of guises, including per named user, per server, per concurrent user and it is likely that the range and complexity of such offerings will increase further with the advent of initiatives such as grid computing and the utility computing models. In order for "utility" computing models of service to work, "pay for what you use", there is an absolute need to know not only who is using what systems but how often and for how long.
Managing all assets, hardware, software and even any associated services helps to improve service levels, minimise the total cost of ownership of IT systems and provide a base on which project planning can be firmly established. Asset management has enjoyed something of a checkered history but with major vendors such as IBM, CA, HP, BMC, Peregrine and PS'Soft all pushing forward their capabilities we can expect to see these capabilities growing in importance for organizations of all sizes.
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