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21 July 2015
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How do we manage software assets?

What associations does a phrase «software asset management» trigger for you? And «inventory»? Or «License compliance check»?

Just few years ago a typical answer would probably be something like «imitation of feverish activity», i.e. something that has a rather vague purpose (to use a budget?) and, probably, meant only excessive bureaucracy and headache for a system administrator, who, no doubt, had tasks more important than spending time for creation of something intangible, not amenable to the touch by the company’s management.

It so happened that in Russia the software asset management has always been out of favor. Largely due to the situational approach to the IT infrastructure management in general and high turnover of IT personnel in small and medium-sized companies. This went along with irresistible urge of each new IT specialist to adapt the infrastructure (especially in terms of software) for his personal preferences without much care of building and documentation of processes and adherence to the best international practices. Actual impunity of software piracy also played here a historically important role. And, finally, the lack of understanding of the benefits that the software asset management can bring. Besides, low cost of manual ad hoc labor compared with implementation of elaborated processes also was and still remains a significant constraining factor in development of software asset management services in Russia.

And what’s the problem?

In the past few years the users’ demand to corporate environment has increased significantly. This includes BYOD, mobile devices, using various operating systems, and need for possibility of independent ordering of enterprise applications through portal with automatic configuration of applications. Of course, in response to these demands the corporate IT infrastructure has grown much more complicated.

In general, now the costs for software make a very weighty item of the company’s IT budget. On average, they may reach 25-30% of the total IT budget. These costs consist of the licenses costs, application support (time spent on installation, configuration, removal; this is not only time spent by system administrator, but also time taken away from business). Proper and competent software management can significantly reduce the costs of software licenses due to:

  • building the strategy for purchasing the corporate licenses;
  • centralization and standardization of software management processes;
  • license monitoring and canceling of unused licenses;
  • rationalization of applications by means of their categorization by functionality, versions, and revisions;
  • preparation of applications already pre-configured and adapted for performing the business tasks by user;
  • preparation of installation pre-configured packages;
  • centralized deployment of software in form of installation packages in operator-free mode.

Read more about ICL Services approach to the centralized software asset management in Habrahabr blog.

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