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Managing Software Licenses is Hard

13 December, 2017
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Your organization has multiple versions of the same software, and you’re looking to consolidate so everyone’s on the same version. This is important because your IT team needs to have oversight over your organization’s software assets in order to make decisions on how to deploy and maintain them over their lifetime. Most organizations do not have the proper processes and procedures in place to manage software licenses or lifecycles.

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Software pricing and licensing is becoming an innovative market, with new models being introduced and implemented. It’s already a difficult area to manage as changes are frequent with programs and user requirements. Keeping tabs on the full spectrum of your organization’s software requires dedicated time. Delivering real value to the organization is a challenge.


Here are three reasons why managing software licenses is so difficult:

  1. Difficult to navigate many different licensing options. Perpetual software license is not as common anymore. Subscription and usage-based licensing, also known as utilization or consumption-based pricing are gaining popularity. Subscription-based licensing isn’t necessarily more innovative, as it’s based on time increments, and it’s not best for vendors in cases where the product is only used intensely for a couple months at a time anyway. In usage-based licensing, users pay for the features that are needed.

    “Many enterprise customers today are deploying usage analytics and asset management tools to find out which features they’re actually using, to what extent, and in which operating environments and geographic locations,” the Software Development Times wrote. To entice people, licensees will offer a lower introductory rate. The advantage? If a team is working quickly on a pilot project, the low rate will help them quickly see the value. “As they become convinced of our capabilities and ROI we grow with that account by offering more usage, namely around adding more of their people (users) to the platform.”

    Another model is called an outcome-based pay, where the user pays when tangible outcomes or goals are met. The ideal IT partner will help to navigate the options.

  2. License recycling requires a thorough process. License recycling is the recovery of unused license rights for reuse to avoid new license purchases. Passing the license on to another user saves the cost of another license. If your organization is big with multiple licensed software, the potential for savings is big too. The challenge is it requires a strong process control. If the process of uninstalling and reinstalling software licenses isn’t deployed and managed correctly, there’s actually no financial benefit.

    Some software also has license recycling constraints with the requirement that it be recycled within a certain time frame. Scalable notes that as an example, “if an employee no longer needs some software they can make it available to another employee, but the recipient cannot make the same gesture within a certain time frame, often as much as 90 days.”

  3. Software as a service model needs to be integrated with unified endpoint management partner. The integration requires the safety of all the data. By working with an external IT partner with expertise in software licensing management, your company can learn security best practices, which can improve the overall security of your data. UEM VMware managed SaaS apps include Windows 10, macOS, Chrome OS, for example

    “It takes a modern, cloud-first architecture to provide IT a single pane for real-time, over-the-air lifecycle management and security across any OS, any app and every use case,” Air Watch writes, having the awareness and manageability across all assets helps IT cut costs, improve security, and deliver superior IT and end-user experience.

Read our other posts in this series on lifecycle management here.

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